|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-15 The doctrine of grace and salvation by the gospel, is for all ranks and conditions of men. It teaches to forsake sin; to have no more to do with it. An earthly, sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling. It teaches to make conscience of that which is good. We must look to God in Christ, as the object of our hope and worship. A gospel conversation must be a godly conversation. See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer's heart, with all their hinderances. It teaches to look for the glories of another world. At, and in, the glorious appearing of Christ, the blessed hope of Christians will be complete: To bring us to holiness and happiness was the end of Christ's death. Jesus Christ, that great God and our Saviour, who saves not only as God, much less as Man alone; but as God-man, two natures in one person. He loved us, and gave himself for us; and what can we do less than love and give up ourselves to him! Redemption from sin and sanctification of the nature go together, and make a peculiar people unto God, free from guilt and condemnation, and purified by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is profitable. Here is what will furnish for all parts of duty, and the right discharge of them. Let us inquire whether our whole dependence is placed upon that grace which saves the lost, pardons the guilty, and sanctifies the unclean. And the further we are removed from boasting of fancied good works, or trusting in them, so that we glory in Christ alone, the more zealous shall we be to abound in real good works.
Verse 13. - The for that, A.V.; appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior for the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior, A.V. Looking for (προσδεχόμενοι); the word commonly applied to waiting for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43; Luke 2:25, 38; Luke 12:36; Luke 23:51; Jude 1:21). The blessed hope. The hope here means the thing hoped for, as in Acts 24:14 (where both the subjective hope and the thing hoped for are included); Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5 (comp. too Romans 8:24, 25). Here the hope is called emphatically "the blessed hope," the hope of Christ's second coming in glory, that hope which is the joy and life, the strength and comfort, of every Christian soul. This is the only place in the New Testament where μακάριος is applied to an object which does not itself enjoy the blessing, but is a source of blessing to others. Of the fifty passages where it occurs it is applied in forty-three to persons, twice to God, three times to parts of the body (the Virgin's womb, and the eyes and ears of those who saw and heard Christ), once impersonally ("It is more blessed to give," etc., Acts 20:35), and once, in this passage, to the hope. And appearing of the glory. In construing this clause, as well as the following, the same difficulty occurs. There is only one article to the two subjects. The question arises - Can two different subjects stand under one article? Huther affirms that they can, and refers for proof to Buttman and Wince; and, indeed, it is impossible to treat "the hope" and the "appearing" as one subject. Accepting this, the clause before us should be rendered, Looking for the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of the great God. This is a description of the second coming of the Lord, of whom it is expressly said that he will "come in the glory of his Father" (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38). The appearing of Christ will be the appearing of the glory of the great God, not the appearing of God the Father, to whom the term ἐπιφανεία is never applied, but of the Son, who is the Brightness of his Father's glory. Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. No doubt the Greek words can be so rendered, and perhaps (grammatically) most naturally, as e.g. in 2 Peter 1:11, where we read, "The kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;" and so 2 Peter 3:18. But, on the other hand, according to what is said above, they need not be so rendered. "The great God" and "our Savior Jesus Christ" may be two separate subjects, as "the blessed hope" and "appearing of the glory" are. Anti we have to inquire, from the usual language of Scripture, which of the two is most probable. Alford, in a long note, shows that σωτὴρ is often used without the article (1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 4:10; Philippians 3:20); that in analogous sentences: where Κύριος is used as our Lord's title, an exactly similar construction to that in the text is employed, as 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Ephesians 6:23, etc. He also observes, after Wince, that the insertion of ἡμῶν after Σωτῆρος is an additional reason for the omission of the article before Σωτῆρος, as in Luke 1:78; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3, and elsewhere; and that the epithet μεγάλου prefixed to Θεοῦ makes it still more difficult to connect Θεοῦ with Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ; and lastly, he compares this passage with 1 Timothy 2:3, 5, 6, and thinks the conclusion inevitable that the apostle, writing two sentences so closely corresponding - written, it may be added, so near to one another in time - would have had in view, in both passages, the same distinction of persons which is so strongly marked in 1 Timothy 3:3, 5. On these grounds he pronounces against the rendering which is adopted by the Revised Version. Huther's conclusion is the same: partly from the grammatical possibility of two subjects (here Θεοῦ and Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ) having only one article, which leaves the question of whether there are here one or two subjects to be decided on other grounds than simple grammar; and partly and chiefly from the double consideration that
(1) nowhere in Scripture is Θεός connected directly with Ἰησοῦς Ξριστός, as Κύριος and Σωτήρ so often are; and
(2) that the collocation of God (Θεός) and Christ as two subjects is of constant occurrence, as e.g. 1 Timothy 1:1, 2; 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:13; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 1:4; to which may probably be added 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; he decides, surely rightly, that the clause should be rendered, the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Another question arises whether the glory belongs to both subjects. Probably, though not necessarily, it does, since we are told in Matthew 17:27 that "the Son of man shall come in the glory of the Father;" and in Matthew 25:31, "the Son of man shall come in his glory" (comp. Matthew 19:28). The whole sentence will then stand thus: Looking for the blessed hope, and for the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, etc. The great God (τοῦ μεγάλου); not elsewhere in the New Testament (except in the T.R. of Revelation 19:17), but familiar to us from Psalm 95:3, "The Lord is a great God," and elsewhere, KS Deuteronomy 10:17; Deuteronomy 7:21; Psalm 77:14, etc. In Matthew 5:35' we read "the great King" of God. This grand description of τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος, "the world to come," is in contrast with τῷ νῦν οἰῶνι, "this present world," in which our present life is passed, but which is so deeply influenced by "the blessed hope" of that future and glorious world.