By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him…
I. THAT THE END AND THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF FAITH IS TO BE "TRANSLATED OUT OF THE WORLD INTO THE HAPPINESS OF THE ETERNAL STATE.
1. I shall prove the point by Scripture: "Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:9). Heaven is there proposed as the chief reward of faith; all that we do, all that we suffer, all that we believe, it is with an aim at the hope of the salvation of our souls. The last article of our creed is everlasting life.
2. I shall by a few reasons prove the interest of believers in eternal life, and why faith gives a title to glory.
(1) Because by faith we are made sons; all our right and title is by adoption. Children may expect a child's portion.
(2) These are the terms of the eternal covenant between God and Christ, that believers should have a right to heaven by Christ's death; therefore, whenever the Father's love and Christ's purchase are mentioned, faith is the solemn condition.
(3) Because faith is the mother of obedience, which is the way to eternal life; faith gives a title, and works give an evidence.
(4) By faith that life is begun which shall only be consummated and perfected in glory. The life of glory and the life of grace are the same in substance, but not in degree. Here faith takes Christ, and then life is begun, though in glory it is perfected (1 John 5:12).
Use 1. To press you to get faith upon this ground and motive, it will give you an interest in heaven.
Use 2. It serves to direct you how to exercise and act faith in order to the everlasting state. Five duties believers must perform.
(1) The first work and foundation of all is to accept of Christ in the offers of the gospel; there is the foundation of a glorious estate.
(2) It directs you to exercise your faith to believe the promise of heaven which God hath made.
(3) Get your own title .confirmed; lay claim to your inheritance.
(4) Let us often renew our hopes by serious and distinct thoughts. This is the way to anticipate heaven, by musing upon it (ver. 1).
(5) Another work of faith is earnestly to desire and long after the full accomplishment of glory. Faith bewrayeth itself by desires as well as thoughts. All things hasten to their centre.
Use 3. To exalt the mercy of God to believers; once sinners, and by grace made believers. Observe the wonderful love and grace of God in three steps —
(1) That He hath provided such an estate for believers. What a miracle of mercy is this that God should think of taking poor despicable dust and ashes, and planting them in the upper paradise, that they should be carried into heaven and made companions of the angels.
(2) That this state is provided freely, and upon such gracious terms.
(3) That God should send up and down the world to offer this salvation to men.
Use 4. Comfort to God's children against wants, and against troubles and persecutions, and against death itself.
II. THOSE THAT WOULD LIVE WITH GOD HEREAFTER MUST LEARN TO PLEASE GOD ERE THEY DEPART HENCE.
1. What it is to please God. It implies both coming to God, and walking with God.
2. The necessity of pleasing God.
(1) Because this is the means and condition without which we shall never come to enjoy God; it is the way to fit the sons of God for glory, though not the cause of glory (Hebrews 12:14).
(2) There is a necessity of it by way of sign, and as a pledge of our living with God hereafter — "Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."(3) It is necessary by way of preparation. Those that walk with God are meet to live with God; they change their place, but not their company; here they walk with God, and there they live with Him for ever.
3. The necessity of pleasing God in the present life — "For before his translation," it is said, "he had this testimony, that he pleased God." There is a time for all things, and the time of pleasing God is in the present life.
(1) Because this is the time of grace. Here we are invited to walk with God: now we have the means, then we have the recompenses; here Christ saith (Matthew 11:28).
(2) This is the time of our exercise and trial.
4. The sooner we begin the better.
(1) Because you make a necessary work sure, and put it out of doubt and hazard. The time of this life is uncertain (James 4:14).
(2) In point of obedience, God presseth to "now." God doth not only command us to please Him, but to do it presently (Hebrews 3:7, 8). It were just with God, if you refuse Him, never to call you more.
(3) In point of ingenuity. We receive a plenteous recompense for a small service. When a man thinketh what God hath provided for them that love Him and serve Him, he should be ashamed that he should receive so much and do so little; and therefore he should redeem all the time that he can, that he may answer his expectations from God.
(4) It is our advantage to begin betimes, both here and hereafter.
(a) Here. The sooner you begin to please God, the sooner you have an evidence of your interest in His favour, more experience of His love, more hopes of being with Him in heaven; and these are not slight things.
(b) The sooner you begin with God, the greater will your glory be hereafter; for the more we improve our talents here, the greater will be our reward in heaven (Luke 19:16-19).
Use 1. If there be such a necessity of pleasing God, and giving up ourselves to the severities of religion, then it serves for reproof of divers sorts of persons; as —
(1) Those that, though they live as they list, as if they were sent into the world for no other purpose but to gratify their carnal desires, yet lay as bold a claim and title to heaven as the best; they doubt not but glory belongs to them, though they cannot make good their title.
(2) It reproves them that think that every slight profession of the name of God will serve the turn; no, you must walk with God and please God.
(3) It reproves those that would please God, but with a limitation and reservation so far as they may not displease men or displease the flesh.
(4) It reproves those that adjourn and put off the work of religion from time to time, till they have lost all time; that use to put off God to the troubles of sickness or the aches of old age.
Use 2. If there be no hope of living with God without pleasing God, oh, then make it the aim and scope of your lives to please the Lord!
(1) Look to the commandments as your rule (Micah 6:8).
(2) Let the promises of God be your encouragement.
(3) You should make the glory of God your chiefest end, or you will be very irregular, and cannot keep pace with God in a constant course of duty. Look, as a man that hath a nail in his foot may walk in soft ground, but when he comes to hard ground he is soon turned out of the way, so when a man hath a perverse aim, he will soon be discouraged with the inconveniences that will trouble him in religion. The spiritual life is called " a living to God" (Galatians 2:19). The end must be right, otherwise the conversation will be but a vain pretence, that will please men but not God (Proverbs 16:2).
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
WEB: By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn't see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.