Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?…
I. CONFIRM THIS POINT.
1. Take a view of the Church in all ages, and the entertainment the Gospel has met with among them to whom it came. It has been a despised and disbelieved Gospel.
(1) Under the patriarchal dispensation, from Adam to Moses. By Adam and Eve it was believed, and Adam preached it; but Cain slew Abel and headed an apostasy, etc.(2) Under the Mosaic dispensation, they had the Gospel, though veiled with types and figures. But the body of the generation that came out of Egypt, believed not, but fell in the wilderness (Hebrews 4:2).
(3) Under the Christian dispensation (John 12:37, 38; Romans 10:16). At the Reformation the Gospel had remarkable success; yet believers were but few comparatively; and there have been but few all along since that time.
2. Take a view of the Church, setting aside those whom the Scripture determines to be unbelievers; and we will soon see that but few do remain. Set aside —
(1) The grossly ignorant of Christ, and of the truths of the Gospel. How can they believe the Gospel, that know not what it is?
(2) The profane, who are Christians in name, because they live in a Christian country; but have not a shape of Christianity about them. Surely these do not believe the Gospel (Titus 1:16).
(3) The carnal and worldly, who make the world their chief good, mainly seeking that, and favouring it only. These undoubtedly are unbelievers (Philippians 3:19, 20).
(4) Mere moralists, all whose religion is confined to some pieces of the second table (Matthew 5:20).
(5) Gross hypocrites. That Gospel that cleanses not a man's hands from unjust dealing, his mouth from lying, swearing and filthy speaking, is certainly not believed.
(6) Close hypocrites, whose outward conversation is blameless in the eye of the world, but in the meantime are inwardly strangers to God and Christ (Revelation 3:1).
(7) All unregenerate persons; for they are certainly unbelievers, as believers are regenerate. Set aside then all these, few remain who trust to the Gospel report.
II. THE REASONS WHY SO FEW BELIEVE THE REPORT OF THE GOSPEL.
1. There is a natural impotency in all (John 6:44). Believing the report of the Gospel is beyond the power of nature, Yea, everything in nature is against it, till the Spirit of the Lord overcome them into belief of the report of the Gospel.
2. The predominant power of lusts, to which the Gospel is an enemy. There our Lord lodges it (John 3:19).
3. There is a judicial blindness on many (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).
(T. Boston, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?