Acts 11:18
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance to life.
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(18) They held their peace, and glorified God.—The difference of tenses in the two Greek verbs implies that they first held their peace, and then began a continuous utterance of praise. The fact was obviously one of immense importance in its bearing on the question at issue between St. Paul and the Judaisers, of which St. Luke had seen so much and which he sought, by his narrative, to settle. Not only had the first step in the free admission of the Gentiles been taken by the chief of the Apostles, and under direct guidance from above, but it had received the formal approval of the Apostles and other members of the Church of the Circumcision at Jerusalem. The Judaisers, in opposing St. Paul, were acting against the Church from which they pretended to derive their authority.

11:1-18 The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, when godly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of God has been received, because their own system has not been attended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good to those who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the bane and damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and from the benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing as we are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offence, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preaching is certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. While men are very zealous for their own regulations, they should take care that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lord will glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance to life to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not only his free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us, grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.They held their peace - They were convinced, as Peter had been, by the manifest indications of the will of God.

Then hath God ... - The great truth in this manner established that the doors of the church are opened To the entire Gentile world - a truth that was worthy of this remarkable interposition. It at once changed the views of the apostles and of the early Christians; gave them new, large, and liberal conceptions of the gospel; broke down their long-cherished prejudices; taught them to look upon all people as their brethren; impressed their hearts with the truth, never after to be eradicated, that the Christian church was founded for the wide world, and that it opened the same glorious pathway to life wherever man might be found, whether with the narrow prejudice of the Jew, or amidst the degradations of the pagan world. To this truth we owe our hopes; for this, we should thank the God of heaven; and, impressed with it, we should seek to invite the entire world to partake with us of the rich provisions of the gospel of the blessed God.

18. held their peace and glorified God—Well had it been if, when Paul afterwards adduced equally resistless evidence in justification of the same line of procedure, this Jewish party had shown the same reverential and glad submission!

Then hath God also granted to the Gentiles, &c.—rather, "granted to the Gentiles also." (See a similar misplacement of "also" in Heb 12:1). To "grant repentance unto life"—that is, "such as issues in life" (compare 2Co 7:10, "repentance unto salvation")—is more than to be willing to pardon upon repentance [Grotius]. The case of Cornelius is so manifestly one of grace reigning in every stage of his religious history, that we can hardly doubt that this was just the feature of it which they meant here to express. And this is the grace that reigns in every conversion.

They held their peace; they were fully satisfied with the reason St. Peter had given them of his admitting the Gentiles unto baptism, and fellowship with him; wisely inferring from what Peter had said, that what he had done was of God, who was to be acknowledged in it.

Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance: repentance is the gift of God, as well as faith, or any other grace, 2 Timothy 2:25; nor can the greatest guilt affect the heart with true godly sorrow, until God hath quickened it. It is called

repentance unto life, because God hath appointed that it should precede our entrance into life. When they heard these things,.... Peter's vision at Joppa, and Cornelius's at Caesarea, and the wonderful pouring forth of the Spirit upon these Gentiles under Peter's sermon:

they held their peace; and ceased contending and disputing with Peter, or blaming him for his conduct; for otherwise they were not silent, but made use of their tongues:

and glorified God; praised his name, adored his rich grace, and gave him the glory of all the wonderful things related to them:

saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. The phrase "unto life", is left out in the Ethiopic version, which only reads, "God hath also given to the Gentiles that they should repent"; but it ought not to be omitted, being in the Greek copies in general, and of considerable moment, rightly understood; the Arabic version directs to a wrong sense of it, "perhaps God hath given also to the Gentiles repentance, that they may live by it"; the word "perhaps", is very wrongly put instead of "then", which affirms that God had given them repentance, whereas this makes a doubt of it; and upon a supposition of it, the version ascribes too much to it; for it is not by repentance that men live spiritually, but by faith in Christ Jesus; nor do they obtain eternal life by it, but by Christ; though true repentance is an evidence of spiritual life, and it begins with it, for as soon as ever God quickens a sinner, he shows him the evil of sin, and gives him repentance for it: "repentance" here designs the grace of evangelical repentance, which is attended with faith in Christ, as it was in these Gentiles, and with views of pardon in Christ, and which springs from the love of God, and this is "unto life"; is a repentance from dead works, and is attended with a life of faith, and issues in eternal life: and it is also a "grant" from God; it is not in the power of man's free will, who though he may have time and means, yet if he has not grace given him to repent, he never will; his heart is hard and obdurate, and no means will do without an almighty power; not the most severe judgments, nor the greatest mercies, nor the most powerful ministry; it is a pure gift of God's free grace, and a blessing of the covenant of grace: and this being given to Gentiles, shows that the covenant of grace belongs to them, as well as to the Jews; and discovers a false opinion of the Jews, that the Gentiles should not be saved; and answers the design of the Gospel being sent among them, whereby the doctrines both of repentance and remission are preached unto them; and opens the glorious mystery of the calling of them, and may encourage sinners of the Gentiles to hope for this grace, and apply to Christ for it, who is exalted to give it.

{2} When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

(2) Those who ask a question of the truth which they do not know, ought to be quietly heard, and must also quietly yield to the declaration of the truth.

Acts 11:18. ἡσύχασαν, cf. Acts 21:14 and Luke 14:3, so in LXX, Nehemiah 5:8 (Job 32:6, Hebrew different); also in a different sense in Luke 23:56, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, only in Luke and Paul in N.T.—ἐδόξαζον, see critical notes, imperfect of continuous action—the writer about to pass to other things thus depicts the state of things which he leaves, cf. Acts 8:3 (Blass).—Ἄραγε, see critical notes.18. they held their peace] But though those who heard the account of St Peter were satisfied that God had called Gentiles as well as Jews, there were others who, some perhaps with a real but misguided zeal for the Law, some, as St Paul says (Galatians 6:13), from vain-glory, maintained the necessity for the observance of the older covenant, and hence arose dissensions in the Church from a very early time.Acts 11:18. Ἐδόξαζον, they glorified) A sign of firm (entire) assent.—ἄραγε, so then) It was not immediately evident to the Jews, that salvation was about to come also to the Gentiles: now, when it has come to them, the holy admiration of believers is the greater in proportion: ἄραγε, so then, expresses full approbation. This repentance denotes the whole mention of their spiritual state, and is a token and sample of the conversion of all nations.—ἔδωκε, has given) A great gift: ch. Acts 5:31, note. [(Though it is a matter of joy, not sadness, it is a thing) which truly the world is exceedingly afraid of.—V. g.]—εἰς ζωὴν, unto life) For where forgiveness of sins is, there life is. [Ezekiel 18:23.]Verse 18. - And when for when, A.V.; then to the Gentiles also hath God granted for then hath God also to the Gentiles granted, A.V. The fitness of the method adopted by the Divine wisdom for effecting this first reception of Gentiles into the Church upon an equal footing with the Jews is apparent from its success in quieting the jealous prejudices of the Jews, and preserving the peace of the Church. It was still, however, long before the exclusive spirit of Judaism was quenched (see Acts 15. and Galatians 1:6, 7; Galatians 2:4, 11, 12, 13; Galatians 5:2-12; Philippians 3:2, etc.).
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