SAINTS: Gr "hagios", the holy ones! (Always appears in
the plural in the NT: no individual is spoken of as a "saint", singular; but all
believers are "saints", collectively, in Christ!) As God "set apart" or
"sanctified" or "made holy" His people in Egypt (Exo 13:2; Lev 11:44), so NT
believers were "made holy" in Christ.
All believers are "saints" through their spiritual union with
Christ, a fact Paul often expressed by the phrase "in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1,2;
Eph 2:6,10,13; 3:6) or "in Christ" (Rom 12:5; 2Co 5:17). This use of the term
emphasizes not so much personal holiness, though the believer's conduct should
correspond increasingly to his standing (2Co 7:1; 2Th 5:23), but the objective
"set apart" status each believer possesses because of the grace conferred upon
him or her through Christ.
"I do not think we can ever do better in writing or speaking
than to be practically followers of Paul as he was a follower of Christ. How
excellent a beginning he makes of this second letter to the Corinthians. After
stating who the letter is from and to whom it is addressed, he salutes the
latter thus: 'Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord
Jesus Christ.' There is great sweetness about that salutation. It is not an
empty form of words; it is a genuine wish on the part of Paul, that grace and
favour might rest on those to whom he was writing, and that peace might remain
with them; peace from two sources which are yet one; God the Father, the
Creator, the supreme head of the universe, and the Lord Jesus, who is the
appointed channel of His dealings with our fallen race; peace outflowing from
them in the tranquilizing influence of Divine favour; a real peace which none
can invade, as saith the Scripture: 'When He giveth quietness, who then can make
trouble, and when He hideth His face, who shall behold Him, whether it be done
against a nation or against a man only?' [Job 34:29]" (SC 30).
"Our Father in heaven" (Mat 6:9); "Father of glory" or
"glorious Father" (Eph 1:17); "Father of compassion" (2Co 1:3); "Father of
spirits" (Heb 12:9); "Father of the heavenly lights" (Jam 1:17); "a Father to
you" (2Co 6:18); "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 15:6).
"Godliness comes from trouble where the knowledge of God
exists for the trouble to act on. There is nothing like trouble for clearing the
spiritual eye. There is nothing like trouble for weakening all carnal
affinities, and leading the mind to seek God, and to rest on His Word, and build
on His promises" (RR).
"Partakers" / "sharers": of root and fatness of olive tree
(Rom 11:17), of spiritual things (Rom 15:27), of one bread (1Co 10:17), of
sufferings and consolation (2Co 1:7), of God's promise in Christ (Eph 3:6), of
inheritance of saints (Col 1:12), of heavenly calling (Heb 3:1), of Christ (Heb
3:14), of the benefit (1Ti 6:2), of the glory (1Pe 5:1), and of the divine
nature (2Pe 1:4).
IN THE PROVINCE OF ASIA: The "trouble" which Paul
experienced in Asia is described in Acts 19:23: the time that Paul was in
UNDER GREAT PRESSURE, FAR BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO ENDURE:
"So utterly, unbearably crushed" (RSV).
Cit Jer 17:5,7: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who
depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD...
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him." The
context in Jeremiah stresses the need of having the law in the heart because the
human mind is wicked. So Paul continues in v 12 by emphasizing the need to avoid
the wisdom of this world, picking up the problem he previously discussed in
Paul's letters were a "part" which would eventually make up
the "perfection", or fullness, of God's revelation (1Co 13:8-13).
DID I DO IT LIGHTLY?: Or, "was I vacillating?"
A WORLDLY MANNER...: 'Do you think I am like a man of
the world, to say one thing and then do another?'
AMEN: The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was
transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the NT, then into
Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a
universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word
is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for
"believe" (aman), or "faithful." Thus, it came to mean "sure" or truly," an
expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates
his faith by an "amen." When God makes a promise, the believer's response is
"amen" -- "so it will be!" In the NT, it is often translated "verily" or
"truly." When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will
answer, so we close with an "amen," and so also do we conclude a great hymn or
anthem of praise and faith.
The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of His
letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the
glorified Lord: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the
beginning of the creation of God" (Rev 3:14).
We can be preeminently certain that His Word is always
faithful and true, because He is none other than the Creator of all things, and
thus He is our eternal "Amen." As 2Co 1:20 reminds us, every promise of God in
Christ is "yea and amen," as strong an affirmation of truth as can be expressed
in the Greek language.
It is, therefore, profoundly meaningful that the entire Bible
loses with an "amen." "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen"
(Rev 22:21), assuring everyone who reads these words that the whole Book is
absolutely true and trustworthy. Amen.