And now, brothers, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up…
I. Here is an ENDEARING APPELLATION which he gives them, "Brethren." His gifts were, no doubt, far greater than theirs; and so was his office, being an extraordinary minister, an apostle of the Gentiles; and his usefulness abundantly exceeded theirs. Yet he does not treat them with a haughty and assuming air, but puts himself upon a level with them, and calls them brethren. Thus imitating his Lord and master; who, being of the same nature with us, is not ashamed to call us brethren, though He Himself is Lord of all.
II. Here is AN INSTANCE OF HIS REGARD UNTO THEM AND AFFECTION FOR THEM; which appears in commending them to God, and to the word of His grace. We are not to suppose that, in this condemnation, the apostle intends the elders only, but the Church also. These were addressed, as being officers and representatives of the Church, and as men capable of delivering to it, what the apostle should say to them. There are three things to be considered in this commendation.
1. The persons to whom the brethren are commended: that is, "God, and the word of His grace."(1) They are commended to God; by whom is meant God the Father. The apostle, in commending them to Him, commends them to His grace, wisdom, and power. To His grace; to supply their need; to fit them for every duty He shall call them to, and for every trial He shall exercise them with. They are also commended to His wisdom, to counsel and direct them in all their ways. Likewise, the saints are commended to the power of God, to keep and preserve them. For it is by that alone they are kept; being weak and liable to daily backslidings. They, therefore, should commit themselves to Him, who is able to keep them from falling, and to present them faultless before the throne of His glory with exceeding joy.
(2) The apostle commandeth them to the word of Divine grace. By which I understand, not the gospel, or the written Word, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who is frequently in Scripture called λόγος, or the Word.
(a) Because the saints never commend themselves, or others, either in life or death, to any but a Divine Person. The word signifies the committing a person or thing to the care, charge, and protection of another. Now, none but a Divine Person is capable of taking the care and charge of the saints, neither will the saints trust any other.
(b) Because to put the written Word upon a level of the Divine Being does not appear agreeable. A commendation of the saints, equally to the written Word, as to God Himself seems to be a lessening of His glory, and ascribing too much to the written Word; but suits well with Christ, the essential Word, who, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God.
(c) Because, never in the whole book of Scripture, as far as I have observed, are the saints commended to the gospel; but rather that to them (see 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 1:11-18, and 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 2:2).
(d) Because what is here ascribed unto it suits better with Christ than with the gospel, viz., which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance, etc. Taking this to be the sense of the words, it will be proper to inquire these two things. Why Christ is called the Word: and why the Word of God's grace.
1. Why He is called the Word.
(1) Because He spake for His people in the council of peace; and covenanted with His Father on their account.
(2) He is called the Word because He spake all things out of nothing, in the first creation.
(3) Because He is to us the interpreter of the Father's mind; like as our words, or speech, is the interpreter of our minds.
(4) He is the Word, who now speaks for us in the court of heaven.
2. Why is He called the Word of God's grace?
(1) Because in Him is highly displayed and revealed His Father's grace to poor sinners.
(2) Because in Him it hath pleased the Father that all fulness of grace should dwell.
2. The act itself of commending them, which signifies to commit to the care, keeping and protection of another; depending upon his ability and fidelity. Thus the apostle must be supposed to commit the saints to the care and protection of God the Father and of God the Son, being well assured of the ability and fidelity of them both. And his commending them to both not only shows the equal esteem and regard he had for them, but also the greatness of his concern for the brethren here.
III. THE MOTIVES which induced the apostle to commend the saints into the hands of those Divine persons.
1. Because He is able to build them up. Ministers are instruments in building up of saints. They ministerially lay the foundation, Christ. He is the chief Architect; and, except He, the Lord, build the house, they labour in vain that build it. The work is His. He only having begun the work, is able to finish it: and He will do it. We may be confident of it; for He is both the Author and Finisher of faith.
2. Another reason why the apostle commends the saints, not only to God, but also to the Word of His grace is because He is able to give them an inheritance among them that are sanctified.
(1) The inheritance which Christ gives. This is the heavenly glory.
(2) The persons among whom it lies. These are all them that are sanctified: which at once points out the persons to whom it belongs, and discovers the excellency of it. The persons to whom it belongs are all those that are sanctified — that is, who are set apart by Divine grace, and distinguished from others, by a sovereign act of love, for the enjoyment of this blessing. Or else by sanctified ones are meant such as are sanctified by the Spirit of God; have a principle of grace wrought in them: and are enabled by faith to deal with Christ for sanctification as well as righteousness. For much of a believer's holiness lies in faith's acting and living upon, dealing with, and receiving from Christ, grace for grace; and, therefore, in another text this inheritance is said to be among "them which are sanctified by faith, that is in Me."Conclusion:
1. Hence it appears to whom souls should make application in their time of need; that is, to God, and to the word of His grace.
2. This evidently shows that those ministers have the greatest concern for souls who commend them to God, and to the word of His grace; who direct them to Christ and His fulness, and not to their own works or frames, but to the grace that is in Him.
3. It is also manifest that such commendations and directions as these are likely to meet with most success.
4. Let us adore boundless grace, that we have the God of all grace and the word of grace to apply to, and that we have any reason to believe that these Divine persons have taken the care and charge of us: we having been enabled, by an act of faith, to commit ourselves to them; believing that they are "able to build us up, and to give us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified."
(John Gill, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.