Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:…
I. CONSIDER WHEREIN THE PORTION OF BELIEVERS CONSISTS: THEY ARE "HEIRS OF PROMISE." Though they have little in possession, they have much in prospect; if not rich in enjoyment, they are rich in faith and hope. Amongst men, promises are often of little worth; but all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, unto the glory of God by us.
1. With regard to their subject matter, they include all things pertaining both to life and godliness; ensuring support in this world, and glory in the world to come.
2. There are promises made to the church in general, and others to individual believers; and 'both are the portion of the saints. Of the former it is said, "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall he)p her, arid that right early." Promises also are made to individuals, for their comfort and encouragement, and which are applicable to all the saints. "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." "My grace is sufficient for thee; My strength is made perfect in weakness." "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, fur I am thy God." "As thy day is, so shall thy strength be."
3. The promises of God are either absolute or conditional. Some of the promises are absolute, not suspended on any act or endeavour of ours, or on any previous qualification; and such are all those which relate to the first bestowment of grace. "For who maketh thee to differ; and what hast thou that thou hast not received? It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth mercy." But there are promises conditional to grace received, and which are made only to those who believe. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
4. The Divine promises have various degrees of accomplishment. Some have already been fulfilled, either in whole or in part; as in the case with those relating to the coming of Christ, the establishment of His kingdom, and the universal spread of the gospel. Some are daily fulfilling, and others are yet to be fulfilled.
II. WHO ARE THE " HEIRS" OF PROMISE, AND WHAT CHARACTER DO THEY BEAR?
1. They may be known by their perception of the promises themselves. They view them not only more distinctly and clearly, but in a light very different from that in which other persons either do or can consider them. They are represented as seeing them afar off, and being persuaded of them. Thus they see the suitableness and excellency of the promises, that they are the fruit of free and unmerited love, and are adapted to all cases and circumstances. As David saw the commandments, so they see the promises to be exceeding broad.
2. The heirs of promise may be known by the powerful application of the promises to their own hearts.
3. They may be known by the regard they bear towards them, and the desire they feel for their accomplishment. The promises contain all their salvation, and all their desire; they meditate therein both day and night, and view them with a satisfaction similar to that of a man who looks over the title-deeds of an estate which secures to him the possession of a large inheritance.
4. The practical effects which the promises produce in us are another means of showing who are the prop .r heirs; for "every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as Christ is pure."Improvement —
1. If not heirs of the promise, what are we? Heirs of the curse — of that curse which cuts off on every side, and will one day enter into our bowels like water, and like oil into our bones.
2. If heirs of the promises, we are interested in all the blessings contained in them, relating both to this world and that which is to come. If the promises are ours, all things are ours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the words, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are ours, and we are Christ's and Christ is God's.
3. If heirs of the promises we are heirs of God; all that He is and has, that is communicable, is made over to us in a way of covenanted mercy.
4. Being heirs of God, we are also joint heirs with Christ Jesus, to whom the birth-right blessing properly belongs.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: