And how I kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,…
Here are mentioned two qualities, repentance and faith, which are requisite to the profitable entrance upon Christian life. We are not mere pieces of machinery, but responsible creatures, with a mind to think, a soul to feel, a heart to be susceptible, and a will to determine.
I. REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD. Take a glance, with your mind's eye, at the bearing of God toward us, and see whether it correspond with our bearing toward Him. Creation, preservation, redemption — these mark His mind and dealings: forgetfulness, neglect, sin — these things mark ours. What concord is there between his goodness and repulsive ingratitude? What agreement between acts of love, kindnesses promised; and, on the other hand, a distant dislike of that God's presence, an anxiety to keep away from Him, and an almost studied absence from His worship and service? Were it, then, on account of ingratitude alone, we have ample motive for repentance. Now, repentance is something more than a passing feeling. Unless we are doing our best to shake off the power of iniquity, it is useless to say that we repent. Our repentance needs to be repented of. Our sorrow is but skin deep.
II. The second element of the apostolic preaching remains to be considered, viz., FAITH. Repentance towards God was a feature of Old Testament holiness; but faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is the eminent characteristic of the new. In the gospel the two are combined, and the due exercise of repentance gathers force and stimulus from its union with the process of faith. The Son of God is the object of faith. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid; but let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." Let us, therefore, cultivate such a faith as we believe in our hearts to be prescribed and enforced in holy writ — faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Reconciler and Author of peace.
(E. Jacox, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,