Luke 6:32
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) For if ye love them which love you.—See Note on Matthew 5:46, and note St. Luke’s use, as writing for Gentiles, of the wider term “sinners,” instead of the more specific “publicans,” which pointed the maxim, perhaps, for those who originally heard it, and certainly for St. Matthew’s Jewish readers. There is also a slight variation in the form of the closing questions—St. Luke’s “what thank have ye” pointing to the expectation of gratitude in return for good offices, St. Matthew’s “what reward” to a more concrete and solid payment.

Luke 6:32-36. If ye love them which love you, what thank have ye — What great thanks are due to you on that account? For there are some sentiments of gratitude common even to the worst of men, which incline the most scandalous sinners to love those that love them, and to profess an affectionate regard for those by whom they have been treated with respect and kindness. Here, says Theophylact, “If you only love them that love you, you are only like the sinners and heathen; but if you love those who do evil to you, you are like to God; which therefore will you choose? to be like sinners or like God?” Here we see that our Lord has so little regard for one of the highest instances of natural virtue, namely, the returning love for love, that he does not account it even to deserve thanks. For even sinners, saith he, do the same — Men who do not regard God at all. Therefore he may do this who has not taken one step in Christianity. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive — And that, perhaps, with considerable advantage to yourselves; what thank have ye? — What favour do you show in that? or, what extraordinary thanks are due to you on that account? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive, τα ισα, equal favours, in return. But love ye your enemies — Ye who profess to be my disciples. See on Matthew 5:43-45. Do good and lend, hoping for nothing again — Do good to those from whom you have no expectation of receiving any favour in return; and lend, in cases of great distress, even when you have little reason to expect what is lent to be repaid. Because the Greek expression, μηδεν απελπιζοντες, has, in no Greek author, the sense here, and in most translations, given to it, namely, hoping for nothing again; many commentators have declared in favour of the signification affixed to it by the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions; neminem desperare facientes, causing no man to despair: the copies from which these translations were made reading μηδεν’, with an apostrophe, for μηδενα. But, as Dr. Whitby observes, “this is putting a double force upon the words; 1st, reading, without the authority of any MS., μηδενα, no man, for μηδεν, nothing; and, 2d, interpreting απελπιζειν, to cause to despair; of which sense they give no instance.” The context seems evidently to justify our translation of the clause; for the preceding words are, If ye lend to them, παρων ελπιζετε απολαβειν, from whom ye hope to receive again, namely, what you lend, or a similar favour, what thank have ye, for sinners also lend to sinners to receive as much again. It then naturally follows, But do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again — That is, lend not you on so mean an account, but even when you do not hope to have that returned which you lend, or to receive at some future time a like favour from the person you lend to. And whereas we are told that the word απελπιζω bears no such sense, “I hope,” says the doctor, “the credit of Stephanus, who says the word is rightly rendered by the Vulgate, nihil inde sperantes, hoping for nothing thence; and of Casaubon, who says απελπιζειν is to hope for something from a person or matter; may be sufficient to support the credit of our translation; especially when we read, in the Life of Solon, that he made no law against parricides, δια το απελπισαι, because he did not expect that such a crime would be committed; and find this like composition of the word

απεχειν, when it signifies απο τινος εχειν, to receive from any one; and in the word απεσθιειν, which is used for απο τινος εσθιειν, to eat of any thing.” It must be acknowledged, however, that the more common and classical meaning of the term is, despero, to despair; and accordingly Dr. Campbell, with many others, renders the clause, not at all, or nowise despairing: observing, among several other arguments in support of this translation, “That what commonly proves the greatest hinderance to our lending, particularly to needy persons, is the dread that we shall never be repaid. It is, I imagine, to prevent the influence of such an over-cautious mistrust, that our Lord here warns us not to shut our hearts against the request of a brother in difficulties. Lend cheerfully, as though he had said, without fearing the loss of what shall be thus bestowed. It often happens that, even contrary to appearances, the loan is thankfully returned by the borrower; but if it should not, remember (and let this silence all your doubts) that God charges himself with what you give from love to him, and love to your neighbour: he is the poor man’s surety.” It may not be improper to add, that several Latin MSS., agreeably to this interpretation, read nihil desperantes, “nothing despairing.” Our Lord enforces the exhortation by adding, and your reward shall be great, probably even in this world, in the temporal prosperity with which God, in the course of his providence, will bless you: for to him that hath, uses aright what he hath, shall be given, and he shall have more abundance, Matthew 13:12. But if you are not recompensed in this world you certainly shall be in the world to come: for God is not unfaithful to forget our work and labour of love, which we show to his name. And ye shall be the children of the Highest — His genuine children, resembling him, bearing the image of his goodness; for he is kind unto the unthankful and the evil — Causing the undeserved benefits of the sun and rain to descend upon them, and conferring on them of his free unmerited bounty other innumerable benefits daily. Be ye therefore merciful — Compassionate, kind, beneficent, to the unworthy; as your Father also is merciful — Continually setting you an example of gratuitous goodness; as all his works, whether of creation, providence, or grace, amply declare. See notes on Matthew 5:44-48.

