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together with Christ, who were dead in trespasses, (by G grace ye are saved.) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places through Christ
7 Jesus: That he might shew in the ages to come the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us
8 through Christ Jesus. For by grace ye are saved thro' faith; and this not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not by works; lest any one should boast. For we are his
10 workmanship, created through Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before prepared, that we might walk in them.
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being formerly Gentiles in the flesh, (who were called the uncircumcision, by that which is called the circumcision performed with hands in
12 the flesh,) Were at that time without Christ, being aliens
beginning and end. (The apostle speaks indifferently either in the first or second person, the Jews and Gentiles being in the same circumstance, both by nature and by grace.) Tins text lays the ax to the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves. Therefore St. Paul, foreseeing the backwardness of mankind to receive it, yet knowing the absolute necessity of its being received, again asserts the very same truth, ver. s, in the very same words.
V. 6. And hath raised us up together—Both Jews and Gentiles already in *pkit: and ere long our bodies too will he raised, and made us all sit together in heavenly places—This is spoken by way of anticipation. Believers are not yet possessed of their seats in heaven; but each of them has a place prepared for him.
V. 7. The ages to come—That is, all succeeding ages.
V. 8. By grace ye are saved through faith—Grace, without any respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift: Faith, with an empty hand, and without any pretence to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing, dnd this—Is not of yourselves. This, refers to the whole preceding clanse: That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God.
V. 9. Not by works—Neither this faith nor this salvation is owing to any woik3 you ever did, will, or can do.
V. 10. For we are his workmanship—Which proves both that salvation is by faith, and that faith is the gift of God, created unto good works—That afterwards we might give ourselves to them, which God had before prepared—The occasions of them; ss we must still ascribe the whole to God; that we might walk in them—Though not be justified by them.
y. 11. Wherefore remember—Such a remembrancc^trengthens faith, and increases gratitude ; that ye being formerly Gentiles in the flesh—Neither circumcised in body nor in spirit, who were accordingly called the uncircumcision—By way of reproach, by that which is called the circumcision—By those who call themselves the circumcised, and think this is a proof that they are the people of God: and who, indeed, have that outward circumcision, which is performed by hands in the flesh.
V. 12. Were at that time without Christ-*— Having no faith in, or knowledge of him; being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel—Both as to their temporal privileges, and spiritual blessings, and strangers to the covenants of promise—The great promise, in both the Jewish and Christian covenant, was the Messiah; having no hope—Because they had no promise whereon to ground their hope; and being without God—Wholly ignorant of the true God, from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; having no hope, and without God
13 in the world. But now through Christ Jesus, ye who were formerly far off are brought nigh by the blood of
14 Christ. For he is our peace, he who hath made both one,
15 having broken down the middle wall of partition, Having abolished by his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments, through his decrees, that he might form the
16 two into one new man in himself, so making peace: And might reconcile both in one body to God through the
17 cross, having slain the enmity thereby. And he came and preached peace to you that were afar off, and to them
18 that were nigh. For through him we both have access
19 by one Spirit to the Father. Therefore ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the
SO saints, and of the houshold of God, Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself
and so in effect atheists. Such in truth are, more or less, all men, in all ages, till they know God, by the teachingof his own Spirit; in the world—The wide, vain world, wherein ye wandered up and down, unholy and unhappy.
V. 13. Far off—From God and his people, nigh—Intimately united,to both.
V. n. For he is our peace— Not only as he purchased it, but as he is the very bond and centre of union: He who hath made both—Jews and Gentiles, one church. The apostle describes, 1. The conjunction of the Gentiles with Israel, ver. U, 15; and, s. The conjunction of both with God, ver. 15—18. Each description is subdivided into two parts. And the former part of the one, concerning abolishing the enmity, answers the former part of the other; the latter part of the one, concerning the evangelical decrees, answers the latter part of the other; and hath broken down the middle watt of partition— Alluding to that wall of old, which separated the court of Israel from the court of the Gentiles. Such a wall was the ceremonial law, which Christ had now taken away.
V. 15. Hating abolished, by his suffering in the flesh, the cause of enmity between the Jews and Gentiles, even the law of ceremonial commandments, through his decrees—Which offer mercy to all, (see Col. ii. 14,) that he might form the two—Jew and Gentile, into one new man—One mystical body.
