Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) As we have therefore opportunity.—“Therefore” is emphatic, and should come first. It introduces a summary conclusion from the preceding argument. Therefore (or, so then), as we have opportunity; wherever an opportunity offers.

Them who are of the household of faith.—It would seem, on the whole, that this translation might stand. It is true that the Greek word, meaning originally a “member of a household,” came to mean simply “acquainted with,” or “belonging to,” the idea of a “household” being dropped; still, in view more especially of Ephesians 2:19—”Fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God”—where there seems to be a play upon the words “city” and “house,” it would appear as if it ought in the present phrase to be retained. The Church is represented as a household in 1Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6; 1Peter 2:5; 1Peter 4:17.

Galatians

DOING GOOD TO ALL

Galatians 6:10‘As we have therefore’--that points a finger backwards to what has gone before. The Apostle has been exhorting to unwearied well-doing, on the ground of the certain coming of the harvest season. Now, there is a double link of connection between the preceding words and our text; for ‘do good’ looks back to ‘well-doing,’ and the word rendered ‘opportunity’ is the same as that rendered ‘season.’ So, then, two thoughts arise--’well-doing’ includes doing good to others, and is not complete unless it does. The future, on the whole, is the season of reaping; the present life on the whole is the season of sowing; and while life as a whole is the seed-time, in detail it is full of opportunities, openings which make certain good deeds possible, and which therefore impose upon us the obligation to do them. If we were in the habit of looking on life mainly as a series of opportunities for well-doing, how different it would be; and how different we should be!

Now, this injunction is seen to be reasonable by every man, whether he obeys it or not. It is a commonplace of morality, which finds assent in all consciences, however little it may mould lives. But I wish to give it a particular application, and to try to enforce its bearing upon Christian missionary work. And the thought that I would suggest is just this, that no Christian man discharges that elementary obligation of plain morality, if he is indifferent to this great enterprise. ‘As we have an opportunity, let us do good to all.’ That is the broad principle, and one application is the duty of Christian men to diffuse the Gospel throughout the world.

I. Let me ask you to look at the obligation that is thus suggested.

As I have said, well-doing is the wider, and doing good to others the narrower, expression. The one covers the whole ground of virtue, the other declares that virtue which is self-regarding, the culture which is mainly occupied with self, is lame and imperfect, and there is a great gap in it, as if some cantle had been cut out of the silver disc of the moon. It is only full-orbed when in well-doing, and as a very large constituent element of it, there is included the doing good to others. That is too plain to need to be stated. We hear a great deal to-day about altruism. Well, Christianity preaches that more emphatically than any other system of thought, morals, or religion does. And Christianity brings the mightiest motives for it, and imparts the power by which obedience to that great law that every man’s conscience responds to is made possible.

But whilst thus we recognise as a dictate of elementary morality that well-doing must necessarily include doing good to others, and feel, as I suppose we all do feel, when we are true to our deepest convictions, that possessions of all sorts, material, mental, and all others, are given to us in stewardship, and not in absolute ownership, in order that God’s grace in its various forms may fructify through us to all, my present point is that, if that is recognised as being what it is, an elementary dictate of morality enforced by men’s relationships to one another, and sealed by their own consciences, there is no getting away from the obligation upon all Christian men which it draws after it, of each taking his share in the great work of imparting the gospel to the whole world.

For that gospel is our highest good, the best thing that we can carry to anybody. We many of us recognise the obligation that is devolved upon us by the possession of wealth, to use it for others as well as for ourselves. We recognise, many of us, the obligation that is devolved upon us by the possession of knowledge, to impart it to others as well as ourselves. We are willing to give of our substance, of our time, of our effort, to impart much that we have. But some of us seem to draw a line at the highest good that we have, and whilst responding to all sorts of charitable and beneficent appeals made to us, and using our faculties often for the good of other people, we take no share and no interest in communicating the highest of all goods, the good which comes to the man in whose heart Christ rests. It is our highest good, because it deals with our deepest needs, and lifts us to the loftiest position. The gospel brings our highest good, because it brings eternal good, whilst all other benefits fade and pass, and are left behind with life and the dead flesh. It is our highest good, because if that great message of salvation is received into a heart, or moulds the life of a nation, it will bring after it, as its ministers and results, all manner of material and lesser benefit. And so, giving Christ we give _our_ best, and giving Christ we give the highest gift that a weary world can receive.

