10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
10. Decebat enim eum propter quem omnia, et per quem omnia, quum multos filios in gloriam adduceret, ducem salutis eorum per passiones consecrare.
11. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
11. Nam qui sanctificat et qui sanctificantur, ex uno omnes; propter quam causam non erubescit fratres ipsos vocare;
12. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
12. Dicens, Nuntiabo nomen tuum fratribus meis; in medio Ecclesiae canam te;
13. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
13. Et rursum, Ego ero fidens in ipso; et rursum, Ecce ego et pueri quos mihi dedit Deus.
10. For it became him, etc. His object is, to make Christ's humiliation to appear glorious to the godly; for when he is said to have been clothed with our flesh, he seems to be classed with the common order of men; and the cross brought him lower than all men. We must therefore take heed, lest Christ should be less esteemed, because he willingly humbled himself for us; and this is what is here spoken of. For the Apostle shows that this very thing ought to be deemed honorable to the Son of God, that he was by these means consecrated the Captain of our salvation.
He first assumes it as granted, that we ought to be satisfied with God's decree; for as all things are sustained by his power, so all things ought to serve to his glory. No betters cause, then, can be found out than the good pleasure of God. Such is the purport of the circumlocution which he employs, for whom, and by whom, are all things. He might by one word have named God; but his purpose was to remind us, that what is to be deemed best is that which he appoints, whose will and glory is the right end of all things.
It does not, however, appear as yet what he intends by saying, that it became Christ to be thus consecrated. But this depends on the ordinary way which God adopts in dealing with his own people; for his will is to exercise them with various trials, so that they may spend their whole life under the cross. It was hence necessary that Christ, as the firstbegotten, should by the cross be inaugurated into his supremacy, since that is the common lot and condition of all. This is the conforming of the head with the members, of which Paul speaks in Romans 8:29.
It is indeed a singular consolation, calculated to mitigate the bitterness of the cross, when the faithful hear, that by sorrows and tribulations they are sanctified for glory as Christ himself was; and hence they see a sufficient reason why they should lovingly kiss the cross rather than dread it. And when this is the case, then doubtless the reproach of the cross of Christ immediately disappears, and its glory shines forth; for who can despise what is sacred, nay, what God sanctifies? Who can deem that ignominious, by which we are prepared for glory? And yet both these things are said here of the death of Christ.
By whom are all things, etc. When creation is spoken of, it is ascribed to the Son as his own world, for by him were all things created; but here the Apostle means no other thing than that all creatures continue or are preserved by the power of God. What we have rendered consecrated, others have rendered made perfect. But as the word, teleiosai which he uses, is of a doubtful meaning, I think it clear that the word I leave adopted is more suitable to the context. For what is meant is the settled and regular way or method by which the sons of God are initiated, so that they may obtain their own honor, and be thus separated from the rest of the world; and then immediately sanctification is mentioned.
11. For both he that sanctifieth, etc. He proves that it was necessary that what he had said should be fulfilled in the person of Christ on account of his connection with his members; and he also teaches that it was a remarkable evidence of the divine goodness that he put on our flesh. hence he says, that they are all of one, that is, that the author of holiness and we are made partakers of it, are all of one nature, as I understated the expression. It is commonly understood of one Adam; and some refer it to God, and not without reasons; but I rather think that one nature is meant, and one I consider to be in the neuter gender, as though he had said, that they are made out of the same mass.