V. 16. In one body—One churchI having slain—By his own death on the cross, the enmity—Which had been between sinners and God.
V. 17. And he came—After his resurrection, and preached peace—By his ministers and his Spirit, to you—Gentiles, that were afar off—At the utmost distance from God; oarf to them that were nigh—To the Jews, who were comparatively nigh, befBg his visible church, „
V. 18. For through him, we both—Jews and Gentiles, have access—Liberty of approaching, by the guidance and aid of one Spirit lo.Gfcd, «s our Father. Christ, the Spirit, and the Father, the Three-One God.jgKnd frequently in the same order.
V. 19. Therefore ye are no longer strangers, but citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem; no longer foreigners, but received into the very family of God.
V. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets—As the foundation sustains the building, so the word of God, declared by the apostles and prophets, sustains the faith of all believers. God laid the foundation by them; but Christ himself is the chief corner-stone of the foundation. Elsewhere he is termed the foundation itself, 1 Cor. iii. 11.
21 being the chief comer-stone, 'On whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the
22 Lord: On whom ye also are built together, for a habitation of God through the Spirit.
CHAP. III. 1. For this cause I Paul am the prisoner
2 of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles; (Seeing ye have heard the dispensation of the grace of God, given me in your
s behalf,) That by revelation he made known to me the
4 mystery: as I wrote before in few words, By reading which ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery
5 of Christ: Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed to his holy
6 apostles and prophets by the Spirit, That the Gentiles are joint-heirs, and of the same body, and joint-partakers
7 of his promise by Christ through the gospel, Or which I have been made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his
8 power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, hath this grace been given, to preach among the
9 Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to make
V. 21. On whom all the building fitly framed together—i-T\w whole fabric of the universal church, rises up hke a large pile of living materials, into a holy temple in the Lord—Dedicated to Christ, and inhabited by him, in which he displays his presence, and is worshipped and glorified. What is the temple of Diana of the Ephesians, whom ye formerly worshipped, to this?
CHAP. III. Ver. l. For this cause—That ye may be so built together, I am m prisoner for you Gentiles—Fo. your advantage, and for asserting your right to these blessings. That it was which so enraged the Jews against him.
V. 2. The dispensation of the grace of God given me in your behalf—That is, the cominissioi <o dispense the gracious gospel, to you Gentiles in particular. This they had heard from his own mouth.
V. 3 The mystery---Of salvation by Christ alone, and that both to Jews and Gentiles, as I wrote before—Namely, chap. i. 9, 10, the very words of which passage he here repeats,
V. 5. Which in other—r-ln former, ages was not so clearly or fully made known to the sons of men—To any man, no, not to Ezekiel, so often styled Son of man, nor to any of the ancient prophets. Those here spoken of are New Testament prophets.
V. 6. That the Gentiles are joint heirs—Of Gos&dh/ of the same body— Under Christ the head, and joint partakers of his promise—The communion of 'the Holy Gho-'
V. 7. Acc to the gift of the grace of God—That is, the apostleship
which he ha. . graciously given me, and which he hath qualified me for, by the effectual working of his power—I n meand by me.
V. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given— Here are the noblest strains of eloquence, to paint the exceeding low opinion the apostle had of himself, and the fulness of unfathomable blessings which are treasured up in Christ.
V. 9. What is the fellowship of the mystery—What those mysterious blessings are, whereof all believers jointly partake, which was in great measure hidden from eternity by God, who—To make way for the free exercise of his leVe* . created all things—This is the foundation of all his dispensations.
all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery, which was hidden from eternity by God, who created all things
10 by Jesus Christ: That the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known by the church to the principalities
11 and powers in heavenly places, According to the eternal
12 purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, By whom we have boldness and access with confidence thro'
13-faith in him. Wherefore I entreat you not to faint at
14 my afflictions for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bend my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 (Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,)
16 That he would give you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the
17 inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by
18 faith: That being rooted and grounded in love, ye may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the
19 breadth, and length, and depth, and height, And to know the love of Christ which surpasseth knowledge, that ye
20 may be filled with all the fulness of God. Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
V. 10. That the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church —By what is done in the church, which is the theatre of the divine wisdom.
