Matthew 18:14
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Even so it is not the will . . .—The form of the proposition has all the force that belongs to the rhetorical use of the negative. “It is not the will” suggests the thought that the will of the Father is the very opposite of that, and so the words are identical in their teaching with those of St. Paul, “He will have all men to be saved” (1Timothy 2:4). The continued presence of the child is again emphasised in “one of these little ones.”

18:7-14 Considering the cunning and malice of Satan, and the weakness and depravity of men's hearts, it is not possible but that there should be offences. God permits them for wise and holy ends, that those who are sincere, and those who are not, may be made known. Being told before, that there will be seducers, tempters, persecutors, and bad examples, let us stand on our guard. We must, as far as lawfully we may, part with what we cannot keep without being entangled by it in sin. The outward occasions of sin must be avoided. If we live after the flesh, we must die. If we, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. Christ came into the world to save souls, and he will reckon severely with those who hinder the progress of others who are setting their faces heavenward. And shall any of us refuse attention to those whom the Son of God came to seek and to save? A father takes care of all his children, but is particularly tender of the little ones.To show still further the reason why we should not despise Christians, he introduced a parable showing the joy felt when a thing lost is found. A shepherd rejoices over the recovery of one of his flock that had wandered more than over all that remained; so God rejoices that man is restored: so he seeks his salvation, and wills that not one thus found should perish. If God thus loves and preserves the redeemed, then surely man should not despise them. See this passage further explained in Luke 15:4-10. 14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish—How, then, can He but visit for those "offenses" which endanger the souls of these little ones?Ver. 12-14. We shall meet with the parable or similitude more fully, Luke 15:4. To what purpose it is brought here our Lord hath told us, Matthew 18:14, to show us, that it is not the will of our heavenly Father that the least and meanest believer should perish. And every scandal, or offence, (as I before showed), hath a tendency to destroy that soul before whom it is laid, or to which it is given. Take heed, saith our Saviour, of giving scandals and offences to others, yea, though you should have observed them in something slipping and going astray. Will you be more uncharitable to men than you are to the beasts which you keep? You do not thus with a sheep; though it be gone astray you do not despise and neglect it, much less take courses to drive it further. No, you rather leave the rest, as being safe, and go, though it be into the mountains, to recover the sheep that is lost; and if you find it, have a greater passion of joy for that one sheep so recovered than for all the other. If you see some error in any of my sheep, if they do wander, should it not be your care rather to restore such in the spirit of meekness, as Galatians 6:1, than to lay further stumbling blocks before them, and give them occasion of further stumbling and falling? My Father hath done so for lost man: my coming to seek and to save that which is lost, is an evidence to you that it is not his will that one of my little ones should be lost. Even so it is not the will of your father which is in heaven,.... This is the accommodation, or application of the parable of the lost sheep to the present purpose, and is the top of the climax or gradation here made use of. First, Christ observes, in order to deter any from despising and offending any of his disciples, even the meanest, that they have angels to be their guardians, who are continually in the presence of God; and next, that he himself in human nature came to be the author of salvation to these persons; and then rises up to the sovereign will of his Father, and their's, the source and security of their everlasting happiness; which will is, not

that one of these little ones, that believe in Christ,

should perish. It is his will of command that no stumbling block should be laid in their way to cause them to stumble and fall, to the grieving of their souls, the wounding of their consciences, and the perishing, or loss of their peace and comfort; and it is his unalterable will of purpose, or his unchangeable decree, that not one of them, even the meanest, shall perish eternally: in pursuance of which will, he has chosen them in his Son, he has put them into his hands, and secured them in his covenant; and having redeemed them by Christ, and called them by grace, he keeps them by his power, through faith unto salvation. Nor shall anyone of them finally and totally fall away and perish, through the power of their own corruptions, the temptations of Satan, the reproaches and persecutions of men, the frowns or flatteries of the world, or through the errors and heresies of false teachers, or any other way. It is to be observed, that when our Lord, in Matthew 18:10, is speaking of the happiness of the angels, and the honour done to the little ones by having such guardians; then the more to aggrandize this matter, he represents those as in the presence of his "Father which is in heaven"; but here, when he would express the wonderful love and grace of God, in the resolutions of his heart, and purposes of his will, to save them, then it is "your Father which is in heaven"; and this, the rather to engage them to the belief of it, since they stood in such a near relation to him, as children to a father: and therefore must be infinitely more concerned for their welfare, than a proprietor of sheep can be, for one that is lost. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions indeed read, "my father", but without any authority; for the phraseology, "the will before your Father", as in the original text; see Gill on Matthew 11:26

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 18:14. Accordingly, as it is not the will of that man that one of his sheep should be lost, so it is not the will of God that one of those μικροί should be lost (should fall into eternal perdition). The point of the comparison therefore lies in the unwillingness to let perish; in the parable this is represented by the case of a strayed sheep, for the purpose of teaching the disciples that if a μικρός happens to err from the faith and the Christian life, they should not abandon him, but try to induce him to amend.

