|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:12-18 We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God's grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God's good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us. Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence. The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Running, denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward; labouring, denotes constancy, and close application. It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.
Verse 13. - For it is God which worketh in you. "Prmsens vobis," says Bengel, "etiam absente me." Worketh (ἐνεργῶν); not the same word as "work out" (κατεργάζεσθε) in Ver. 12; acts powerfully, with energy. In you; not lnerely among you, but in the heart of each individual believer. Both to will and to do; translate, with R.V., to work; the same word as before, ἐνεργεῖν. "Nos ergo volumus, sed Deus in nobis operatur et velle: nos ergo operamur, sed Deus in nobis operatur ct operari" (Augustine, quoted by Meyer). The grace of God is alleged as a motive for earnest Christian work. The doctrines of grace and free-will are not contradictory: they may seem so to our limited understanding; but in truth they complete and snpplement one another. St. Paul does not attempt to solve the problem in theory; he bids us solve it in the life of faith (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24. he "So run that ye may obtain;" and Romans 9:16, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy"). Of his good pleasure (εὐδοκίας). As the glory of God is the ultimate end (Ver. 11), so the good will of God is the first cause of our salwttiou: "God will have all men to be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For it is God which worketh in you,.... Which is both an encouragement to persons conscious of their own weakness to work, as before exhorted to; see Haggai 2:4; and a reason and argument for humility and meekness, and against pride and vain glory, since all we have, and do, is from God; and also points out the spring, principle, and foundation of all good works; namely, the grace of God wrought in the heart, which is an internal work, and purely the work of God: by this men become the workmanship of God, created unto good works, Ephesians 2:10, and are new men, and fitted for the performance of acts of righteousness, and true holiness; and this grace, which God works in them, is wrought in a powerful and efficacious manner, so as not to be frustrated and made void. The word here used signifies an inward, powerful, and efficacious operation; and the "king's manuscript", mentioned by Grotius and Hammond, adds another word to it, which makes the sense still stronger, reading it thus, "which worketh in you", "by power"; not by moral persuasion, but by his own power, the power of his efficacious grace. The Alexandrian copy reads, "powers", or "mighty works": God works in his people
both to will and to do of his good pleasure; God works in converted men a will to that which is spiritually good; which is to be understood, not of the formation of the natural faculty of the will; or of the preservation of it, and its natural liberty; or of the general motion of it to natural objects; nor of his influence on it in a providential way; but of the making of it good, and causing a willingness in it to that which is spiritually good. Men have no will naturally to come to Christ, or to have him to reign over them; they have no desire, nor hungerings and thirstings after his righteousness and salvation; wherever there are any such inclinations and desires, they are wrought in men by God; who works upon the stubborn and inflexible will, and, without any force to it, makes the soul willing to be saved by Christ, and submit to his righteousness, and do his will; he sweetly and powerfully draws it with the cords of love to himself, and to his Son, and so influences it by his grace and spirit, and which he continues, that it freely wills everything spiritually good, and for the glory of God: and he works in them also to "do"; for there is sometimes in believers a will, when there wants a power of doing. God therefore both implants in them principles of action to work from, as faith and love, and a regard for his glory, and gives them grace and strength to work with, without which they can do nothing, but having these, can do all things: and all this is "of his good pleasure"; the word "his" not being in the original text, some have taken the liberty to ascribe this to the will of man; and so the Syriac version renders it, "both to will and to do that", , "which ye will", or according to your good will; but such a sense is both bad and senseless; for if they have a good will of themselves, what occasion is there for God to work one in them? no; these internal operations of divine power and grace are not owing to the will of men, nor to any merits of theirs, or are what God is obliged to do, but what flow from his sovereign will and pleasure; who works when, where, and as he pleases, and that for his own glory; and who continues to do so in the hearts of his people; otherwise, notwithstanding the work of grace in them, they would find very little inclination to, and few and faint desires after spiritual things; and less strength to do what is spiritually good; but God of his good pleasure goes on working what is well pleasing in his sight.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. For—encouragement to work: "For it is God who worketh in you," always present with you, though I be absent. It is not said, "Work out your own salvation, though it is God," &c., but, "because it is God who," &c. The will, and the power to work, being first instalments of His grace, encourage us to make full proof of, and carry out to the end, the "salvation" which He has first "worked," and is still "working in" us, enabling us to "work it out." "Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will" [St. Bernard]. Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. God is the only proper author, we the only proper actors. Thus the same things in Scripture are represented as from God, and from us. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty (Eze 11:19; 18:31; 36:26) [Edwards].
worketh—rather as Greek, "worketh effectually." We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel of grace: "the will" (Ps 110:3; 2Co 3:5) comes solely of God's gift to whom He will (Joh 6:44, 65); so also the power "to do" (rather, "to work effectually," as the Greek is the same as that for "worketh in"), that is, effectual perseverance to the end, is wholly of God's gift (Php 1:6; Heb 13:21).
of his good pleasure—rather as Greek, "FOR His good pleasure"; in order to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose towards you (Eph 1:5, 9).
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