Remember, too, that the impartation of this highest good is one of the main reasons why we ourselves possess it. Jesus Christ can redeem the world alone, but it cannot become a redeemed world without the help of His servants. He needs us in order to carry into all humanity the energies that He brought into the midst of mankind by His Incarnation and Sacrifice; and the cradle of Bethlehem and the Cross of Cavalry are not sufficient for the accomplishment of the purpose for which they respectively came to pass, without the intervention and ministry of Christian people. It was for this end amongst others, that each of us who have received that great gift into our hearts have been enriched by it. The river is fed from the fountains of the hills, in order that it may carry verdure and life whithersoever it goes. And you and I have been brought to the Cross of Christ, and made His disciples, not only in order that we ourselves might be blessed and quickened by the gift unspeakable, but in order that through us it may be communicated, just as each particle when leavened in the mass of the dough communicates its energy to its adjacent particle until the whole is leavened.

I am afraid that indifference to the communication of the highest good, which marks sadly too many Christian professors in all ages, and in this age, is a suspicious indication of a very slight realisation of the good for themselves. Luther said that justification was the article of a standing or a falling church. That may be true in the region of theology, but in the region of practical life I do not know that you will find a test more reliable and more easy of application than this, Does a man care for spreading amongst his fellows the gospel that he himself has received? If he does not, let him ask himself whether, in any real sense, he has it. ‘Well-doing’ includes doing good to others, and the possession of Christ will make it certain that we shall impart Him.

II. Notice the bearing of this elementary injunction upon the scope of the obligation.

‘Let us do good to all men.’ It was Christianity that invented the word ‘humanity’; either in its meaning of the aggregate of men or its meaning of a gracious attitude towards them. And it invented the word because it revealed the thing on which it rests. ‘Brotherhood’ is the sequel of ‘Fatherhood,’ and the conception of mankind, beneath all diversities of race and culture and the like, as being an organic whole, knit together by a thousand mystical bands, and each atom of which has connection with, and obligations to, every other--that is a product of Christianity, however it may have been in subsequent ages divorced from a recognition of its source. So, then, the gospel rises above all the narrow distinctions which call themselves patriotism and are parochial, and it says that there is ‘neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free,’ but all are one. Get high enough up upon the hill, and the hedges between the fields are barely perceptible. Live on the elevation to which the Gospel of Jesus Christ lifts men, and you look down upon a great prairie, without a fence or a ditch or a division. So my text comes with profound significance, ‘Let us do good to all,’ because all are included in the sweep of that great purpose of love, and in the redeeming possibilities of that great death on the Cross. Christ has swept the compass, if I may say so, of His love and work all round humanity; and are we to extend our sympathies or our efforts less widely? The circle includes the world; our sympathies should be as wide as the circle that Christ has drawn.

Let me remind you, too, that only such a world-wide communication of the highest good that has blessed ourselves will correspond to the proved power of that Gospel which treats as of no moment diversities that are superficial, and can grapple with and overcome, and bind to itself as a crown of glory, every variety of character, of culture, of circumstance, claiming for its own all races, and proving itself able to lift them all. ‘The Bread of God which came down from heaven’ is an exotic everywhere, because it came down from heaven, but it can grow in all soils, and it can bring forth fruit unto eternal life everywhere amongst mankind. So ‘let us do good to all.’

And then we are met by the old objection, ‘The eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. Keep your work for home, that wants it.’ Well! I am perfectly ready to admit that in Christian work, as in all others there must be division of labour, and that one man’s tastes and inclinations will lead him to one sphere and one form of it; and another man’s to another; and I am quite ready, not to admit, but strongly to insist, that, whatever happens, home is not to be neglected. ‘All men’ includes the slums in England as well as the savages in Africa, and it is no excuse for neglecting either of these departments that we are trying to do something in the other. But it is not uncharitable to say that the objection to which I am referring is most often made by one or other of two classes, either by people who do not care about the Gospel, nor recognise the ‘good’ of it at all, or by people who are ingenious in finding excuses for not doing the duty to which they are at the moment summoned. The people that do the one are the people that do the other. Where do you get your money from for home work? Mainly from the Christian Churches. Who is it that keeps up missionary work abroad? Mainly the Christian Churches. There is a vast deal of unreality in that objection. Just think of the disproportion between the embarrassment of riches in our Christian appliances here in England and the destitution in these distant lands. Here the ships are crammed into a dock, close up against one another, rubbing their yards upon each other; and away out yonder on the waters there are leagues of loneliness, where never a sail is seen. Here, at home, we are drenched with Christian teaching, and the Churches are competing with each other, often like rival tradespeople for their customers; and away out yonder a man to half a million is considered a fair allowance. ‘Let us do good to all.’

