to which I was appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher.
I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE POWER OF GOD HAS BEEN DISPLAYED TOWARD US. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
1. The power of God has been displayed toward us in salvation. God is the Author of salvation in its most comprehensive sense, as including both its impetration and its application. The salvation may be said to precede the calling, as
(1) it has its origin in the "purpose of God,"
(2) as Christ has procured it by his death.
2. It has been displayed in our calling.
(1) The call is the act of the Father (Galatians 1:6).
(2) It is a "holy calling,"
(a) as its Author is holy;
(b) it is a call to holiness;
(c) the called are enabled to live holy lives.
3. The principle or condition of our salvation. "Not according to our works."
(1) Negatively. Works are not
(a) the moving cause of it, which is the love and favour of God (John 3:16);
(b) nor are they the procuring cause, which is the obedience and death of Christ (Romans 3:21-26);
(c) nor do they help in the application of salvation; for works done before our calling are not good, being without fairly; and works done after it are the fruits of our calling, and therefore not the cause of it.
(2) Positively. "But according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began." Salvation has thus a double aspect.
(a) It is "according to the purpose of God." It is a gift from eternity; for it was "before the world began," and therefore it was not dependent upon man's works.
(b) It is according to "his grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Though those to whom it was given were not in existence, they existed in Christ as the covenant Head and Representative of his people. They were chosen in him (Ephesians 1:4).
II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PURPOSE AND GRACE IN THE INCARNATION AND WORK OF CHRIST. "But manifested now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ."
1. The nature of this manifestation. It included
(1) the Incarnation; for the Son of God appeared in the fulness of time to make known the "mystery hid from ages," even himself - "the Hope of glory" - to both Jew and Gentile;
(2) the work of Christ, in the obedience of his life and the suffering of his death - in a word, the whole work of redemption.
2. The effects of this manifestation. "Who abolished death, and brought to light life and incorruptibility by means of the gospel."
(1) Its action upon death. It has abolished or made it of none effect. Death is regarded both in its physical and its ethical aspects.
(a) In its physical aspects, Christ has
(b) In its ethical aspects, as working through a law of sin and death, Christ has caused us "to pass from death unto life" in regeneration (1 John 3:14), and secured us from "the second death" (Revelation 2:11).
(2) Its revelation of life and incorruptibility.
(a) Life here is the true life, over which death has no power - the new and blessed life of the Spirit. This was, in a sense, known to the Old Testament saints; but Christ exhibited it, in its resurrection aspect, after he rose from the dead. It was in virtue of his resurrection, indeed, that the saints of the old economy had life at all. But they did not see it as we see it.
(c) The means of this revelation is the gospel, which makes this life perfectly known to men, as to its nature, as to the way into it, as to the persons for whom it is prepared or designed.
III. THE CONNECTION OF THE APOSTLE WITH THIS REVELATION OF LIFE. "For which I was appointed a herald and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." He rehearses his titles of dignity at the very time that he points to them as entailing suffering upon him. - T.C.
A preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
(J. Barlow, D. D.)Acts 20:7): — It's no burden or wearisomeness to the saints to enlarge their speech on heavenly subjects. A traveller when he hath taken a view of the situation of many towns and countries, beheld the rare monuments that he hath met withal, rejoiceth to make relation thereof unto his friends after his return; and so is it with a Christian, who is a spiritual traveller: when he hath seen into the mysteries of religion, found out the great secrets therein contained, by the painful travel of his mind, he maketh it the joy of his heart largely to discourse thereof unto his brethren.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
The Teacher's Cabinet.Bramwell was a plain preacher in .the States, and to some extent an uncultivated preacher; but he was frill of faith and zeal, and his ministry was attended with marvellous power. He was preaching in a little village on one occasion, and the German minister, Trubner, was induced to go and hear him. Trubner was a very cultivated scholar, and a profound critic; and when some of Bramwell's friends saw him there they said, "Alas! alas! for poor Bramwell, how Trubner will criticise him!" Precious little did Bramwell care for him, or for all the philosophers under the sun. He preached, and set before his audience the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, and when Trubner went out of the church one of his friends said to him, "How did you like him? Don't you think he wanders a good deal in his preaching?" "Oh, yes," said the old Lutheran, "he do wander most delightfully from de subject to de heart."
(The Teacher's Cabinet.)
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