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Looking for that blessed hope,.... Not the grace of hope; though that being a good hope through grace, and a hope of blessedness, may be called a blessed hope; yet this the saints have already implanted in their hearts in regeneration, and cannot be said to look for it: rather Christ, the object and ground of hope, who is our hope, and Christ in us the hope of glory, who is blessed for evermore; and in the enjoyment of whom the happiness of the saints hereafter will greatly consist; and whom they look for, and expect from heaven, and who is expressly mentioned in the next clause: but as this may be something distinct from that, it may be best, by this blessed hope, to understand the thing hoped for, eternal glory and happiness; called elsewhere the hope of righteousness, and the hope laid up in heaven, Galatians 5:5 and which will lie in the beatific vision of God and Christ; in a perfect knowledge of them, in communion with them, and conformity to them; and in the society of angels and glorified saints; and in a freedom from all evil, outward and inward, and in the possession of all good: and to be looking for this, is to be desiring it with the heart and affections set upon it, longing to be in the enjoyment of it, and yet waiting patiently in the exercise of faith and hope; for looking includes all the three graces, faith, hope, and love; and particularly the former, which is always attended with the latter; for it is such a looking for this blessedness, as that a man firmly believes he shall partake of it: and there is good reason for a regenerate man so to look for it; since it is his Father's gift of free grace, and is laid up for him; Christ is gone to prepare it by his presence, mediation, and intercession; yea, he is gone, as the forerunner, to take possession of it in his name: this man is begotten again to a lively hope of it; he is called by the grace of God unto it; he is a child of God, and so an heir of it; he has a right unto it, through the justifying righteousness of Christ, and has a meetness for it through the sanctifying grace of the Spirit; and who is in him as the earnest and pledge of it: now such a firm expectation of the heavenly glory does the Gospel, the doctrine of the grace of God, teach, direct, and encourage to; for these words must be read in connection with the preceding, as a further instruction of the Gospel, as well as what follows:
and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; not two divine persons, only one, are here intended; for the word: rendered "appearing", is never used of God the Father, only of the second person; and the propositive article is not set before the word "Saviour", as it would, if two distinct persons were designed; and the copulative "and" is exegetical, and may he rendered thus, "and the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ"; who, in the next verse, is said to give himself for the redemption of his people: so that here is a very illustrious proof of the true and proper deity of Christ, who will appear at his second coming; for of that appearance are the, words to be understood, as the great God, in all the glories and perfections of his divine nature; as well as a Saviour, which is mentioned to show that he will appear to the salvation of his people, which he will then put them in the full possession of; and that the brightness of his divine Majesty will not make them afraid: and this appearance will be a glorious one; for Christ will come in his own glory, in the glory of his deity, particularly his omniscience and omnipotence will be very conspicuous; and in his glory as Mediator, which will be beheld by all the saints; and in his glory as a Judge, invested with power and authority from his Father, which will be terrible to sinners; and in the glory of his human nature, with which it is now crowned; and in his Father's glory, in the same he had with him before the world was, and which is the same with his, and in that which he will receive from him as man and Mediator, and as the Judge of the whole earth; and in the glory of his holy angels, being attended with all his mighty ones: to which may be added, that saints will be raised from the dead, and with the living ones appear with Christ in glory, and make up the bride, the Lamb's wife, having the glory of God upon her; so that this will be a grand appearance indeed. Now this the Gospel directs, and instructs believers to look for, to love, to hasten to, most earnestly desire, and yet patiently wait for, most firmly believing that it will be: and this the saints have reason to look for, with longing desire and affection, and with pleasure, since it will be not only glorious in itself, but advantageous to them; they will then be glorified with Christ, and be for ever with him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. (Php 3:20, 21).
Looking for—with constant expectation (so the Greek) and with joy (Ro 8:19). This will prove the antidote to worldly lusts, and the stimulus to "live in this present world" conformably to this expectation. The Greek is translated, "waiting for," in Lu 2:25.
blessed—bringing blessedness (Ro 4:7, 8).
hope—that is, object of hope (Ro 8:24; Ga 5:5; Col 1:5).
the glorious appearing—There is but one Greek article to both "hope" and "appearing," which marks their close connection (the hope being about to be realized only at the appearing of Christ). Translate, "The blessed hope and manifestation (compare Note, see on Tit 2:11) of the glory." The Greek for "manifestation" is translated "brightness" in 2Th 2:8. As His "coming" (Greek, "parousia") expresses the fact; so "brightness, appearing," or "manifestation" (epiphaneia) expresses His personal visibility when He shall come.
the great God and our Saviour Jesus—There is but one Greek article to "God" and "Saviour," which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being. "Of Him who is at once the great God and our Saviour." Also (2) "appearing" (epiphaneia) is never by Paul predicated of God the Father (Joh 1:18; 1Ti 6:16), or even of "His glory" (as Alford explains it): it is invariably applied to Christ's coming, to which (at His first advent, compare 2Ti 1:10) the kindred verb "appeared" (epephanee), Tit 2:11, refers (1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 4:1, 8). Also (3) in the context (Tit 2:14) there is no reference to the Father, but to Christ alone; and here there is no occasion for reference to the Father in the exigencies of the context. Also (4) the expression "great God," as applied to Christ, is in accordance with the context, which refers to the glory of His appearing; just as "the true God" is predicated of Christ, 1Jo 5:20. The phrase occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but often in the Old Testament. De 7:21; 10:17, predicated of Jehovah, who, as their manifested Lord, led the Israelites through the wilderness, doubtless the Second Person in the Trinity. Believers now look for the manifestation of His glory, inasmuch as they shall share in it. Even the Socinian explanation, making "the great God" to be the Father, "our Saviour," the Son, places God and Christ on an equal relation to "the glory" of the future appearing: a fact incompatible with the notion that Christ is not divine; indeed it would be blasphemy so to couple any mere created being with God.
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