It avails not, indeed, a little to increase our confidence, that we are united to the Son of God by a bond so close, that we can find in our nature that holiness of which we are in want; for he not only as God sanctifies us, but there is also the power of sanctifying in his human nature, not that it has it from itself, but that God had poured upon it a perfect fullness of holiness, so that from it we may all draw. And to this point this sentence refers, |For their sakes I sanctify myself.| (John 17:19.) If, then we are sinful and unclean, we have not to go far to seek a remedy; for it is offered to us in our own flesh. If any one prefers to regard as intended here that spiritual unity which the godly have with the Son of God, and which differs much from that which men commonly have among themselves, I offer no objection, though I am disposed to follow what is more commonly received, as it is not inconsistent with reason.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren. This passage is taken from Psalm 22:22. That Christ is the speaker there, or David in his name, the evangelists do especially testify, for they quote from it many verses, such as the following, -- |They parted my garments,| -- |They gave gall for my meat,| -- |My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?| And further, the other parts of the chapter prove the same; for we may see in the history of the passion a delineation of what is there related. The end of the Psalm, which speaks of the calling of the Gentiles, can be applied to none but to Christ alone, |Turn to the Lord shall all the ends of the world; adore before him shall all the families of the nations,| -- |The Lord's is the kingdom, and he will reign over the nations.| These things are found accomplished only in Christ, who enlarged the kingdom of God not over a small space, as David did, but extended it over the whole world; it was before confined as it were within narrow limits. There is, then, no doubt but that his voice is what is referred to in this passage; and appropriately and suitably does he say that he is not ashamed; for how great is the distance between us and him? Much, then, does he let down himself, when he dignifies us with the name of brethren; for we are unworthy that he should deem us his servants. And this so great an honor conferred on us is amplified by this circumstance -- Christ does not speak here as a mortal man while in the form of a servant, but when elevated after the resurrection into immortal glory. Hence this title is the same, as though he had raised us into heaven with himself. And let us remember, whenever we hear that we are called brethren by Christ, that he has clothed us, so to speak, with this honor, that together with this fraternal name we may lay hold on eternal life and every celestial blessing.
We must further notice the office which Christ assumes, which is that of proclaiming the name of God; and this began to be done when the gospel was first promulgated and is now done daily by the ministry of pastors. We hence learn, that the gospel has been presented to us for this end, that we may be brought to the knowledge of God, in order that his goodness may be celebrated by us, and that Christ is the author of the gospel in whatever manner it may be offered to us. And this is what Paul says, for he declares that he and others were ambassadors for Christ; and he exhorted men as it were in the name of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20.) And this ought to add no small reverence to the gospel, since we ought not so much to consider men as speaking to us, as Christ by his own mouth; for at the time when he promised to publish God's name to men, he had ceased to be in the world; it was not however to no purpose that he claimed this office as his own; for he really performs it by his disciples.
12. In the midst of the Church. It hence appears plainly, that the proclamation of God's praises is always promoted by the teaching of the gospel; for as soon as God becomes known to us, his boundless praises sound in our hearts and in our ears; and at the same time Christ encourages us by his own example publicly to celebrate them, so that they may be heard by as many as possible. For it would not be sufficient for each one of us to thank God himself for benefits received, except we testify openly our gratitude, and thus mutually stimulate one another. And it is a truth, which may serve as a most powerful stimulant, and may lead us most fervently to praise God, when we hear that Christ leads our songs, and is the chief composer of our hymns.
13. I will put my trust in him, or, I will confide in him. As this sentence is found in Psalm 18:2, it was probably taken from that place; and Paul, in Romans 15:9, applies another verse to Christ respecting the calling of the Gentiles. In addition to this, it may be said that the general contents of that Psalm show clearly that David spoke in the person of another. There indeed appeared in David but a faint shadow of the greatness which is there set forth in terms so magnificent. He boasts that he was made the head of the heathens, and that even aliens and people unknown willingly surrendered themselves to him at the report of his name. David subdued a few neighboring and wellknown nations by the force of arms, and made them tributaries. But what was this to the extensive dominions of many other kings? And further, where was voluntary submission? Where were the people that were so remote that he knew them not? In short, where was the solemn proclamation of God's glory among the nations mentioned at the end of the Psalm? Christ then is he who is made head over many nations, to whom strangers from the utmost borders of the earth submit, and roused by hearing of him only; for they are not forced by arms to undertake his yoke, but being subdued by his doctrine, they spontaneously obey him.
There is also seen in the Church that feigned and false profession of religion, which is there referred to; for many daily profess the name of Christ, but not from the heart.
There is then no doubt but that the Psalm is rightly applied to Christ. But what has this to do with the present subject? For it seems not to follow that we and Christ are of one, in order that he might especially put his trust in God. To this I answer, that the argument is valid, because he would have no need of such trust, had he not been a man exposed to human necessities and wants. As then he depended on God's aid, his lot is the same with ours. It is surely not in vain or for nothing that we trust in God; for were we destitute of his grace, we should be miserable and lost. The trust then which we put in God, is an evidence of our helplessness. At the same time we differ from Christ in this -- the weakness which necessarily and naturally belongs to us he willingly undertook. But it ought not a little to encourage us to trust in God, that we have Christ as our leader and instructor; for who would fear to go astray while following in his steps? Nay, there is no danger that our trust should be useless when we have it in common with Christ; who, we know, cannot be mistaken.
