For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy…
This verse layeth down a weighty reason whereby our apostle would bow and bend the minds of Christian men to the practice of the former virtues, namely, of equity, lenity, long-suffering, and meekness towards all men, foes as well as friends, yea, the worst as well as the best. The reason is drawn frown the consideration of the present condition of converted Christians, compared with that estate they were in before their conversion and calling to the faith, to which purpose he is very large in describing.
1. Our estate of corruption (ver. 3).
2. Our estate after conversion (vers. 4-6), from both which the apostle thus concluded the same thing thus: First, the former; if we ourselves were in times past in the self-same condition, which other men are not called out of, then ought we to be meek and merciful even to those who are not yet converted. But we ourselves were in times past as they are; we lay in the same puddle of corruption, were hewn out of the same pit, and though we may think we were never so graceless, as we see some others, yet we cannot charge them so deeply for time present, but they may come over us with the same in times past, as this third verse will teach us, and therefore we ought to show all lenity and meekness to all men. Secondly, from our latter condition of conversion, thus our apostle frameth his reason. If God have been so bountiful a benefactor unto us, when we were so unworthy, as the former verse describeth, that His mere and alone mercy saved us; then must we in imitation of our heavenly Father do the like to our brethren. But God hath done thus (vers. 4, 5) so as from both we may well reason that a new condition requireth a new conversation; new men must have new manners; we being Christians may not carry ourselves so crookedly as in times past, nor so roughly towards those who now do the same things which then we did, considering our own selves.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.