III. Lastly, note the bearing of this elementary precept on the occasions that rise for the discharge of the duty.

‘As we have opportunity.’ As I have already said, the Christian way to look at our circumstances is to regard them as openings for the exercise of Christian virtue, and therefore summonses to its discharge. And if we regarded our own position individually, so we should find that there were many, many doors that had long been opened, into which we had been too blind or too lazy, or too selfishly absorbed in our own concerns, to enter. The neglected opportunities, the beckoning doors whose thresholds we have never crossed, the good that we might have done and have not done--these are as weighty to sink us as the positive sins, the opportunities for which have appealed to our worse selves.

But I desire to say a word, not only about the opportunities offered to us individually, but about those offered to England for this great enterprise. The prophet of old represented the proud Assyrian conqueror as boasting, ‘My hand hath gathered as a nest the riches of the peoples . . . and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.’ It might be the motto of England to-day. It is not for nothing that we and our brethren across the Atlantic, the inheritors of the same faith and morals and literature, and speaking the same tongue, have had given to us the wide dominion that we possess, I know that England has not climbed to her place without many a crime, and that in her ‘skirts is found the blood of poor innocents,’ but yet we have that connection, for good or for evil, with subject races all over the earth. And I ask whether or not that is an opportunity that the Christian Church is bound to make use of. What have we been intrusted with it for? Commerce, dominion, the impartation of Western knowledge, literature, laws? Yes! Is that all? Are you to send shirting and not the Gospel? Are you to send muskets that will burst, and gin that is poison, and not Christianity? Are you to send Shakespeare, and Milton, and modern science, and Herbert Spencer, and not Evangelists and the Gospels? Are you to send the code of English law and not Christ’s law of love? Are you to send godless Englishmen, ‘through whom the name of God is blasphemed amongst the Gentiles,’ and are you not to send missionaries of the Cross? A Brahmin once said to a missionary, ‘Look here! Your Book is a good Book. If you were as good as your Book you would make India Christian in ten years.’

Brethren! the European world to-day is fighting and scrambling over what it calls the unclaimed corners of the world; looking upon all lands that are uncivilised by Western civilisation either as markets, or as parts of their empire. Is there no other way of looking at the heathen world than that? How did Christ look at it? He was moved when He saw the multitudes as ‘sheep having no shepherd.’ Oh! if Christian men, as members of this nation, would rise to the height of Christ’s place of vision, and would look at the world with His eyes, what a difference it would make! I appeal to you, Christian men and women, as members of this nation, and therefore responsible, though it may be infinitesimally, for what this nation is doing in the distant corners of the world, and urge on you that you are bound, so far as your influence goes, to protest against the way of looking at these heathen lands as existing to be exploited for the material benefit of these Western Powers. You are bound to lend your voice, however weak it may be, to the protests against the savage treatment of native races--against the drenching of China with narcotics, and Africa with rum; to try to look at the world as Christ looked at it, to rise to the height of that great vision which regards all men as having been in His heart when He died on the Cross, and refuses to recognise in this great work ‘Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free.’ We have awful responsibilities; the world is open to us. We have the highest good. How shall we obey this elementary principle of our text, unless we help as we can in spreading Christ’s reign? Blessed shall we be if, and only if, we fill the seed-time with delightful work, and remember that well-doing is imperfect unless it includes doing good to others, and that the best good we can do is to impart the Unspeakable Gift to the men that need it. 6:6-11 Many excuse themselves from the work of religion, though they may make a show, and profess it. They may impose upon others, yet they deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who knows their hearts as well as actions; and as he cannot be deceived, so he will not be mocked. Our present time is seed time; in the other world we shall reap as we sow now. As there are two sorts of sowing, one to the flesh, and the other to the Spirit, so will the reckoning be hereafter. Those who live a carnal, sensual life, must expect no other fruit from such a course than misery and ruin. But those who, under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We are all very apt to tire in duty, particularly in doing good. This we should carefully watch and guard against. Only to perseverance in well-doing is the reward promised. Here is an exhortation to all to do good in their places. We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives. Especially when fresh occasions offer, and as far as our power reaches.As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men - This is the true rule about doing good. "The opportunity to do good," said Cotton Mather, "imposes the obligation to do it." The simple rule is, that we are favored with the opportunity, and that we have the power. It is not that we are to do it when it is convenient; or when it will advance the interest of a party; or when it may contribute to our fame; the rule is, that we are to do it when we have the opportunity. No matter how often that occurs; no matter how many objects of benevolence are presented - the more the better; no matter how much self-denial it may cost us; no matter how little fame we may get by it; still, if we have the opportunity to do good, we are to do it, and should be thankful for the privilege. And it is to be done to all people. Not to our family only; not to our party; not to our neighbors; not to those of our own color; not to those who live in the same land with us, but to all mankind. If we can reach and benefit a man who lives on the other side of the globe, whom we have never seen, and shall never see in this world or in the world to come, still we are to do him good. Such is Christianity. And in this, as in all other respects, it differs from the narrow and selfish spirit of clanship which prevails all over the world.

