Ephesians 6:24
This benediction differs from the benedictions with which all other Epistles of St. Paul close in one respect, viz, while on every other occasion the second person is used, here the blessing is described in the third person. Elsewhere we read, "Grace be to you," etc. Here and here only we read, "Grace be with all them," etc. This variation is in keeping with the catholic character of tire whole Epistle, which is much concerned with the unity of the Church. It is a rebuke to the narrowness of Christians who care only for the prosperity of their own community, and even labor to win adherents from other Christian denominations or regard the prosperity of neighboring congregations with the jealousy of a tradesman for a rival shop-keeper. How miserably low, narrow, worldly and unchrist-like is the competitive Christianity of our day! St. Paul prays for a blessing on all true Christians. In doing so he describes the essential character of such men: they "love our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness." The question has been so much abused and misunderstood that it is quite as important to point out what is not requisite as what is requisite.

I. WHAT THINGS ARE NOT REQUISITE IN MEN IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY BE REGARDED AS TRUE CHRISTIANS.

1. External badges of unity. We need not speak the same shibboleth, practice the same external habits, etc. The test is internal.

2. Agreement in theological opinion. Men may love the Lord Jesus Christ while they differ profoundly on many points of doctrine.

3. Uniformity of ritual. Love may express itself in various voices, from the shouting hallelujahs of a crowd of street revivalists to the elaborate anthem of a cathedral choir. If the love is there we have all that is essential.

4. Unity of Church order. Equal love for Christ may be found in Churches that observe the greatest variety of discipline. The proud bigotry of orthodoxy will have to be greatly humbled when many a despised sectary proves his right to a higher place in the marriage feast because he has possessed a warmer love for his Lord.

II. WHAT IS REQUISITE IN ALL PEOPLE WHO ARE TO BE REGARDED AS TRUE CHRISTIANS. To "leave our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness."

1. The first essential is personal attachment to Christ. Our assent to a creed, diligent performance of devotional exercises, and connection with a Church fellowship count just for nothing if we are not in living relation to Christ. What think ye of Jesus? How does your soul's affection regard him? These are the primary questions.

2. This attachment is to be one of love. A cold devotion of conscientious but heartless duty will not suffice. Happily, Christ does inspire love in his disciples by his wonderful loveableness, his love to them, his great sacrifice of himself.

3. This love must be uncorrupted. A corrupted love is one that is lowered by selfish thoughts. If we only love for what we are to receive our love is, of course, worthless. If, therefore, we only turn to Christ in selfish anxiety to be delivered from trouble to secure certain benefits, if this be the secret of our apparent warmth of devotion, the thing is a mockery. They love in uncorruptness who love purely, unreservedly, simply. The idea also implies a permanence of devotion. It is not a mere passing emotion, stirred, perhaps by a sentimental hymn, but a deep, strong affection that outlasts time and persists through all our varying moods, and shows itself in action, and, when occasion requires, in sacrifice. - W.F.A.







Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. -
(J. Pulsford.)

1. Love for Christ is the common life of all true Christians. In whatever else they differ from each other, in their creeds, in their modes of worship, in some of their conceptions of how the Divine life in man is originated, how it should be disciplined, and how it is manifested, they are alike in this: they all love the Lord Jesus Christ. The controversies and divisions of Christendom have gone a long way towards destroying the unity of the Church; but in love for Christ all Christians are one.

2. And love for Christ is immortal. The religious passion which is created by sensuous excitements, whether these excitements are addressed to the eye or to the ear, whether they heat the blood or intoxicate the imagination, is transitory. It has in it the elements of corruption. But true love for Christ is rooted in all that is deepest and divinest in human nature. It is immortal, for it belongs to that immortal life which comes to us by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. It will not decay with the decay of physical vigour. It will triumph over death; and will reveal the fulness of its strength, and the intensity of its fervour in those endless ages which we hope to spend with Christ in glory.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

I. CONSIDER ON WHAT ACCOUNTS CHRIST IS ENTITLED TO OUR LOVE.

1. He is a Divine Person.

2. His mediatorial offices entitle Him to our love. A sense of our wants adds worth to an object suited to relieve them. Jesus is such a Saviour as we need.

