And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
I. FROM THE FACT THAT THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES LOST THE KINGDOM WITH EVERYTHING IN THEIR FAVOUR, whilst the "violent " won it with everything against them, we gather that every natural advantage may be forfeited a non-improvement, and that its want may be compensated by strenuousness of exertion.
II. HE WHO WOULD BE SAVED MUST DE SAVED BY VIOLENCE, and, nevertheless, he can be saved only by grace. Many charge the doctrine of justification by faith with a tendency to undermine exertion. But there is more effort necessary to be saved by grace than by works. Man's strongest inclinations are on the side of meriting heaven by works; hence the need of violence to resist this. And the violence done to nature by the act of believing, faith, as working by love, will keep men in perpetual activity. A life of faith is a life of self-denial. It is not easy, though God's grace will prevent it being too difficult.
III. With this proof that they who would be saved must use violence there is given A DEMONSTRATION THAT, NEVERTHELESS, THEY CAN BE SAVED ONLY BY GRACE. The faith which prompts and enables the violence is no human principle, but is of celestial gift. Faith, and all its results, must be attributed to grace.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.