Especially - On the same principle that a man is bound particularly to benefit his own family and friends. In his large and expansive zeal for the world at large, he is not to forget or neglect them. He is to feel that they have special claims on him. They are near him. They are bound to him by tender ties. They may be particularly dependent on him. Christianity does not relax the ties which bind us to our country, our family, and our friends. It makes them more close and tender, and excites us more faithfully to discharge the duties which grow out of these relations. But, in addition to that, it excites us to do good to all people, and to bless the stranger as well as the friend; the man who has a different color from our own, as well as he who has the same; the man who lives in another clime, as well as he who was born in the same country in which we live.

Of the household of faith - Christians are distinguished from other people primarily by their believing the gospel, and by its influence on their lives.

10. Translate, "So then, according as (that is, in proportion as) we have season (that is, opportunity), let us work (a distinct Greek verb from that for "do," in Ga 6:9) that which is (in each case) good." As thou art able, and while thou art able, and when thou art able (Ec 9:10). We have now the "season" for sowing, as also there will be hereafter the "due season" (Ga 6:9) for reaping. The whole life is, in one sense, the "seasonable opportunity" to us: and, in a narrower sense, there occur in it more especially convenient seasons. The latter are sometimes lost in looking for still more convenient seasons (Ac 24:25). We shall not always have the opportunity "we have" now. Satan is sharpened to the greater zeal in injuring us, by the shortness of his time (Re 12:12). Let us be sharpened to the greater zeal in well-doing by the shortness of ours.

them who are of the household—Every right-minded man does well to the members of his own family (1Ti 5:8); so believers are to do to those of the household of faith, that is, those whom faith has made members of "the household of God" (Eph 2:19): "the house of God" (1Ti 3:15; 1Pe 4:17).

As we have therefore opportunity; as we have objects before us, or as God gives us time and ability.

Let us do good unto all men; let it be our business to harm none, but to supply the necessities of all men; either with our spiritual advice and counsels, with all the assistance we can give them that may any way be of spiritual profit or advantage to them; or with our worldly goods, ministering to their necessities.

Especially unto them who are of the household of faith; but all in an order, preferring Christians before others; those that belong to the church, (which is called the house of God, 1 Timothy 3:15 1 Peter 4:17, and the household of God, Ephesians 2:19), before such as have no such relation to the church. As we have therefore opportunity,.... Or "ability", so the phrase is sometimes used (z); as occasion requires, objects offer, as there is ability of well doing, and that continues; while the time of life lasts, which is the time for sowing, or doing good works:

let us do good unto all men; not only to our relations, friends, and acquaintance, but to all men; to them that are strangers to us, of whatsoever nation, Jew or Gentile; and of whatsoever religion or sect, yea, even to our very enemies:

especially unto them who are of the household of faith: the children of God, that belong to his family, are true believers in Christ, hold the doctrine of faith, make a profession of it, and keep it fast; these are more especially to be the objects of Christian beneficence and liberality. The apostle may have sense reference to a practice among the Jews, who took a particular care of the children of good men that were poor;

"there were two chambers in the temple, the one was called the chamber of secrets, and the other the chamber of vessels: into the chamber of secrets, religious men used to put privately, whereby were privately maintained the poor , "of the children of good men" (a).''

The Targumist on Jeremiah 5:3 has a phrase much like to this applied to God, paraphrasing the passage thus; is it not, O Lord, revealed before thee, , "to do good to the servants of faith?"

(z) See Hammond on. Phil. iv. 10. (a) Misn. Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 6.