3. Christ is an object of our love on account of His kindness to us.

II. SINCERITY IS AN ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATION OF OUR LOVE TO CHRIST.

1. Our love to Christ must be real, not pretended.

2. Our love to Christ must be universal; it must respect His whole character.

3. Sincere love to Christ is supreme.

4. Sincere love is persevering.

5. True love to Christ is active. Not a cold and indolent opinion of Him; but such a sensible regard to Him as interests the heart, and influences the life.

III. HOW SINCERE LOVE TO CHRIST WILL DISCOVER ITSELF.

1. It will make us careful to please Him.

2. This holy principle will be accompanied with humility.

3. If we love Christ, we will follow His steps, and walk as He walked.

4. Our love to Him will animate us to promote His interest, and oppose His enemies.

5. This principle will express itself in a devout attendance on His ordinances, especially the Holy Communion, the Sacrament of His love.

6. Love to Christ will make us long for His reappearing.

IV. THE BENEDICTION CONNECTED WITH THIS TEMPER. It is called "grace" - a term of large and glorious import. It comprehends all the blessings which the gospel reveals to the sons of men, and promises to the faithful in Christ.

1. One great privilege contained in this grace is justification before God.

2. Another privilege is the presence of the Divine Spirit.

3. They who love Christ have free access to the throne of grace, and a promise that they shall be heard and accepted there.

4. They who love Christ in sincerity will receive the gift of a happy immortality.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTERS DESCRIBED.

1. The object of their love "The Lord Jesus Christ."

(1)Lord, Said to be "Lord of all."

(2)Jesus. This signifies "Saviour," and it was given to Him on account of His mission and work.

(3)Christ. Signifies "Anointed." The anointed Saviour. The Christ predicted, promised, expected, at length revealed.

2. The nature of their love - "Love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." Here is the affection and the kind of affection. Now, love to Christ -

(1)Is always the result of faith in His love to us.

(2)Love to Christ is always an evident emotion.

(3)Is sincere. It may be rendered "uncorrupted," without alloy.It means real, in opposition to pretended love - intense, in opposition to languid - constant, in opposition to vacillating.

II. THE AFFECTIONATE PRAYER EXPRESSED.

1. All the saints of the Lord Jesus require this grace. None independent of it.

2. The grace is provided for all the disciples of Jesus. "Out of His fulness have we all," etc.

3. We should seek sincerely in prayer that all may possess it. And that for the following reasons: -

(1)All who love, etc., are loved of God and chosen of Him.

(2)They are all our brethren and sisters in Christ.

(3)We are in circumstances of common need and dependence.

(4)We have all one Spirit.

(5)We are destined to one common inheritance.Application:

1. We see the true nature of apostolical Christianity. A religion of love.

2. We perceive the unhappy influences of sectarianism.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

resumeof the whole of what he had said before.

1. This love to Christ, as a great soul-force, accomplishes that which is indispensable to the whole ripening of the human soul - namely, whatever unites it in vital sympathy to God. The human soul, without personal union with God, is sunless and summerless, and can never blossom nor ripen. To bring this lower order in creation up to a Divine union, so that it shall make the leap from the animal to the spiritual sphere, from the lower to the higher condition, is the one problem of history. It cannot be done by reason, although reason is largely subordinated, and is auxiliary. But the reason, dominant, can never bring the soul into vital union with God. Neither can this be done by conscience. Conscience has power: but not the power to create sympathy. No man will be joined to God by conscience; contrariwise, men will, more likely, by mere conscience, which excites fear, be driven away from God. It cannot, either, be done by awe and reverence, which are adjuncts, but which, while they give toning and shadow to the higher feelings, give them no solar heat. They tend to lower and humble the soul; not to inspire and elevate it. They have their place among other feelings. Neither have they found God, nor have they ever led a soul to find Him - still less to join Him. Love, as a disposition, as a constant mood, has a welding power which can bring the soul to God, and fix it there. Finding Him, it can bring the soul into communion with Him, so that there shall be a personal connection between the Divine nature and the human nature. Love, then, is the one interpreter between God and man.

2. Love, also, is the one facile harmonizer of the internal discords of the human soul. It induces an atmosphere in us in which all feelings find their summer and so their ripeness.

3. Love is the only experience which keeps the soul always in a relation of sympathy and of harmony with one's fellows; and so it is the truest principle of society. If society ever rises out of its lower passions and entanglements into a pure and joyous condition, it will be by the inspiration of a Divine love. This alone will enable it to convert knowledge to benefit.