Behold, I and the children, etc. It is indeed certain that Isaiah was speaking of himself; for when he gave hope of deliverance to the people, and the promise met with no credit, lest being broken down by the perverse unbelief of the people he should despond, the Lord bade him to seal the doctrine he had announced among a few of the faithful; as though he had said, that though it was rejected by the multitude, there would yet be a few who would receive it. Relying on this answer, Isaiah took courage, and declared that he and the disciples given to him would be ever ready to follow God. (Isaiah 8:18.)
Let us now see why the Apostle applied this sentence to Christ. First, what is found in the same place, that the Lord would become a rock of stumbling and a stone of offense to the kingdom of Israel and of Judas, will not be denied by any one of a sound mind, to have been fulfilled in Christ. And doubtless as the restoration from the Babylonian exile was a sort of prelude to the great redemption obtained by Christ for us and the fathers; so also the fact that so few among the Jews availed themselves of that kindness of God, that a small remnant only were saved, was a presage of their future blindness, through which it happened that they rejected Christ, and that they in turn were rejected by God, and perished. For we must observe that the promises extant in the Prophets respecting the restoration of the Church from the time the Jews returned from exile, extend to the kingdom of Christ, as the Lord had this end in view in restoring the people, that his Church might continue to the coming of his Son, by whom it was at length to be really established.
Since it was so, God not only addressed Isaiah, when he bade him to seal the law and the testimony, but also in his person all his ministers, who would have to contend with the unbelief of the people, and hence Christ above all, whom the Jews resisted with greater contumacy than all the former Prophets. And we see now that they who have been substituted for Israel, not only repudiate his Gospel, but also furiously assail him. But how much soever the doctrine of the Gospel may be a stone of stumbling to the household of the Church, it is not yet God's will that it should wholly fail; on the contrary, he bids it to be sealed among his disciples: and Christ, in the name of all his teachers as the head of them, yea, as the only true Teacher, who rules us by their ministry, declares that amidst this deplorable ingratitude of the world, there shall still be some always who shall be obedient to God.
See then how this passage may be fitly applied to Christ: the Apostle concludes, that we are one with him, because he unites us to himself, when he presents himself and us together to God the Father: for they form but one body who obey God under the same rule of faith. What could have been said more suitably to commend faith, than that we are by it the companions of the Son of God, who by his example encourages us and shows us the way? If then we follow the Word of God, we know of a certainty that we have Christ as our leader; but they belong not at all to Christ, who turn aside from his word. What, I pray, can be more desired than to agree with the Son of God? But this agreement or consent is in faith. Then by unbelief we disagree with him, than which nothing is a greater evil. The word |children|, which in many places is taken for servants, means here disciples.
Which God hath given me. Here is pointed out the primary cause of obedience, even that God has adopted us. Christ brings none to the Father, but those given him by the Father; and this donation, we know, depends on eternal election; for those whom the Father has destined to life, he delivers to the keeping of his Son, that he may defend them. This is what he says by John, |All that the Father has given me, will come to me.| (John 6:37.) That we then submit to God by the obedience of faith, let us learn to ascribe this altogether to his mercy; for otherwise we shall never be led to him by the hand of Christ. Besides, this doctrine supplies us with strong ground of confidence; for who can tremble under the guidance and protection of Christ? Who, while relying on such a keeper and guardian, would not boldly disregard all dangers? And doubtless, while Christ says, |Behold, I and the children,| he really fulfills what he elsewhere promises, that he will not suffer any of those to perish whom he has received from the Father. (John 10:28.)
We must observe lastly, that though the world with mad stubbornness reject the Gospel, yet the sheep ever recognize the voice of their shepherd. Let not therefore the impiety of almost all ranks, ages, and nations, disturb us, provided Christ gathers together his own, who have been committed to his protection. If the reprobate rush headlong to death by their impiety, in this way the plants which God has not planted are rooted up. (Matthew 15:13.) Let us at the same time know that his own are known to him, and that the salvation of them all is sealed by him, so that not one of them shall be lost. (2 Timothy 2:19.) Let us be satisfied with this seal.