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them. He is Lord of all ;13 and of Him it is said, The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him." While He orders all things for them in providence and in grace, they submit themselves to His sovereign authority, and live in obedience to His holy laws. They have one faith ; the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, 15 is that which they profess. They believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,13 and put their trust in His redemption and His merits, for the pardon of their sins, their reconciliation to God, and the eternal salvation of their souls. They are partakers of one baptism, by which they were admitted into the visible church, as members of the mystical body of Christ; and a public profession was made in their names, that they should believe all the articles of the Christian faith, and keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of their life; renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, so as not to follow or be led by them.
They have therefore one God and Father of all, whose children they are by faith in Christ Jesus.16 They are brought to the knowledge of God as their reconciled Father through Christ; and they look up to Him with filial fear and affection, depending upon Him for His blessing and protection continually. And they know and believe that He whom they worship and adore, is truly 'God above all, or over all; who has all things under His controul and direction, and is able to do for them exceeding abundantly above all that they can ask or think ;17 that He is through all, às He fills heaven and earth, and pervades all things with His presence; He is every where present at all times; all things are open to His observation and notice; there is nothing hid from His all-seeing eye; and through Christ He dwells in their hearts by faith; and that He is in them all. He dwells in them and with them, and is ever ready to manifest His watchful care over them, and to order all things in His overruling providence as shall be most for their good and His own glory. And they become the habitation of God through the Spirit; and hereby they know that He abideth in them, by the Spirit which He hath given them.18
13 Acts x. 36; xvi. 31. 14 Rom. x. 12. 15 Jude 3. 16 Gal. iii. 26. 17 Ephesians iii. 20.
Here we may observe that the apostle refers to the ever blessed Triune Jehovah. His subject leads him to speak first of the Spirit of God, by whom the children of God are effectually call to be members of the mystical body of Christ, and have a good hope of eternal life. Then of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom they are enabled to believe, and in the faith of whom they are baptized. And lastly, of God the Father, to whose paternal care and protection they are introduced by the calling of the Spirit of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. Thus the three sacred Persons of the one Godhead are referred to, and the office sustained by each in the covenant of redemption; in order to show the privileges to which they are entitled who are admitted to the unity of the Spirit. Let us seek to know the Father through the Son, or that the God of heaven is our reconciled Father in Christ Jesus our Saviour; and to know the Son through the Spirit, or that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Mediator, through the teaching of the Holy Ghost. Thus we shall have a practical acquaintance with the doctrine of the Trinity; and, beholding the God of heaven as the God of love, we shall rejoice that He has revealed to us in His holy word how we may know Him in this most endearing character; and be enabled to love Him because He first loved us, and to give up ourselves to His service, that His name may be glorified in us and by us.
18 1 John iii. 24.
May the exhortation of the apostle sink deep into our minds, that we may live to the glory of God, in the enjoyment of His favour, and may be blessed by Him in time and in eternity.
I THANK MY GOD ALWAYS ON YOUR BEHALF,
FOR THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN YOU BY JESUS CHRIST.
The success which attended the ministry of the gospel was always a cause of gratitude to the apostle Paul.
Love to the Lord Jesus Christ filled his heart; and therefore, when he saw that the word of the Lord had free course and was glorified, he rejoiced in the honour that was brought to God, as well as in the benefit received by his fellow creatures. We may observe his constant anxiety on this subject. The care of all the churches lay upon him daily, and he felt it to be no light burden. His affection for those to whom his ministry had been blessed, was great indeed;
he prayed earnestly for them, he fervently admonished them, and he gave thanks on their behalf, for every indication of their partaking of the blessings which the gospel of Christ was designed to convey to them. The great cause of his thankfulness for the Corinthians appears in the Epistle for this day. Oh! that we might have the same cause of gratitude, each on his own account, as the apostle had for the church at Corinth. And let it be our prayer that the blessing of the Holy Spirit may rest upon us, while we consider the manner in which the grace of God operated in the primitive Christians, that we may seek for the same grace to be bestowed upon ourselves, to the consolation and salvation of our own souls.
The causes of the apostle's thankfulness to God are the subjects to which our attention is to be directed. The first thing mentioned is, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ. The grace of God is the source of every blessing which His people enjoy. But here the word is evidently used to denote a special gift bestowed, in consequence of its recipients being united to the Lord Jesus Christ by a living faith ; and therefore it seems to apply particularly to the Holy Spirit which our blessed Saviour promised to bestow upon His disciples, and which is the great gift vouchsafed under the Christian dispensation; insomuch that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. 19