Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
ex-cathedra, so as to have dominion over men's faith. He was a brother amongst brethren; he ruled by force of character and by depth of love; he addresses them in words which had not then degenerated into a formula: "Dearly beloved."
I. COMMON WORK. "Fellow-laborer." For Paul believed in work - in hard work. He had "journeys oft;" he returned to confirm the faith of the disciples. He worked in sorrow of brain and sweat of heart, and sometimes in sweat of brow.
II. COMMON CONFLICT. "Fellow-soldier." For all through the ages the Christian has a battle to fight - within himself, and with the world and the flesh and the devil. Men are sustained by the sight of men nobler than themselves risking life and health. In the Crimean War, when a young officer headed his troops, running by their side in the heat of the conflict, a private remarked, "There runs ten thousand a year!" Paul did not direct a campaign from afar; he did not do the dainty work, and leave others to hard fare and dungeons. He "fought a good fight," and in that fight he fell, to be crowned with honor hereafter. How inspiring, therefore, would such a man be to other apostles - "a fellow-soldier!" - W.M.S.
Grace to you, and peacethee, how thou art saved by grace. Imitate thy God."
(Bp. Wm. Alexander.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)1. The matter of his prayer, what it is. He asketh not the favour of men, but of God; he craveth not earthly and worldly peace, but spiritual and heavenly. True it is, the favour of God and goodwill of men, the outward peace and tranquillity one with another, are excellent gifts, but the free and fatherly favour of God, together with peace with God the Father, being reconciled unto us in His dear Son, are much to be preferred in our desires.
2. As we learn chiefly to ask spiritual blessings, so we see what blessings among such as are spiritual are the principal and predominant — to wit, the favour of God and peace of conscience. He that is possessed of these two, hath a hidden mine of treasures, with which all the riches of the world are not to be compared. For these blessings are heavenly, spiritual, eternal; whereas all the substance of this world is temporal, transitory, corruptible.
3. The apostle in some of his Epistles useth three words — grace, mercy, and peace. Here he contenteth himself with naming two — grace and peace, wherein there is no contrariety, forasmuch as mercy is included under peace. For by mercy is understood our justification, which consisteth partly in the forgiveness of our sins, and partly in the imputation of Christ's righteousness, which do bring true peace with them.
4. We see from whom he asketh all these — first from God the Father, to teach that he is the author of every good and perfect gift. If then we stand in need of them we can receive none but of Him.
5. We see that to God the Father he joineth Jesus Christ; for all blessings are bestowed through Christ, the Mediator of the New Testament. God the Father is the fountain, Christ is the pipe or conduit, by whom they are conveyed unto us. He that hath not Him hath not the Father. He that is not in Him, remaineth in death. He that believeth in the Son, hath everlasting life, and he that obeyeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
6. The title given unto Him: He is called the Lord of His Church; it is a kingdom, whereof He is the Prince; it is a city, whereof He is the governor; it is a house, whereof He is the master or owner; it is a body, whereof He is the head. So then, all obedience is due to Him, and all men must acknowledge His worship over them. Lastly, in that he craveth grace and peace from Christ our Lord, as well as from God the Father, it confirmeth our faith in a fundamental point of Christian religion, touching the Deity of Christ, Who is God equal with the Father.
(W. Attersoll.)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.)
(W. M. Statham, M. A.)
(W. M. Statham, M. A.)
1. First, the inward peace of conscience with God, which springeth out of the grace and favour of God (Romans 5:1). A man's conscience will never be at quiet within him till it feels this grace.
2. The peace of charity among ourselves. This also is an effect of God's grace, which as it maketh a man at peace with himself and God, so with his brethren. The love of God shed into our hearts will make us love our brethren also.
3. The peace of amity, and a holy kind of league with all God's creatures. This also is an effect of grace; for when we have His favour, who is the Lord, we have the good will also of His servants the creatures.
4. Outward prosperity and good success in our ways; so it is commonly taken in all their salutations (1 Chronicles 12:18). Now, the reason why outward prosperity is signified by this name of peace is — first, because to the godly they are pledges of that sweet peace they have with God. Secondly, they are notable maintainers of the peace and quietness of our affections; for in the want of outward things how are we disquieted. But peace, in this fourth signification, is so taken for outward prosperity, that which all this outward prosperity hath security annexed unto it, and is a forerunner of that eternal prosperity and felicity in God's kingdom; for both these things are understood by the name of peace.
I. From hence observe, that as we may lawfully desire for ourselves and others outward prosperity and the blessing of this life, so HOW AND IN WHAT MANNER WE MUST DESIRE THEM.
1. Having desired grace in the first place "First seek the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6); and then in the second place we may seek temporal things; but now men are all for peace, "Who will shew us any good?" few or none for grace; peaceable men, as I may call them, enough, very few gracious men that do first of all seek God's grace, and then in the second place peace.
2. In desiring of outward things we must moderate our desires, that they go not beyond their bounds, to desire abundance and superfluity of them; for we desire them by the name of peace: therefore no more must we desire, but that which will serve us, to attend the works of our calling with free and quiet minds, without disturbance or distraction.
II. Paul first desiring grace and then peace, showeth us THAT PEACE, NAMELY, OUTWARD PROSPERITY, IS A FRUIT OF GRACE, and so, that the nearest and most compendious way to get peace, is first to get grace and favour with God. Joseph and David had wonderful success in all their ways, and the reason the Holy Ghost yieldeth thereof is this, "The Lord was with them" (Genesis 39; 1 Samuel 18:1). Grace is the only means to draw on peace. When we have got Christ's righteousness, it is that grace which makes us graceful to God (Matthew 6). Then outward things come voluntarily, as it were, without our seeking or desiring; no marvel then if oftentimes things go cross with us, we by our sins having drawn down the curse of God upon all our enterprises. This is the reason why God's children live better, even with greater credit and reputation in the world with a little, than many times the wicked do, which have far more. God's blessing sets forward the one, and his curse blows upon the other. But we oftentimes see those that are not in greatest favour with God abounding with these earthly blessings. And on the contrary, those that have greatest store of grace, to have a very small pittance of peace.
1. For the godly, who, having their part in grace, have always in some measure their portion in peace also; for —(1) The end of all his afflictions, whereto they are disposed, is peace.(2) He hath the peace of security in his greatest distresses (Psalm 3:6; 4:9).(3) He hath the peace of contentation, grace supplying and sweetening the want of peace, and turning very war itself into peace, darkness into light to the godly, his heart is at rest and at peace within itself. There is no warring of the affections against God, whatsoever his outward estate is.
2. For the wicked. It is far otherwise with them in their peace, which being a graceless peace, is in truth a peaceless peace, for in the midst of their peace they want the peace of security, their hearts tremble like an aspen leaf, in fear of change; or if they have security, it is a presumptuous and false security; for when they cry, "Peace, peace," then is their destruction at hand (1 Thessalonians 5:3). And let their peace be never so flourishing, yet still want they the peace of contentation. They think all too little; if they had the whole world, with Alexander, they would grieve there were no more for them to get. Again, as the end of the godly man's warfare is peace, so the end of the wicked man's peace is warfare, even an eternal warfare, and wrestling with the anger of God in hell. Therefore a sound and safe peace ariseth only from the grace of God.
(D. Dyke, B. D.)
From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
(A. H. Drysdale, M. A.)
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