Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
I. WHAT THESE MORALITIES ARE.Whatsoever things are —
1. In speech. We must be free from lying. This is when men, with a purpose to deceive, say what is false either by assertion (Acts 5:3) or promise (Proverbs 19:22). Lying is —
(1) Most contrary to the nature of God, who is truth itself.
(2) To the new nature (Ephesians 4:25, 26; Isaiah 63:8).
(3) To society, for commerce is kept up by truth.
2. In actions. We should keep the integrity of a good conscience (Psalm 32:2; 2 Corinthians 1:12). Sincerity and candour should be seen in all we do. Satan assaults you with wiles, but your strength lies in downright honesty (Ephesians 6:14; Isaiah 38:2-3).
2. Honest — grave and venerable, free from scurrility, lightness and vanity in word or deed. Religion is a serious thing, so should they be who profess it (1 Timothy 2:9-10; Titus 2:2).
3. Just. We must give every man his due, and defraud none of his right; whether
(1) superiors (Matthew 22:21),
(2) inferiors (Colossians 4:1),
(3) equals (Romans 13:8; Matthew 7:12).
4. Peace. Nothing obscene or unchaste should be seen or heard from a Christian (Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:12).
5. Lovely. There are certain things which are not only commanded by God, but are grateful to men, such as affability, peaceableness, usefulness (Romans 45:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Acts 2:46-47).
6. Of good report. There are some things which have no express evil in them, but they are not of good fame (1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:12).
7. Virtue and praise, two things linked together. Many things in the world are praised which are not virtuous; such things are to be abhorred. But if there be any good thing even among the heathen, religion should be adorned with it.
II. IN WHAT MANNER DOTH CHRISTIANITY ENFORCE THEM.
1. It derives them all from the highest fountain, the Spirit of sanctification, by whom we are fitted for these duties (Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:22).
2. It makes them to grow out of proper principles.
(1) Faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 7:4).
(2) Love to God (Galatians 5:6; Titus 2:11-12).
3. It directs by the highest rule, God's mind revealed in His Word, the absolute rule of right and wrong.
4. It aims at the highest end, the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 1:11; Acts 24:14-16).
III. FOR WHAT REASONS.
1. Because grace does not abolish so much of nature as is good, but refines and sublimates it, by causing us to act from higher principles and to higher ends.
2. Because these conduce to the honour of religion. The credit of religion depends much on the credit of its professors (Ezekiel 36:20-21; 2 Samuel 12:14; 2 Peter 2:2; Titus 2:10).
3. Our peace and safety are concerned in it.
(1) The world is least irritated by a good conversation (1 Peter 3:13; 1 Samuel 24:17).
(2) When we do not bring trouble on ourselves by our immoralities, God takes us under His special protection (ver. 9).
4. These things grow from that internal principle of grace which is planted in our hearts by regeneration (Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8).
5. All the disorders contrary to these limits and bounds by which our conversations are regulated, are condemned by the righteous law of God which is the rule of the new creature; and therefore they ought to be avoided by the good Christian (Matthew 5:19).
6. These moralities are not small things; the glory of God, the safety of His people, the good of human society, and the evidence of our own sincerity being concerned in them.Conclusion:
1. If religion adopts moralities into its constitution, we must not leave them out of our practice (Titus 3:8). Here is an answer to those who ask wherein must we be holy and obedient.
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
WEB: Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.