{8} As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

(8) Those that are of the household of faith, that is, those who are joined with us in the profession of one self same religion, ought to be preferred before all others, yet in such a way that our generosity extends to all.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Galatians 6:10. Concluding exhortation of the section of the epistle which began at Galatians 6:6, inferred from the preceding καιρῷ γὰρ ἰδίῳ θερίσομεν μὴ ἐκλ. (ἄρα οὖν). The specialty of this exhortation lies in ὡς καιρὸν ἔχομεν, which is therefore emphatically prefixed: as we have a season suitable thereto (for instances of καιρὸν ἔχειν, opportunum tempus habere, see Wetstein). This seasonable time will have elapsed, when the παρουσία sets in; we must therefore utilize it as ours by the ἐργάζεσθαι τὸ ἀγαθόν. The same idea as the ἐξαγοράζεσθαι τ. καιρόν in Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5. Hofmann introduces the idea, that there will come for the Christians, even before the παρουσία, an “hour of temptation,” in which they can only (?) withstand evil, but not bestow good one on another. This idea is in opposition to the context in Galatians 6:9, and is nowhere else expressed; and its introduction rests on the incorrect explanation of ἐργάζ. τὸ ἀγαθόν as referring to beneficence, and on the wrong idea that the doing good will become impossible.

ὡς is the usual as, that is, as corresponds with and is suitable to this circumstance, that we καιρὸν ἔχομεν. Comp. Luke 12:58; John 12:35; Clement, 2 Corinthians 9 : ὡς ἔχομεν καιρὸν τοῦ ἰαθῆναι, ἐπιδῶμεν ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θεραπεύοντι Θεῷ. Others, likewise retaining the signification “as,” interpret: prout habemus opportunitatem, that is, when and how we have opportunity. Thus Knatchbull, Homberg, Wolf, Zachariae, Hilgenfeld. For this, indeed, no conditional ἄν would be necessary; but how weak and lax would be the injunction! Besides, καιρόν has obtained, by means of Galatians 6:9, its quite definite reference. Others take ὡς as causal (Heindorf, ad Gorg. p. 113; Matthiae, p. 1511). So Koppe, Paulus, Usteri (because we have time and opportunity), de Wette; also Winer, who, however, does not decide between quoniam and prout. But ὡς, in the sense of because, is nowhere to be found in Paul’s writings (not even in 2 Timothy 1:3). Most expositors explain it as so long as (so Flatt, Rückert, Matthies, Schott, Olshausen), which, however, it never means, not even in Luke 12:58.

τὸ ἀγαθόν] the morally good, not the useful (Olshausen). Not merely the article, but also the use of the expression by Paul, in definite connection with ἐργάζεσθαι, as applying to morality active in works (Romans 2:10; Ephesians 4:28), ought to have prevented the interpretation of τὸ ἀγαθόν, at variance with the context, as benefits (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Estius, and many others, including Schott, de Wette, and Wieseler). Hofmann’s interpretation (“do good towards others”), in more general terms evading the definite idea, amounts to the same thing. The ἀγαθόν in this passage is the same as τὸ καλόν in Galatians 6:9. That which is good is also that which is morally beautiful. Comp. especially Romans 7:18 f.

πρός] in relation to, in intercourse with. see Winer, p. 378 f. [E. T. 505]; Sturz, Lex. Xen. III. p. 698; Bernhardy, p. 265.

τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως] the associates in the faith, believers. οἰκεῖος, primarily inmate of the house, comes to be used generally in the sense of special appertaining to (comp. LXX. Isaiah 58:7), without further reference to the idea of a house. So with the genitive of an abstract noun, as οἰκεῖοι φιλοσοφίας (Strabo, I. p. 13 B), γεωγραφίας (Strabo, I. p. 25 A.), ὀλιγαρχίας (Diod. Sic. xiii. 91), and the like in Wetstein, p. 236; Schweigh. Lex Polyb. p. 401. Comp. τὰ τῆς ἀρετῆς οἰκεῖα, 2Ma 15:12; τὰ τῆς φύσεως οἰκεῖα, Dem. 1117. 25. The πίστις is the Christian faith; those who belong to it are the πιστεύοντες. The opposite would be: τοὺς ἀλλοτρίους τῆς πιστ. The idea that the church is the οἶκος Θεοῦ (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:2; Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 4:17) is improperly introduced here, in order to obtain the sense: “qui per fidem sunt in eadem atque nos familia Domini” (Beza; comp. Estius, Michaelis, and others, also Schott and Olshausen, Wieseler, and Ewald, who limits the idea to the same church). For τῆς πίστεως conveys the complete definition of τοὺς οἰκείους; and the sense mentioned above must have been expressed by some such form as τοὺς ἡμῶν οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως (comp. Php 2:30, et al.; Winer, p. 180, rem. 3 [E. T. 239]). Paul might also simply have written πρὸς τοῦς πιστεύοντας; but the expression οἰκείους τ. π. suggests a stronger motive. Among the πᾶσι, in relation to whom we have to put into operation the morally good, those who belong to the faith have the chief claims—because these claims are based on the special sacred duty of fellowship which it involves—in preference to those who are strangers to the faith, although in respect even to the latter that conduct is to be observed which is required in Colossians 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:12.