4. Love is almost the only prophetic power of the soul. It is the chief principle that inspires hope of immortality. No man ever loved his wife, and buried her, saying, with any composure, "There is no immortality for her." No man ever bore his child to the grave, though it were one that he could carry in the palm of his hand, that everything in his nature did not rise up, and say, "Let me find it again." No man ever proudly loved a heroic father, and consented that that father should go to extinction. The flame of love, once shining, no one can endure to believe will ever go out. Love, therefore, teaches the soul to long for, and to believe in, a better land. If you think that in this diverse but brief exposition of the power of love, I have transcended good reason, listen and see whether I have equalled the declarations of Scripture on the same subject. If you think I have been extravagant, is not the apostle more extravagant? (1 Corinthians 13.) Upon all, then, who have learned this sacred secret; upon all who have been scholars to Christianity and to the Lord Jesus Christ, and have learned to love Christ in perpetuity, permanently - upon all these, "grace," from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and grace from all Christian men, in godly fellowship. "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!" Grace be upon all theologians that tend to create love; upon all services that tend to inspire love; upon all organizations that tend to promote love. No grace upon anything else. That which does not touch love does not touch any. thing religious which is worth our consideration - certainly not worth our suffering for. Violent attacks are made on men, in order to change them; but that is not the best way to change them, nor to bring them into a redeeming spirit of love. Little wilt be done in this world to change men by controversy. We must make that chief in us, and in the Church, which we believe to be chief in Christianity - namely, the spirit of love. We must intensify this feeling. If we would return toward it, we must reform by it. We must produce an atmosphere, we must create a public sentiment, such that churches will feel the superiority of love over organization, and ordinance, and doctrine.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. If a man be very dear to me, I love to be with him. It is not enough that I behold the window where he sometimes appears; I want to see him. What are ordinances but the lattices - the windows through which Christ makes Himself known, and is seen by His saints and disciples? You read the Word of God; it is God's appointed way of finding Him. You hear the Word of God; it is God's appointed medium for seeing Him. You bend the knee in prayer; it is God's appointed medium for meeting Him. Then I would say, you "love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," because nothing short of Himself will ever satisfy your souls.

2. If by any unkindness to a dear friend we have caused him to withdraw from us, so that we see his face no more for a time, we search after him, and we cannot rest till we have found him. My dear hearers, see the Church of God, as discovered in the fifth chapter of that precious book - the Song of Solomon of Solomon. "I opened to my Beloved; but my Beloved had withdrawn Himself, and was gone; my soul failed when He spake; I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer." But she went on seeking Him till she found Him. She did not give over her search, till she was enabled to say, in the third verse of the next chapter - "My Beloved is mine: He feedeth among the lilies." True love cannot rest till it has found. We go to our family devotions, we seek the Lord in secret prayer, we mingle with the saints of God, but we cannot find rest till we have found Him.

3. Observe again: if I have a dear and beloved friend, I love his likeness. Although it maybe but a poor and feeble likeness, with many failures in it, yet there may be something about it which reminds me of him; and I love it because I love him. So do I love the saints of God. It is but a poor likeness - a faint resemblance; yet I see Christ in it. I see something of His meekness, tenderness, and love in it: and though it be but a poor picture, it reminds me of Him; and I love it for His sake. It is the true principle of brotherly love.

4. I am conscious of this principle too; that if I have a dear and beloved friend, I am concerned that others shall love him, and speak and think well of him; and that their hearts should be drawn out towards him. And so it is with the children of God. Observe in the first of John, that no sooner had Andrew heard the mighty call, than he searched after Simon; and no sooner had Philip heard it, than he searched after Nathanael. It marks out a principle, and exhibits the truth of what I am now speaking of. Ye parents that hear me, could ye but see in your dear child the breaking down of its proud heart, the humiliation of spirit, and withdrawment to prayer; could ye but see that beloved friend bow before God, it would be more to you than a thousand worlds.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. That peace which comes down from God's heaven alone upon our earth, into our hearts.

II. That love, which is pure, holy, Divine.

III. That faith, which, inseparable from love, living and active through it, born of God, alone is pleasing to God, alone gives to God His glory, alone exalts the soul to Him.

IV. That grace, through which, first and alone, there comes to us all true, eternal, blessed good, continuing ours out of pure mercy and unto eternity.

(Passavant.)

sine cera,or without cement. Hence we have here a word picture of great moral significance.

(J. Tesseyman.)

(W. Gurnall, M. A.)

(St. Louis Christian Advocate.)

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