For the Son of God, Jesus Christ
The apostle having asserted that the Gospel preached by them was not yea and nay, variable and different, or what was affirmed at one time was denied at another, proceeds to point out the subject of the Gospel ministry,
the Son of God, Jesus Christ;
that Christ is "the Son of God": this article he began his ministry with, ( Acts 9:20 ) , and all the apostles affirmed the same thing; and which is of the greatest moment and importance, and ought to be abode by, insisted on, and frequently inculcated; as that he is the eternal Son of God, existed as such from everlasting, is of the same nature, and has the same perfections with his Father; and therefore is able to destroy the works of the devil, for which he was manifested in the flesh, and every way equal to the business of redemption, which he has finished; and having passed into the heavens under this character, is a powerful advocate with the Father; and which renders him a sure foundation for the church, and a proper object of faith: that the Son of God is Christ, anointed to bear and execute the office of a mediator in the several parts and branches of it; a prophet to teach his people, a priest to make atonement and intercession for them, and a King to govern and protect them: and that the Son, who is become the Lord's Christ, is Jesus, a Saviour; and that salvation is alone by him, to which he was appointed from eternity, and was sent in the fulness of time to effect it; and by his obedience, sufferings, and death, is become the author of it, and is the only able, willing, and suitable Saviour for poor sinners. This is the principal subject and strain of the Gospel ministry; and which makes it good news, and glad tidings to lost perishing sinners. The agreement between the faithful ministers of the Gospel is here plainly hinted,
who was preached among you by us, even by me, and Silvanus and
These ministers being mentioned by the apostle with himself, shows his humility in putting them on a level with himself; and his modesty and candour in not monopolizing the Gospel to himself, but allowing others to be preachers of it as well as he: and his design herein seems to be for the confirmation of the Gospel, and to show that he was not singular and alone, and could not be blamed by them, without blaming others; and chiefly to express the harmony and unanimity of Gospel preachers. The prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New, agreed in all the doctrines and truths of the Gospel; so did the apostles themselves; and so all faithful dispensers of the word have in all different times and places agreed, and still do agree; which serves greatly to corroborate the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel being faithfully preached by these persons,
was not yea and nay;
it had no contradiction in it; each part agreed together, was entirely harmonious, and consistent. Their doctrine was, that Christ is the Son of God, truly and properly God; that he took upon him the office of a Mediator, and executes it; that he is the only Saviour of sinners; that God has chosen a certain number of men in Christ before the foundation of the world, has made a covenant with them in Christ, and blessed them in him; that Christ has redeemed them by his blood; that these are regenerated by the Spirit and grace of Christ, are justified by his righteousness, and shall finally persevere, and be partakers of eternal life; which is all of a piece, and in it no yea and nay. Yea and nay doctrines are particular election, the possibility of the salvation of the non-elect, the salvability of all men, and universal redemption; justification by faith, and, as it were, by the works of the law; conversion, partly by grace, and partly by the will of man; preparatory works, offers, and days of grace; and final perseverance made a doubt of: but such is not the true ministry of Christ and his apostles,
but in him was yea;
the Gospel, as in Christ, and as it comes from him, and has been preached by his apostles, and faithful ministers, is all of a piece; its constant and invariable strain, and by which it may be known and distinguished, is, to display the free, rich, and sovereign grace of God, to magnify and exalt the person and offices of Christ, to debase the creature, and to engage persons to the performance of good works, on Gospel principles, and by Gospel motives, and for right ends. The apostle using those words, "yea and nay", conforms to the language of the Jews, his countrymen, who to magnify their doctors and Rabbins, and to raise their credit, say such things of them;
``"yea, yea", are the words of the house or school of Shammai; (Nh Nh) , "yea, yea", are the words of the school of Hillell F2.''And in another place F3;
``the receiving and giving, or the dealings of a disciple of a wise man, are in truth and faithfulness. He says, (Nh Nh) (lew wal wal le) , "concerning nay, nay, and concerning yea, yea".''
But what is here said better agrees with the principles and practices of the disciples and followers of Christ.
F2 T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 20. 1.
F3 Maimon. Hilch. Dayot, c. 5. sect. 13.