Note.

If the reading ἐργαζόμεθα (see the critical notes), which is followed by Ewald, were the original one, the indicative would not (with Winer in his Commentary, but not in his Gramm. p. 267 [E. T. 355]) have to be taken as a stronger and more definite expression instead of the hortative subjunctive (do we therefore the good), since this use of the present indicative (Jacobs, ad Ach. Tat. p. 559, ad Delect. epigr. p. 228; Heindorf, ad Gorg. p. 109; Bernhardy, p. 396) in non-interrogative language (John 11:47) is foreign to the N.T., although opportunities for it often presented themselves. The interpretation of the whole sentence as an interrogation has been rightly given up by Lachmann (also at Romans 14:19), because so complete an interruption by a question does not occur elsewhere in Paul’s writings, and the addition μάλιστα δέ πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως indicates that the passage is of the nature of an assertion, and not of a question. ἐργάζομεθα τὸ ἀγαθόν would rather represent the matter as actually taking place (we do it, we hold it so, it is our maxim), and would thus belong to the ideal delineation of Christian life common with the apostle; which might indeed be highly appropriate in its place at the conclusion of a discourse as a note of triumph, but here, in immediate connection with mere exhortations and injunctions, would be somewhat out of place.Galatians 6:10. καιρὸν. The last verse affirmed that there is a due season for the spiritual harvest as well as the earthly; the same analogy suggests the existence of a spiritual seedtime also, which we are bound to utilise.—τὸ ἀγαθὸν. This word varies widely in meaning, like good in English; it is applied both to the intrinsic goodness of God Himself (Matthew 19:17), and to the mere manifestation of a kindly temper towards others. So also its compounds ἀγαθοποιεῖν, ἀγαθουργεῖν. The clause πρὸς πάντας attaches to it here the latter force: so that the goodness spoken of is goodness to others.—τ. οἰκείους. Christians are here designated as the household of the faith, and in Ephesians 2:19 as the household of God.10. A noble practical conclusion from what precedes.

The time of reaping is ‘God’s own’—the season of sowing, ours. But that season is presented to us as ‘opportunity.’ If we ask how we are to recognise and so improve it, the answer is given by St Paul (2 Timothy 4:2) ‘In season, out of season’—not waiting for occasions, but making them.

As we have] This may be rendered with equal correctness, ‘while, so long as, we have.’ It is so rendered in the Offertory sentence in the Book of Common Prayer, ‘while we have time.’ But the A.V. gives a good sense—‘according as we have opportunity.’

unto all men] Though in the immediately preceding context St Paul has been enjoining liberality towards teachers, he feels that his premisses are wide enough to bear this conclusion. He here passes from inculcating charity towards all men to a special regard for members of the family of God. St Peter adopts the reverse order, when he exhorts Christians to add to ‘brotherly kindness, love.’ 2 Peter 1:7.

