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of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 33 They received the truth in the love of it, and the consequence was, the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them ; they became established in the truth; they were grounded and settled 3* in it, so that they were not to be turned aside by every wind of doctrine. And the blessings which they received in consequence of embracing the Christian profession and believing the gospel, were to them a confirmation of the truth of the testimony of Christ which had been made known to them.
The grace of God was vouchsafed to them in such an abundant measure, that they came behind in no gift. They were not destitute of any of those miraculous effusions which were bestowed upon the primitive church; and they had every spiritual blessing that they could enjoy. The Spirit was poured upon them from on high, and they were happy and joyful in possessing the gifts of His grace; they walked humbly with their God, and rejoiced greatly in His salvation. It was to the fruit of the Spirit which was produced by them in all goodness and righteousness and truth,35 that I conceive the apostle particularly referred as having been abundantly manifested in them by Divine grace. It is for the gift of the
33 1 Thess. ii. 13.
34 Col. i. 23.
35 Eph. v. 9.
Spirit in His teaching and sanctifying grace that we are to seek in all ages of the church; in order that believers in Christ may enjoy the blessings which are set before them, and may be pleasing to God in their life and conduct; or, in other words, may be holy and happy. Let it be our earnest prayer that the testimony of Christ may be confirmed in us, by our partaking of the gift of the Holy Ghost to influence and sanctify our souls. The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, in His miraculous powers, were of use only for a time; for the introduction and establishment of Christianity in the world, as the true religion. His ordinary operations are to be looked for in all ages, for the personal consolation and sanctification of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek these for ourselves, that we may be comforted, and God may be glorified in us and by us.
The spiritual blessings of which the Corinthian believers were partakers, led them to look forward with a hope of receiving still greater blessings hereafter. The apostle therefore describes them as waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Great are the benefits which believers in Christ receive from their Lord and Saviour in this world, for which they have abundant reason to thank and praise Him. Their present salvation from sin, both as to its guilt and its dominion, is an unspeakable blessing. To be delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the king
dom of God's dear Son,36 to be numbered among the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, is a high privilege indeed. But the Christian's future prospects of blessedness are far beyond his present joys. His expectations hereafter are such, that no sublunary enjoyment of any kind will admit of a moment's comparison with the blessedness that will be bestowed upon him at the appearing of Jesus Christ. A loss incalculable would it prove to gain the whole world, or all that the world can possibly give to its votaries in honours, in riches, and in pleasures; and after all to lose the soul. So said the lips of Divine truth itself, when our Lord Jesus Christ asked the important questions, What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?37 The folly of seeking our portion in this life will be most evident, when the Son of man shall appear in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then shall reward every man according to his works.38 This coming, or revelation of Jesus Christ, is described in the most solemn and awful language. It is said, The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with His mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. His coming will be to the terror of His adversaries ; but in that great and awful day He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.39
36 Col. i. 13.
37 Mark viii. 36, 37.
38 Matt. xvi. 27.
It is for this coming of our Lord Jesus Christ that the believer is waiting. He is assured that Christ will appear to the joy of His people. Of this coming of his Saviour, the apostle says, for the encouragement of believers, When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. The idea of the second coming of his Redeemer filled the mind of the beloved disciple with such holy rapture, that he exclaimed, in admiration of the love which had provided the means of salvation for fallen man, and had promised to put him in possession of it, Behold! what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.41 Did we look upon the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the manner in which it is represented to us in the holy scriptures, we should direct our expectations towards it with more ardent desire. It is the high privilege of those who have believed through grace to rejoice in hope of the glory of God; because a crown of glory that fadeth not
39 2 Thess. i. 7, 8, 10.
40 Col. iii. 4.
41 ] John iii. 1, 2.
away” is promised to all them that love the appearing of Jesus Christ; a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give them at that day. They are therefore exhorted to be looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.**
But, alas ! instead of living in expectation and hope of the rest that remaineth for the people of God; instead of believing that the promise will be fulfilled to us, that an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; therefore waiting all the days of our appointed time till our change come, having our minds set upon the heavenly inheritance of the saints of God; how prone are we to seek our rest in this world, and to leave that which is beyond the skies to future consideration and attention, to that awful hour when this world and all its concerns can no longer be looked upon as claiming our regard, because we are about to be called to part with it, and to be no longer seen upon earth. But how foolish and vain, how trifling and worthless do all the things of this present time appear, when those which are beyond it are realized to the
421 Peter v. 4. 432 Tim. iv.8. 44 Titus ii. 13,14. 45 2 Peteri.11,10.