But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.…
I. THE MISCARRIAGE SUPPOSED — "Though we, or an angel," etc.
1. Not persons of the greatest interest. "We," who have this relation to you as Pastors and Teachers; "we," whom at present you esteem; let neither our relation to you, nor your affection to us, prevail in this particular. Friends are no friends when they go about to divide us from the great Friend of all. "We" — for our number — "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"; nor to think evil. In which good counsel of the apostle take notice of his sincerity and ingenuity of disposition, in that he would not have so much as himself to be taken into consideration to the prejudice or disadvantage of the gospel.
2. Not persons of the greatest perfections — "Or an angel from heaven."Three kinds of perfection are here expressed.
1. The perfection of parts and understanding, and natural abilities. The greatest learning is not to be heard to the disparagement of truth.
2. The perfection of grace and spiritual endowments. The greatest holiness is not to be made a patron of error. Satan takes advantage of reputed goodness to wind others into labyrinths of opinion and practice.
3. The perfection of employment or manner of dispensation. An angel from heaven. The highest revelations are not to be heard against Scripture.And for these cases in which some indulgence and freedom is to be granted, as in smaller matters, yet respect is to be had to the principles whereupon this is granted.
1. That it be not out of an indifferency and neutrality in religion.
2. That it proceed not from corruption and carnal policy. "Bear with me; let alone my errors; I will pardon yours"; which people cry up charity in such matters that they may better hide their own unsoundness.In this passage there are divers gradations.
1. That the apostle lays this grievous and heavy censure not so much upon the opinion simply considered, or privately enjoyed, but upon the vent and communication of it in preaching (1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:10, 11; Matthew 5:19).
2. It is not preaching at large, but to you; there is an emphasis upon his hearers. Of all false teachers there are none like seducers.
3. There is an emphasis also upon the doctrine. There is a caution against false doctrine; also against new doctrine.
II. THE CAUTION OR DENUNCIATION OF PUNISHMENT INFERRED UPON IT — "Let him be accursed." There are two things which require to be unfolded.
1. The apostle's authority.
2. The apostle's charity. This does not give allowance to others lightly and from a private spirit to be full of imprecations. Observe in this emphasis his confidence and firm persuasion of the truth which he had taught and delivered.Preachers have need to be well assured of the truth of that which they teach.
1. Because they deal in matters of great importance. They speak on matters of life and death.
2. There are many more whose judgments do depend upon it.
3. For the better enforcing of the truth itself. The confidence of the preacher stirs up belief in the hearer. But sometimes the more confident are the most ignorant.It is not a confidence of presumption but of well-grounded knowledge; not of fancy but of assurance.
1. The apostle's zeal in the cause of Christ. There is great earnestness expressed in this simple proposition of the text.
2. His impartiality.
3. His constancy. "As we said before" (ver. 9). How far this was not the same in the ninth verse which he said in the eighth. To take notice of the difference, how far it was not the same; for this there is a double alteration, the one in the expression of the preacher, and the other in the expression of the doctrine: for the preacher, that is signified in the eighth verse — "We, or an angel from heaven;" but in the ninth indefinitely — "If any one." Then as to the doctrine in the eighth verse it is laid down under this phrase — "which we have preached." That "which ye have received" is more than what we have preached.
1. His constancy as to his doctrine.
(1) The same for matter.
(2) The same as to the quality of it.
2. The constancy to the censure which he imposed. This threefold.
(1) The inflexibility and unvariableness of the gospel and doctrine of Christ.
(2) The duties of the hearers of it. Not to receive all we hear without consideration.
(3) The heresy of false teachers.
(T. Horton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.