And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.
(text, and Isaiah 43:10): — Men bear for God two kinds of testimony — in-voluntary and voluntary.
I. THE JEWS WERE INVOLUNTARY WITNESSES. They had "the law and the prophets." They glorified in this. But their formalism and worldliness prevented them from seeing the meaning of these oracles of God. They were called into court, as it were, by God. "Bring forth the blind that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears"; "Let all nations be gathered" and confronted with these Hebrews. Who among the heathen can announce coming and far-distant events, or even show former things? But the Jews can. The law and prophets in their hands — books seven centuries old — declare the history of man from the Creation and announce the coming One — "My servant whom I have chosen" — seven centuries in advance. You Hebrews, God said by Isaiah (Isaiah 43:8), "with eyes but seeing not," hold these books in your hands. "Ye are My" unconscious, involuntary "witnesses." So He may say still. These Hebrews nave, most tenaciously, and often at the hazard of their lives, held fast these sacred volumes through all these centuries. Peeled and scattered over the earth, they have guarded these documents while they have misread them; "a blind people that have eyes" — shrewd, far-seeing, and intelligent in all other matters, but perverse and ignorant in this, they have remained involuntary witness-bearers to the veracity and supremacy of God.
II. CHRISTIANS ARE VOLUNTARY WITNESSES in a twofold capacity — as a Church and as individuals.
1. Against atheism asserting there is no God, the Church proclaims: "There is, and we know, worship and obey Him."
2. Against paganism, with its many gods, the Church testifies: "The Lord our God is one Lord."
3. Against many-faced infidelity denying that there is any revelation from God, if there is a God at all, the Church avers: "We have. God spake at sundry times and in various ways to the fathers by the prophets. In these last days He has spoken unto us by His Son."
4. Against those who deny the manifestation of God in three persons, the Church keeps uttering its benediction: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all."
5. Those who deny the necessity for any atonement may hear the Church declare: "The wages of sin is death, but we have redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins," and see her "showing forth His death till He come" in her holy communion.
6. To sceptics who scornfully ask: "Where is the promise of His coming?" the Church testifies: "We wait for the Son of God from heaven. He will appear, and then all mysteries will be solved."
7. To Romanists who assert that there are other mediators than Jesus, the Church proclaims "one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus."
8. False liberalism may say to the sinner: "Be sincere and you need no more"; the Church echoes her Founder's words: "Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of heaven," and those of His beloved disciple: "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
(J. Hall, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.