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88. In the next words a special reason is assigned of this merciful ability of our High Priest: “but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” The particle (de) but, is contradictory to what was before denied; he is not such a one as cannot be affected; “but,” one who was himself tempted; that is, he can be affected with a sense of our infirmities, because he was tempted. (IIeteipe u evov) tempted; that is, tried, exercised; for no more doth the word originally import. Whatever moral evil is in temptation, proceeds from the depraved invention of the tempter, or from the sinful weakness of the tempted. In itself, and ma. terially considered, it is but a trial which may have a good or bad effect. “Every way,” (nelle nevie) in all things; that is, from all means and instruments of temptations, by all ways of it, and in all things wherein as our High Priest he was concerned. “Like as we are,” (uco" omolorid, secundum similitudinem) in like manner: there is a plain reference to the temptation of others; for whatever is like, is of necessity like a somewhat else, something that answers it; that is, trials and temptations of believers, what press on them by reason of their weakness. (Xwpis que ceplies) without sin; sin, with respect to temptation, may be considered, either as the principle, or the effect of it; in the first sense men are tempted to sin, by sin itself; to actual, by habitual sin; to outward, by indwelling sin, James i, 14, 15, and this is the greatest source of our temptations. In the second sense, sin is what temptation tends to; what it designs and produceth. Now in what respect was our High Priest tempted “without sin?” If the denial of sin relate to the former, then the apostle preserves in us due apprehensions of the purity and holiness of Christ, that we may not imagine he was liable to any temptations to sin from within. If the latter
be intended, then all success of temptation upon our High Priest is denied. We are tempted by Satan, the world, and our own lusts, that constantly aim to bring us more or less to sin and guilt, and their temptation, especially if vigorous and pressing, hath, alas! too often its hateful effect. It was quite otherwise with our High Priest; whatever temptation he was exposed to, or exercised with, had not, in the least degree, any bad effect on him; he was still, in all things, absolutely "without sin.” Now the exception being absolute, I see no reason why it should not be applied to sin in both respects. He neither was tempted by sin, such was the holiness of his nature; nor did his temptation produce any sin, such was the perfection of his obedi
$9. “Let us therefore come boldly Seeing we have an High Priest, such a one as we have described; (u posePXojede) let us come; the word hath respect to the access, either of the people with their sacrifices to the altar, or of the priests to the holy place, with prayers and supplications; (uelà Treppysías) with boldness. This, as it hath a special opposition to the vail that was on the Jews, and is to this day, keeping them in darkness and fear, denotes boldness and confidence of mind, freedom from fear, shame, and discouragements. There are therefore two things that the apostle would have us delivered from, in our drawing near to the throne of grace with our prayers and supplications, on account of our High Priest.
1. A spirit of bondage working fear, which was upon the people under the Old Testament in the worship of God. Christ was made under the law, to deliver us from the dread and bondage of it; whereby also we receive “the adoption of children,” and therewith “the Spirit of Christ.” We draw near to God
with the liberty,—the unshaken (though respectful) boldness, and ingenuousness of children, crying, “Abba Father," with the genuine actions of faith and love.
2. A disbelief of acceptance arising from a sense of our own unworthiness. From an apprehension of God's greatness and terror there arises a dread in persons under the law, and from the consideration of their own vileness, there arises a distrust in sinners accompanied with fear and despondency, as if there were no hope for them. This also the apostle would remove on the account of the priesthood of Christ.
$10. (Tw Apova TMS Xepilos) To the throne of grace. A “throne” is the place from whence judgment is exercised, and mercy administered; and therefore our coming to God, in his worship, for grace or mercy, is said to be coming to his throne. Or, there may be an allusion to the mercy-seat which, being laid on the ark with a coronet of gold round about it, and shadowed with the cherubim, was the "throne," or seat of God in that most solemn representation of his presence among his people. For that which the apostle calls here our “coming to the throne of grace," he chap. x, 19, expresseth by “drawing nigh with boldness unto the holiest;" the place where the ark and mercy-seat were placed. The Lord Christ is not proposed as the object of our coming to the throne of grace, but as the means of it; “through him we have an access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Eph. ii, 18, On account of his undertaking for us, the atonement he hath made, his appearance before God on our behalf, we may come in his name with confidence of acceptance to the throne of God; that is, to God as gracious in Christ; as exercising grace and mercy towards them who, through the Lord Jesus, come unte him.
$11. (Ive AsBwLev neov) “That we may receive mercy;" the word (repbevw) doth sometimes signify to "obtain,” to acquire; and so by most interpreters it is here rendered, (ut obtineamus, ut consequamur) as by ours; but the first and most usual signification of the word is only to “receive,” or take; and I see no reason why that sense of it may not be most proper in this place. For the apostle seems to intimate that mercy is prepared for us; only our access to God by Christ with boldness is required to our being made actual partakers of it. And this answers his prescription of boldness, or spiritual confidence, in our approaches to the throne of grace for receiving that mercy which through Christ, is already prepared for
“That we may receive (Eneos) mercy;" which must intend the principle or cause of our assistance and deliverance. In short, to "obtain mercy,” is to be made partakers of gracious help and support from the kindness and benignity of God in Christ, when we are in straits and distresses, which springs indeed from the same root with pardoning grace, and is therefore called “mercy.”
$12. (Kul xapiy eupwjlev) “And that we may find grace;" or rather obtain grace; for so is the word often used. And to "obtain grace,” implies, to find or obtain favor or favorable acceptance with God, particularly with a view to that special assistance, which upon particular addresses to him we obtain; which is farther determined by the next words: (EIS Boybélev EU Xuspos) “for help in time of need,” that is, succor and aid afforded to any upon their cry. (čīv
(២ εις βοην) EIS Bonu) to run in to assist upon the cry of any, is the original and genuine signification. And this help is (EU Xuspos) seasonable, in its proper time or season, Prov. xv, 23, “A word in its time, or its season, how good
it is?” “Help,” that is, fit, suitable, “seasonable,”—on the part of God that gives it, of the persons that receive it, of the time wherein it is afforded, and of the end for which it is bestowed—is intended by the word. This kind of help, it becometh the wisdom and greatness of God to give; and it is an impression on the minds of men by nature, that such kind of help is from God. Grace therefore effectual for our assistance, “in every time of need," upon our cry to God in Christ, is here intended.
$13. (II.) Obs. 1. Great opposition will be made to the permanency of believers in their profession. This the word of exhortation to it plainly intimates. (injecta manu fortiter retinere) “to lay hold of a thing, and to retain it with all our might,” as if it were ready every moment to be taken from us with a violent and strong hand. It is to keep a thing as a man keeps his treasure, when it is ready to be seized on by thieves and robbers. This argues great opposition, and no small hazard. So our Savior informs us, Mat. vii, 25. When men hear, they "build an house” by profession; and when this house is built, the rains will descend, and the floods will come, and the winds will blow and beat upon it: profession will be assaulted and pressed by all manner of hazardous and dangerous oppositions; and if this house be not well secured, it will fall, if our profession be not well guarded, it will be lost. What our Lord Jesus told Peter with respect to this very matter, holds true concerning all professors. When he ventured to speak with much confidence, (from present convictions of duty, no doubt, and resolution for its performance, that he would abide in his profession) and “never forsake him,” whatever other men might do; our Lord answers him, “Simon,