Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?…
I. CONSIDER THE GOSPEL AS IT IS A REPORT. View it —
1. In the nature of a report in general.
(1) There is the subject of a report, or the thing that is reported, some design, action, or event, true or false. The subject of the Gospel-report is, a love-design in God for the salvation of sinners of mankind (2 Timothy 1:9, 10). It is the report of an act of grace and kindness in God, in favours of them, whereby He has given them His Son for a Saviour (John 3:16; Isaiah 9:6), and eternal life in Him (1 John 5:11). The report of the event of Christ's dying for sinners.
(2) There is the place whence the report originally comes. And the place here is heaven. Hence the Gospel is called "heavenly things" (John 3:12), revealed from the bosom of the Father.
(3) The matter of a report is something unseen to them to whom the report is made. And so is the matter of the Gospel-report. It is an unseen God (John 1:18); an unseen Saviour (1 Peter 1:8); and unseen things (2 Corinthians 4:18), that are preached unto you by the Gospel. So the Gospel is an object of faith, not of sight (Hebrews 11:1). We receive it by hearing, not by seeing (Isaiah 55:3).
(4) There is a reporter or reporters. And in this case the report is made by many. The first-hand reporter is an eye-witness, Jesus Christ. Christ Himself was the raiser of the report of the Gospel (Hebrews 2:3). And who else could have been so? (John 1:18). What He reported He saw, and gives us His testimony of the truth of it on His eyesight (John 3:11). Hence He is proposed to us as "the faithful and true Witness" (Revelation 3:14), who was from eternity privy to the whole design revealed to us in the Gospel. The prophets and apostles, and ministers of the Gospel. They are the second-hand reporters.
(5) There is a manifestation of the thing by the report, to the parties to whom the report is made. So is the grace of God to poor sinners manifested to them by the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:9, 10).
2. In the nature of a report to be trusted to, for some valuable end. And so it is —
(1) A true and faithful report, that one may safely trust (1 Timothy 1:15).
(2) An infallible report. A report may be true where there is no infallibility: but the report of the Gospel is an infallible truth (Acts 1:3), for it is "the Word of God that cannot lie" (1 Thessalonians 2:13). And the Spirit of the Lord demonstrates it to believers, as Divine truth (1 Corinthians 2:4).
(3) A good and comfortable report.
(4) A weighty report, even of the greatest weight, as concerning man's greatest possible interest (Isaiah 61:6).
II. CONSIDER FAITH AS IT IS A TRUSTING TO THIS REPORT. Faith is —
1. A trusting of the Gospel-report as true.
(1) In the general, with respect to the multitude whom it concerns. "It is a faithful saying, Christ came to save sinners."(2) In particular, with respect to oneself. Faith believes that there is a fulness in Christ for poor sinners, and for oneself in particular. Hence it appears — That there is an assurance in the nature of faith, whereby the believing person is sure of the truth of the doctrine of the Gospel, and that with respect to himself particularly (1 Thessalonians 1:5). That there is a necessity of an inward illumination by the Spirit, in order to the faith of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
2. A trusting to the Gospel-report as good. It implies —
(1) Not only a willingness, but a sincere desire to be delivered from sin, as well as from wrath.
(2) A renouncing of all other confidence for his salvation.
(3) A hearty approbation of the way of salvation manifested in the report of the Gospel (Matthew 11:6).
(4) A betaking one's self entirely to that way of salvation, by trusting to it wholly for our own salvation.
(5) A confidence or trust, that He will save us from sin and wrath, according to His promise (Acts 15:11).
III. CONSIDER THE REPORT OF THE GOSPEL, AND THE TRUSTING TO IT, CONJUNCTLY. The Gospel is a report from heaven —
1. Of salvation for poor sinners, from sin (Matthew 1:21), and from the wrath of God (John 3:16), freely made over to you in the Word of promise. Faith trusts it as a true report, believing that God has said it; and trusts to it as good, laying our own salvation upon it.
2. Of a crucified Christ made over to sinners, as the device of Heaven for their salvation. The soul concludes, the Saviour is mine; and leans on Him for all the purchase of His death, for life and salvation to itself in particular (1 Corinthians 2:2).
3. Of a righteousness wherein we guilty ones may stand before a holy God (Romans 1:17). And by faith one believes there is such a righteousness, that it is sufficient to cover him, and that it is held out to him to be trusted on for righteousness; and so the believer trusts it as his righteousness in the sight of God, disclaiming all other, and betaking himself to it alone (Galatians 2:16).
4. Of a pardon under the great seal of Heaven, in Christ, to all who will take it in Him (Acts 13:38, 39). The soul by faith believes this to be true, and applies it to itself, saying, This pardon is for me.
5. Of a Physician that cures infallibly all the diseases of the soul. The soul believes it, and applies it to its own case.
6. Of a feast for hungry souls, to which all are bid welcome, Christ Himself being the Maker and matter of it too. The soul weary of the husks of created things, and believing this report, accordingly falls a-feeding on Christ.
7. Of a victory won by Jesus Christ over sin, Satan, and death, and the world. The soul trusts to it for its victory over all these, as already foiled enemies (1 John 5:4).
8. Of a peace purchased by the blood of Christ for poor sinners, and offered to them. Faith believes it; and the soul comes before God as a reconciled Father in Christ, brings in its supplications for supply before the throne.
(T. Boston, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?