of the household of faith] As the Church is frequently designated the house or family of God (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 3:6), so in Ephesians 2:19 believers are spoken of as the members of the household of God. Here the form of the expression is varied. ‘The faith’ is rightly explained by Bp Lightfoot to be here nearly equivalent to ‘the Gospel.’ The bond of a common faith constitutes a new family tie. It united, and still unites men to one another, as children of the same Father, with a common home.Galatians 6:10. Ὡς) as, as far as, at whatsoever time, in whatever manner and place. Comp. Ecclesiastes 9:10, בכהך, LXX. ὡς ἡ δύναμίς σου, as thou art able, whilst thou art able.—καιρὸν) time, viz. that of the whole life, and in it the more convenient part of that time. So καιρὸν ἔχοντες, 1Ma 15:34.—ἔχομεν, we have) For we shall not always have it. Satan is sharpened to greater zeal in injuring us by the shortness of the time; Revelation 12:12. Let us be sharpened to zeal in well-doing.—τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως, the household of faith) Every man does good to his relatives; believers do good to their relations in the faith, especially to those, who are entirely devoted to the propagation of the faith, Galatians 6:6. So the apostle commends faith itself in this passage, which forms the end of the discussion.Verse 10. - As we have therefore opportunity (ἄρα οϋν ὡς καιρὸν ἔχιμεν); so then, while (or, as) we have a season for so doing. Ἄρα οϋν: this combination of particles is frequently found in St. Paul's writings, being so far as appears (cf. Winer, 'Gram. N.T.,' § 53, 8a) peculiar to him (1 Thessalonians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Romans 5:18; Romans 7:3, 25; Romans 8:12; Romans 9:16, 18; Romans 14:12, 19; Ephesians 2:19). In every instance it marks a certain pause after a statement of premisses; in several, following a citation from the Old Testament; the writer, after waiting, so to speak, for the reader duly to Lake into his mind what has been already said, proceeds to draw his inference. The ἄρα seems to point backward to the premisses; the οϋν to introduce the inference. "Well, then," or "so, then," appears a fairly equivalent rendering. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and Romans 14:19 ἄρα οϋν introduces a cohortative verb, as here; in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, an imperative. The words Which follow seem to be commonly understood as meaning "whenever opportunity offers." But this fails short of recognizing the solemn consideration of the proprieties of the present sowing-time, which the previous context prepares us to expect to find here; the term "season," as Meyer remarks, having its proper reference already fixed by the antithetical season of reaping referred to in ver. 9. Moreover, instead of for, would not the apostle, if he had meant "whenever," have used the intensified form καθώς? Chrysostom gives the sense well thus: "As it is not always in our power to sow, so neither is it to show mercy; when we have been borne hence, though we may desire it a thousand times, we shall be able to effect nothing." Indeed it is questionable whether the sense now pleaded for is not that which was intended by the rendering in the Authorized Version. The particle ώς probably means "while," as it does in Luke 12:58 and in John 12:35, 36, where it should replace the ἕως of the Textus Receptus; but this needs not to be insisted upon. Anyway, we are reminded of the uncertain tenure by which we hold the season for doing that which, if done, will have so blessed a consequence. Let us do good unto all men (ἐργαζώμεθα τὸ ἀγαθὸν πρὸς πάντας); let us be workers of that which is good towards all men. The verbs ἐργάζομαι and ποιῶ appear used inter-changeably in Colossians 3:23 and 3 John 1:5; but the former seems to suggest, more vividly than the other, either the concrete action, the ἔργον, which is wrought; or else the part enacted by the agent as being a worker of such or such a description - as if, here, it were "let us be benefactors." The adjective "good" (ἀγαθός) is often, perhaps most commonly, used to designate what is morally excellent in general; thus, e.g., in Romans 2:10, "the worker of that which is go,d" is contrasted with "the worker-out of that which is evil," as a description of a man's moral character in general. But on the other hand, this adjective frequently takes the sense of "benevolent," "beneficent;" as e.g. in Matthew 20:15, "Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" 1 Peter 2:18, "masters, not only the good and gentle, but also the froward;" Titus 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 6:18; Romans 12:21. In the remarkable contrast between the righteous man and the good man in Romans 5:7 (see Dr. Gifford's note on the passage, 'Speaker's Commentary,' p. 123), the latter term appears distinctly intended in the conception of virtuousness to make especially prominent the idea of beneficence. Naturally, this sense attaches to it, when it describes an action done to another, as the opposite to the "working ill to one's neighbour," mentioned in Romans 13:10; "good" in such a relation, denoting what is beneficent in effect, denotes what is also benevolent in intention (see 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Indeed, that the present clause points to works of beneficence" is made certain by that which is added, "and especially," etc.; for our behaviour should be in no greater degree marked by general moral excellence in dealing with one class of men than in dealing with any others; though one particular branch of virtuous action may be called into varying degrees of activity in different relations of human intercourse. "Towards all men;" πρός, towards, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 6:9. The spirit of universal philanthropy which the apostle inculcates here as in other passages, as e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:15, is one which flows naturally from the proper influence upon the mind of the great facts stated in 1 Timothy 2:3-7, as also it was a spirit which in a most eminent degree animated the apostle's own life. Witness that noble outburst of universal benevolence which we read of in Acts 26:29. Such an escape from bigotry and particularism was quite novel to the Gentile world, and scarcely heard of in the Jewish, though beautifully pointed forward to in the teaching of the Book of Jonah (see Introduction to the Book of Jonah, in 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 6. p. 576). Espescially unto them who are of the household of faith (μάλιστα δὲ πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως); but especially towards them that are of the household of faith. The adjective οἰκεῖος occurs in the New Testament only in St. Paul's Epistles - twice besides here, namely, in Ephesians 2:19, "fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household (οἰκεῖοι)of God;" and in 1 Timothy 5:8, "if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household (οἰκείων)." In the last-cited passage, the adjective, denoting as it plainly is meant to do, a closer relation than "his own (ἰδίων)" must mean members of his household or family; and we can hardly err in supposing that in Ephesians 2:19 likewise the phrase, οἰκεῖοι τοῦ Θεοῦ denotes those whom God has admitted into his family as children. So the word also signifies in the Septuagint of Isaiah 3:5; Isaiah 58:7; and Revelation 18:6, 12, 13. It is, therefore, an unnecessary dilution of its force here to render it, "those who belong to the faith," though such a rendering of it might be justified if found in an ordinary Greek author. The meaning of τῆς πίστεως is illustrated by the strong personification used before by the apostle in Galatians 3:23, 25, "before faith came;" "shut up for the faith which was yet to be revealed;" "now that faith is come." The apostle surely here is not thinking of "the Christian doctrine," but of that principle of believing acceptance of God's promises which he has been insisting upon all through the Epistle. This principle, again personified, is here the patron or guardian of God's people afore-time under a pedagogue: "of the household of faith," not "of the faith." The apostle is thinking of those who sympathized with the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ without legal observances; and very possibly is glancing in particular at the teachers under whose care the apostle had left the Galatian Churches. At first, we may believe, the Galatian Churchmen, in the fervour of their affection to the apostle himself, had been willing enough to help those teachers in every way. But when relaxing their hold upon the fundamental principles of the gospel, they had also declined in their affectionate maintenance of the teachers who upheld those doctrines. He now commends these, belonging to faith's own household, to their especial regard (comp. Philippians 3:17). "Especially;" this qualification in an intensified form of the precept of universal beneficence, is the outcome of no cold calculation of relative duties, but of fervent love towards those who are truly brethren in Christ. That to these an especial affection is due above all others is a sentiment commended and inculcated in almost all St. Paul's Epistles; as it is also by St. Peter, as e.g. in 1 Peter 1:22, etc.; and again by St. John. With all, "love of brethren (φιλαδελφία)" is a different sentiment from that sentiment of charity which is due to all fellow-men; that is, it is an intensified form of this latter, exalted into a peculiar tenderness of regard by the admixture of higher relations than those which antecedently connect true Christians with all members of the human family. Christ has himself (Matthew 25:31-46) taught his disciples that he deems a peculiar regard to be due from them to those "his brethren" who at that day shall be on his right hand; meaning, evidently, by "these my brethren," not suffering men, women, or children as such, but sufferers peculiarly belonging to himself (comp. Matthew 10:42; Matthew 18:5, 6). Thus we see that, after all, there is a particularism properly characteristic of Christian sentiment; only, not such a particularism as a Gentile, and too often a Jew likewise, would have formulated thus: "Thou shalt love thine own people and hate the alien;" but one which may be formulated thus: "Thou shalt love every man, but especially thy fellow-believer in Christ." The reader will, perhaps, scarcely need to be reminded of Keble's exquisite piece on the Second Sunday after Trinity in the 'Christian Year.' As we have opportunity (ὡς καιρὸν ἔχωμεν)