What is said in regard to the μικροί is therefore put in the form of a climax: (1) Do not despise them, inasmuch as you would cause them to go astray, and be the occasion of their ruin (Matthew 18:6-10); (2) On the contrary, if one does go wrong, rescue him, just as the shepherd rescues his wandering sheep, in order that it may not be lost (Matthew 18:12-14).

ἔμπροσθεν] coram (Matthew 11:26; Luke 15:10). There is not before God (before the face of God) any determination having as its object that, etc.; consequently, no predestination to condemnation in the divine will. On the idea involved in θέλημα, comp. note on Matthew 1:19. For the telic sense of ἵνα, comp. Matthew 7:12; Mark 6:25; Mark 10:35, al., and the ἐθέλειν ὄφρα of Homer; Nägelsbach’s note on Iliad, i. 133.

ἕν] See critical notes. The idea of the sheep still lingers in the mind.Matthew 18:14, pplication of the parable less emphatic than in Lk.—θέλημα, a will, for an object of will.—ἔμπροσθεν τ. π. μ.: before the face of = for, etc.Matthew 18:14. Οὐκ ἔστι θέλημα, it is not a wish)[818] or anything to be desired (cf. Ezekiel 18:23). The article is not added in the present passage; cf. θεληματα, wishes, in Acts 13:22.[819] We ought to subserve the Divine will in caring for the salvation of all.—ἔμπροσθεν,[820] in the presence of)[821] The Divine intellect is intimated as discerning what things please His will.[822]—ἵνα, κ.τ.λ., that, etc.) i.e. He wishes most earnestly that all should be saved.—εἷς, one) The disciples had asked in the comparative;[823] our Lord answers specially in the positive degree.

[818] E. V. “It is not the will.” Middleton renders it, “There is no wish.”—(I. B.)

[819] Rendered in E. V. by, “Which shall fulfil all My will.”—(I. B.)

[820] In his own German Version Bengel renders the passage thus:—“Also ist es kein Wille VOR eurem Vater, dass,” etc.—(I. B.)

[821] E. V. renders the passage, “It is not the will of your Father,” etc. Bengel would render it literally, “It is not a wish in the presence of your Father,” etc., and explain it as representing the Divine Intellect as surveying all possible contingencies (rendered by the Divine power visible to the Divine perception), and distinguishing between those which are, and those which are not, agreeable to His Will.—(I. B.)

[822] Bengel has used the word Voluntas four times in this paragraph, and that in two different senses. In the first instance, I have rendered the singular by Wish; in the second, the plural by Wishes; in the third and fourth, the singular by Will.—(I. B.)

[823] i.e. The disciples had asked, “Which is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?”—their question therefore referred to the comparative degrees of glory. Our Lord’s reply directs their attention to the simple notion, the positive degree of salvation; the universal requisites on man’s part to attain—the universal desire on God’s part to bestow it.—(I. B.)Verse 14. - Even so. The teaching of the parable is summed up; the conduct of the earthly shepherd is a figure of that of the heavenly Shepherd. The will of your Father... perish. To scandalize one of these little ones, or lead him into sin (which is to cause to perish), is to fight against God's will, who would have all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). "When the dignity of the little ones was asserted, it was Πατρός μου, 'my Father;' now that a motive directly acting on the conscience of the Christian is urged, it is Πατρὸς ὑμῶν, your Father" (Alford). St. Paul teaches that Christ died for the weak brethren (Romans 14:15; 1 Corinthians 8:11). With this text (ver. 14) before him, it is inconceivable that any one can hold the doctrine of the eternal reprobation of certain souls. The whole passage is opposed to the theory of irrespective predestination and irresistible grace. The will of your Father (θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν)

Though some read my Father (μοῦ). Lit., There is not a will before your (my) Father. So Wyc., It is not will before your Father. Meyer paraphrases, There is not before the face of God any determination having as its object that one of these, etc.

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