6:27-36 These are hard lessons to flesh and blood. But if we are thoroughly grounded in the faith of Christ's love, this will make his commands easy to us. Every one that comes to him for washing in his blood, and knows the greatness of the mercy and the love there is in him, can say, in truth and sincerity, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Let us then aim to be merciful, even according to the mercy of our heavenly Father to us.See Matthew 5:46-48.27-36. (See on [1585]Mt 5:44-48; [1586]Mt 7:12; and [1587]Mt 14:12-14.)Ver. 32-34. See Poole on "Matthew 5:46". See Poole on "Matthew 5:47". The strength of our Saviour’s argument lieth in this, That God expects that those who have received more grace and favour from God than others, and who make a higher profession than others, should do more in obedience to the positive commands of God, and the revelations of his will in his word, than they who live merely by the light of nature, and live up merely to the law of nature.

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?.... Or, "what grace have ye?" this is no fruit, nor evidence of grace, nor any exercise of the true grace of love; nor is it any favour conferred upon the object loved, which deserves the respect shown, nor can any reward be expected for such treatment: and thus it is expressed in Matthew, "what reward have ye?" and the Arabic version renders it so here:

for sinners also love those who love them: men that are destitute of the grace of God, profligate sinners, even the worst of them, such as publicans, do this; See Gill on Matthew 5:46.

For if ye love them which love you, {g} what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

(g) What is there in this your work that is to be accounted of? For if you look to have reward by loving, seek those rewards which are indeed rewards: love your enemies, and so will you show to the world that you look for those rewards which come from God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 6:32-34. Comp. Matthew 5:46 f.

καί] simply continuing: And, in order still more closely to lay to heart this general love—if ye, etc.

ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστί;] what thanks have you? i.e. what kind of a recompense is there for you? The divine recompense is meant (Luke 6:35), which is represented as a return of beneficence under the idea of thanks (“ob benevolum dantis affectum,” Grotius); Matthew, μισθός.

οἱ ἁμαρτωλοί] Matthew, οἱ τελῶναι and οἱ ἐθνικοί. But Luke is speaking not from the national, but from the ethical point of view: the sinners (not to be interpreted: the heathen, the definite mention of whom the Pauline Luke would not have avoided). As my faithful followers, ye are to stand on a higher platform of morality than do such unconverted ones.

τὰ ἴσα] (to be accented thus, see on Mark 14:56) the return equivalent to the loan. Tischendorf has in Luke 6:34 the forms of δανίζειν (Anth. XI. 390).

Luke 6:32. χάρις, here and in the following verses stands for Mt.’s μισθὸς, as if to avoid a word of legal sound and substitute an evangelical term instead. Yet Lk. retains μισθὸς in Luke 6:23.—χάρις probably means not “thanks” from men but favour from God. It is a Pauline word, and apparently as such in favour with Lk. Vide on Luke 4:22.—ἁμαρτωλοὶ here and in Luke 6:33-34 for τελῶναι and ἐθνικοὶ in Mt., a natural alteration, but much weakening the point; manifestly secondary.

32. for sinners also love those that love them] Where St Matthew (Matthew 5:46-47), writing for Jews, uses the term “tax-gatherers” or ‘Gentile persons’ (ethnikoi), St Luke naturally substitutes the nearest equivalents of those words in this connexion, because he is writing for Gentiles. Our Lord meant that our standard must rise above the ordinary dead level of law, habit, custom, which prevail in the world.

Luke 6:32. Χάρις, thanks) So thrice the idea is expressed; see Luke 6:33-34. What thanks are due to you, as though you had done some service of extraordinary merit, worthy of a special reward?

Verses 32, 33. - For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. There are three manners of return, as Augustine - quoted by Archbishop Trench in his 'Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount' - observes, which men may make one to another: the returning good for good and evil for evil, - this is the ordinary rule of man; then beneath this there is the returning of evil for good, which is devilish; while above it there is the returning of good for evil, which is Divine, - and this is what is commanded for the followers of Jesus here. On the words, "sinners also love those that love them," Augustine's words are singularly terse and quaint: "Amas amantes te filios et parentes. Amat et latro, amat et draco, amant et lupi, amant et ursi" (quoted by Archbishop Trench, 'Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount,' p. 234, note). Luke 6:32What thank (ποία)?

What kind of thanks? Not what is your reward, but what is its quality ? On thanks (χάρις), see on Luke 1:30.

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