As there is a proper season for reaping, there is likewise a proper season for sowing. As this season comes to us, let us sow to the Spirit by doing good. Comp. Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5.

Let us do good (ἐργαζώμεθα τὸ ἀγαθὸν)

Let us work the good. For the distinctive force of ἐργάζεσθαι see on 3 John 1:5; and for ποιεῖν to do, see on John 3:21. Comp. Colossians 3:23 where both verbs occur. Τὸ ἀγαθὸν is, of course, the morally good as distinguished from what is merely useful or profitable, but includes what is beneficent or kindly. See Plm 1:14; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; Romans 5:7. Here, in a general sense, embracing all that is specified in Galatians 6:1, Galatians 6:2, Galatians 6:3,Galatians 6:10.

Unto them who are of the household of faith (πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως)

Πρὸς combines with the sense of direction that of active relation with. Comp. Matthew 13:56; Mark 9:16; John 1:1; Acts 3:25; Acts 28:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; Hebrews 9:20. Frequently in Class. of all kinds of personal intercourse. See Hom. Od. xiv. 331; xix. 288; Thucyd. ii. 59; iv. 15; vii. 82; Hdt. i. 61. Ὁικεῖοι of the household, rare in N.T. See Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 5:8. Quite often in lxx of kinsmen. It is unnecessary to introduce the idea of a household here, as A.V., since the word acquired the general sense of pertaining or belonging to. Thus οἰκεῖοι φιλοσοφίας or γεωγραφίας belonging to philosophy or geography, philosophers, geographers. So here, belonging to the faith, believers.

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