Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. From hence let us observe the CHIEFEST CAUSE OF GOD'S FAVOUR TO US, NAMELY, HIS OWN FREE WILL AND GRACIOUS DISPOSITION TO FAVOUR US. The use of this doctrine is to humble us in ourselves, as having not the least spark of goodness in ourselves, and to make us ascribe all glory in everything to God, whose grace is the fountain and foundation of all good things whatsoever.
II. In the example of Paul, in all his salutations wishing first of all grace, that is, the favour of God, we learn WHAT IT IS THAT WE SHOULD CHIEFLY DESIRE, EITHER FOR OURSELVES OR FOR OTHERS, our children, wives, kindred, fathers and mothers, acquaintance, etc., viz., the grace of St. Paul.
1. God's favour is the ground of all other mercies whatsoever; it is the main and mother blessing, the very seed of all other mercies whatsoever — so that in desiring it, we desire all other, and getting it, we get other.
2. God's grace is instead of all other blessings, in case they be wanting.
III. Since whatsoever we desire, we are likewise TO SEEK IT, IS THE USE OF THE MEANS. Paul in his example commending unto us the desire of God's favour withal further showeth us that we must use means for the attainment of it.
1. Taking thorough notice of that disgrace and displeasure thou art in with God, and that most deservedly for thy sins, thou must first of all come as Benhadad's servants came to Ahab, even with a halter about thy neck, creeping and crouching before the throne of grace, abasing and abjecting thyself at His footstool, in the humble and penitent confession of thy sins.
2. Thou must shroud thyself under Christ's wings. Clothe thyself with His righteousness, that so thou mayest appear lovely in the eyes of the Lord, for in Christ only is the Father well pleased; and so if thou wouldst have Him well pleased with thee, thou must become a member of Him, bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. This thou doest when by faith thou takest hold upon Christ's righteousness, and gripest the promises of the gospel.
3. By faith having clad thyself with the robes of Christ's imputed righteousness, thou must be clothed upon with the garment of thy own righteousness and obedience, which howsoever being in itself a menstruous cloth as it comes from us yet being of the Spirit's own weaving, in that regard is acceptable to God, and causeth Him to take a further delight in us. (Proverbs 3:3.)
(D. Dyke, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.