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The Signs of an Apostle

The Signs of an Apostle

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Published by glennpease
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"And working together with Hitn we intreat also that ye receive
not the grace of God in vain (for He saith,

At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee,
And in a day of salvation did I succour thee :
behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of
salvation) : giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our
ministration be not blamed ; but in everything commending ourselves,
as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,
in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in
watchings, in fastings ; in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering,
in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of
truth, in the power of God ; by the armour of righteousness on the
right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonour, by evil report and
good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well
known ; as dying, and behold, we live ; as chastened, and not killed ;
as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich;
as having nothing, and^>«/ possessing all tilings.

" Our mouth is open unto you, O Corinthians, our heart is enlarged.
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own
affections. Now for a recompense in like kind (I speak as unto my
children), be ye also enlarged." — 2 Cor. vi. 1-13 (R.V.),
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



"And working together with Hitn we intreat also that ye receive
not the grace of God in vain (for He saith,

At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee,
And in a day of salvation did I succour thee :
behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of
salvation) : giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our
ministration be not blamed ; but in everything commending ourselves,
as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,
in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in
watchings, in fastings ; in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering,
in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of
truth, in the power of God ; by the armour of righteousness on the
right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonour, by evil report and
good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well
known ; as dying, and behold, we live ; as chastened, and not killed ;
as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich;
as having nothing, and^>«/ possessing all tilings.

" Our mouth is open unto you, O Corinthians, our heart is enlarged.
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own
affections. Now for a recompense in like kind (I speak as unto my
children), be ye also enlarged." — 2 Cor. vi. 1-13 (R.V.),

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 06, 2013
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THE SIGS OF A APOSTLEBY JAMES DEEY, B.D."And working together with Hitn we intreat also that ye receivenot the grace of God in vain (for He saith,At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee,And in a day of salvation did I succour thee :behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation) : giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that ourministration be not blamed ; but in everything commending ourselves,as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, inwatchings, in fastings ; in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering,in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God ; by the armour of righteousness on theright hand and on the left, by glory and dishonour, by evil report andgood report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet wellknown ; as dying, and behold, we live ; as chastened, and not killed ;as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich;as having nothing, and^>«/ possessing all tilings." Our mouth is open unto you, O Corinthians, our heart is enlarged.Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your ownaffections. ow for a recompense in like kind (I speak as unto mychildren), be ye also enlarged." — 2 Cor. vi. 1-13 (R.V.),TH E ministry of the Gospel is a ministry of recon-ciliation ; the preacher of the Gospel is primarilyan evangelist. He has to proclaim that wonderfulgrace of God which made peace between heaven andearth through the blood of the Cross, and he has tourge men to receive it. Until this is done, there is224
 
vi. 1-13.] THE SIGS OF A APOSTLE t2$nothing else that he can do. But when sinful menhave welcomed the glad tidings, when they have con-sented to accept the peace bought for them with sogreat a price, when they have endured to be forgivenand restored to God's favour, not for what they are,nor for what they are going to be, but solely for whatChrist did for them on the cross, then a new situationis created, and the minister of the Gospel has a newtask. It is to that situation St. Paul addresses himself here. Recognising the Corinthians as people reconciledto God by the death of His Son, he entreats them notto receive the grace of God in vain. He does so,according to our Bibles, as a fellow-worker with God.This is probably right, though some would take the wordas in chap. i. 24, and make it mean " as fellow-workerswith you." But it is more natural, when we look towhat precedes, to think that St. Paul is here identifyinghimself with God's interest in the world, and that hespeaks out of the proud consciousness of doing so." All is of God," in the great work of redemption ; butGod does not disdain the sympathetic co-operation of men whose hearts He has touched.But what is meant by receiving the grace of God invain, or to no purpose ? That might be done in aninfinite variety of ways, and in reading the words foredification we naturally grasp at any clue suggested byour circumstances. An expositor is bound to seek hisclue rather in the circumstances of the Corinthians ; andif we have regard to the general tenor of this Epistle,and especially to such a passage as chap. xi. 4, weshall find the true interpretation without difficulty.Paul has explained his Gospel — his proclamation of Jesus as Universal Redeemer in virtue of His dyingthe sinner's death, and as Universal Lord in virtue of 
 
15226 THE SECOD EPISTLE TO THE CORITHIASHis resurrection from the dead — so explicitly, becausehe fears lest through the influence of some false teacherthe minds of the Corinthians should be corrupted fromthe simplicity that is toward Christ. It would bereceiving the grace of God in vain, if, after receivingthose truths concerning Christ which he had taughtthem, they were to give up his Gospel for another inwhich these truths had no place. This is what hedreads and deprecates, both in Corinth and Galatia :the precipitate removal from the grace of Christ toanother Gospel which is no Gospel at all, but asubversion of the truth. This is what he means byreceiving the grace of God in vain.There are some minds to which this will not beimpressive, some to which it will only be provoking.It will seem irrelevant and pithless to those who takefor granted the finality of the distinction betweenreligion and theology, or between the theory, as it iscalled, and the fact of the Atonement. But for St. Paul,as for all sufficiently earnest and vigorous minds, thereis a point at which these distinctions disappear. Acertain theory is seen to be essential to the fact, acertain theology to be the constitutive force in thereligion. The death of Christ was what it was to himonly because it was capable of a certain interpretation :his theory of it, if we choose to put it so, gave it itspower over him. The love of Christ constrained him" because he thus judged " — i.e., because he construedit to his intelligence in a way which showed it to beirresistible. If these interpretations and constructionsare rejected, it must not be in the name of " fact " asopposed to " theory," but in the name of other inter-

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