For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
1. If Christ gave Himself for us, then suffered He not for His own sins, for He knew no sin, being most holy in His conception, without original sin; according to the word of the angel "That holy thing that shall be born of thee" (Luke 1:35); as also most innocent in all His life, for no guile was found in His mouth; and who could accuse Him of sin, of which innocency, not only His friends, the prophets and apostles, but His greatest foes also, by God's providence, became witnesses? Pilate's wife wished her husband to have nothing to do with that just man. Pilate himself confessed he found no fault in Him. The centurion said, surely this man was the Son of God. Caiaphas said, that one man must die, not for Himself, but for the people; the thief on the cross, "this man hath done nothing amiss." Nay, Judas himself cried out that he had betrayed innocent blood; not to speak anything of the many confessions of the devils themselves, that He was the Son of the Most High.
2. If Christ have given Himself for us, we must receive this gift and the benefit of it, seeing a gift not received is to no purpose or profit. And the means to receive Christ and apply Him with all His benefits is —
(1) To know Him, for darkness comprehendeth Him not; and He came to His own, but they not knowing Him received Him not, but crucified Him, whom had they known, they would never have crucified the Lord of Glory.
(2) By prizing the gift above gold, silver, pearls; esteeming the precious blood of the immaculate Lamb above every corruptible thing under the sun, all which cannot redeem our soul.
(3) By opening the door of the heart, purified by faith, to entertain Him, while He offereth Himself with all His merits in the Word and sacraments, and this not as a stranger, by giving a night's lodging, but as our husband and head, never to be departed.
3. It Christ has given Himself so willingly to such a cursed death for us, we must also in way of thankfulness give ourselves unto Him. He gave His body, His soul, His glory, and all for us; we must not think much to part with body, goods, name, liberty, or life itself, for His sake, when He calleth us unto Him. The law of thankfulness requireth that we should part with such things as in comparison are but trifles for Him, who thinketh not His dearest things too good for us; and the rather, because when we have done all we can, we can never be sufficiently thankful for this greatest gift that ever was given to the sons of men; we can never speak sufficiently of it, nor ever wade deep enough into the ocean of that love that presenteth us with such a gift as this is.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,