Scripture Notes


John 17:16.

Two considerations will enable us to comprehend the import of our Lord's words in this scripture. They both flow from verse 6, where we learn, first, that the disciples (as also all believers) had been given to Christ "out of the world." This was doubtless accomplished on earth; but John 6:37 makes it plain, in our judgment, that the gift is a reference to the Father's eternal counsels of grace, and hence that the full sense of the statement is that believers were given to Christ in a past eternity. (Compare Ephesians 1:3-5.) The second consideration arises from the words, "I have manifested Thy name"; for the Lord surveys His own in this chapter from the height of His own thoughts, looking upon them, as He does, in the power and blessedness of the truth, the revelation of the Father, which He had communicated. Only as thus regarded could He have prayed, "Holy Father, keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are." They are viewed, therefore, in their new position and relationship, inasmuch as they are said to have received the words which the Lord had given to them from the Father, "and," as He said, "have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me." As then in association with. Christ before the Father, as being in the Son and the Son in them (chap. 14:20), they were not of the world, even as He was not of the world. Seen from the side of the Father's eternal gift to Christ, it might be said they were never "of the world"; but regarded as to their actual circumstances they were "of the world" until grace visited their souls, and called them out of darkness into God's marvellous light. The meaning of the phrase itself, "not of the world," is that they were not of the world as to origin and character. Their new nature and life were heavenly. Thus, in chapter 8:23, the Lord says to the Jews, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."


1 Peter 2:12.

It is a characteristic of Scripture that the meaning of any particular phrase can only be discovered from the context. That is, it does not follow because the purport of any special words has been ascertained in one place, that you must attach the same significance to them in another. For example, the words in Luke 19:44, "The time of thy visitation," undoubtedly mean the day of grace for Jerusalem through the presence and testimony of our blessed Lord. It was the opportunity for blessing, and hence the Lord's lament, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things [which belong] unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." When, however, we come to Peter's words, "The day of visitation," the thought is rather that of judgment, and not of grace, whatever may be the effects, gracious or otherwise, of the "visitation" upon the subjects of it. As another has written, "In the day when God would visit men, these calumniators, with their will broken and their pride subdued by the visitation of God, should be brought to confess - by means of the good works which, in spite of their calumnies, had always reached their consciences - that God had acted in these Christians, that He had been present among them." It is not a question, we apprehend, of any particular time or day; but rather any time when God might intervene and make bare His arm before the eyes of men, compelling them, in whatever way, to glorify Himself and to justify His people. The same principle is seen in the Lord's word to Philadelphia: "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."