V. 12. By whom we have free access, such as those petitioners have, who are introduced to the royal presence by some distinguished favourite, and boldness —Uurestrained libeity of speech, such as children use in addressing an indulgent father, when without fear of offending they disclose all their wants, and make known all their requests.
V. 13. The not fainting is your glory.
V. 15. Of whom—The Father, the whole family of angels in heaven, saints in paradise, and believers on earth is named: being the children of God, (a more honourable title than children of Abraham,) and depending on him as the Father of the family.
V. l(). The riches of his glory—The immense fulness of his glorious wisdom, power, and mercy; the inner man—The soul.
V. 17. Dwell—That is, constantly and sensibly abide.
V. I8. That being rooted and grounded—-That is, deeply fixed and firmly established in love, ye may comprehend—So far as it human mind is capable, what is the breadth of rAjJore of Christ—Embracing all mankind, and length —From everlasting to <^wlasting, and depth—Not to be fathomed by any creature, and height—N^to be reached by any enemy.
V. 19. And to know—But the apostle corrects himself, and immediately observes, it cannot be fully known. This only we know, that the love of Christ—Surpasses all knowledge, that ye may be filled—Which is the sum of all, with all the fulness of God—With all his light, love, wisdom, holiness, power, and glory. A perfection far beyond a hare freedom from sin.
V. 90. Now to him—This doxology is admirably adapted to strengthen our faith, that we may not stagger at the great things the apostle has been praying for, as if they were too much for God to give, or for us to expect from him, that is able—Here is a most beautiful gradation. When he has given us exceeding, yea, abundant blessings, still we may ask for more. And he is able to do it. Bat we may think of more than we have asked. He is able to do this also.
21 To him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
CHAP. IV. 1. I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you, to walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye
2 are called, With all lowliness and meekness; with lone;
3 suffering forbear one another in love, Endeavouring to
4 keep the unity of the Spirit, by the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, as ye are also called in one hope
5 of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism: One
6 God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all,
7 and in us all. But to every one of us is given grace, # according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, * Having ascended on high, he led captivity
9 captive, and gave gifts to men. (Now this expression, He ascended, what is it, but that he also descended first 10 to the lower parts of the earth; He that descended is
* Psalm Ixviii. 18.
Yea, and above all this: above all we ask; above all we can think: nay, exceedingly, abundantly above all, that we can either ask or thiak. V. 21. In the church—On earth and in heaven.
CHAP. IV. Ver. 1. / therefore the prisoner of the Lord—Imprisoned forhid sake and for your sakes: for the sake of the gospel which he had preached amongst them. This was therefore a powerful motive to them, to comfort him under it by their obedience.
V. 3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit—That mutual union and harmony, which is a fruit of the Spirit. The bond of peace is love.
V. 4. There it one body—The universal church, all believers throughout the world, One Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father—The ever-blessed Trinity, One hope—Of heaven.
V. 5. One outward baptism.
V. 6. One God and Father of all—That believe, who is above all—Presiding over all his children, operating through them all by Christ, and dwelling in all by his Spirit.
V. 7. According to the measure of the gift of Christ—According as Christ is pleased to give to each.
V. 8. Wherefore he saith—That is, in reference to which God saith by Davia, Having ascended on high, he led captivity captive—He triumphed over all his enemies, Satan, sin, and death, which had before enslaved all the world: alluding to the custom of ancient conqueatfk who led those they had conquered in chains after them: and, as they also M to give donatives to the people, at their return from victory, so he gave gifts to men—Both the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit.
V. 9. Nous this expression, He attended, what is it, but that he descended— That is, does it not imply, that he descended first? Certainly it does, on the supposition of his being God. Otherwise it would not: since all the saints will ascend to heaven, though none of them descended thence, into the lower parts of the earth—So the womb is called, Psalm exxxix. 15; the grave, Psalm Ixiii. 9.
V. 10. He that descended, —That thus amazingly humbled himself, is the same that ascended—'I hat was so highly exalted, that he might Jill all th'usgt— The whole church, with his Spirit, presence, and operations.