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1 Acts ii. 2287.
reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 91 of sin, because they believe not on me;
We have here, in a few deep and wonderful words, the work of the Spirit on the world set forth. This work He shall begin when He is come,-come, that is, to you: not, however, merely by your means,' but personally so that it is not the work and witness of the Apostles which is spoken of, except in so far as they are servants of the Holy Spirit, but His own immediate personal working. 8. will convict] It is difficult to give in one word the deep meaning of the original term: 'convince' approaches perhaps near to it, but does not express the double sense, which is manifestly here intended—of a convincing unto salvation, and a convicting unto condemnation :-'reprove' is far too weak, conveying merely the idea of an outward rebuke, whereas this reaches into the heart, and works inwardly in both the above-mentioned ways. See the whole question amply discussed in Archdeacon Hare's "Mission of the Comforter," vol. ii. note K.
Lücke's comment is valuable : "The testimony of the Holy Ghost in behalf of Christ as opposed to the unbelieving world (ch. xv. 26) is essentially a refutation, a demonstration of its wrong and error. All the apostolic preaching, as addressed to the world, takes necessarily this polemical form (1 Tim. v. 20; 2 Tim. iv. 2; iii. 16; Titus i. 9, 13; ii. 15). And the more difficult was the disciples' conflict against the power of this world with only the Word for their weapon, the more comfort was it for them, that the power of God the Spirit working by this refutation was their help. In Matt. x. 19, 20; Luke xii. 11, 12, the apologetic side of their conflict, which was in close connexion with the polemical, is brought into view. In the word here used is always implied the refutation, the overcoming of an error, a wrong, - by the truth and the right. And when, by means of the "refutation the truth detects the error, and the right the wrong, so that a man becomes conscious of them, then arises the feeling of guilt, which is ever painful. Thus every such "refutation" is a chastening, a punishment. And hence this office has been called the punitive office of the Spirit. The effect of the "refutation" carried on by the divine Spirit in the world may be to harden: but its aim is the deliverance of the world. This term the world, in John, includes those who are not yet
delivered (from the power of Satan to God) who may be yet delivered,-not the condemned. If the “refutation" of the world is a moral process, its result may just as well be conversion, as non-conversion. Only thus did the refutation carried on by the Spirit answer the end of Christ's coming ;only thus could it be a cheering support to the Apostles. Certainly, the judgment with which it closes is condemnation, not however of the world, but of the Prince of the world.' De Wette denies the salutary side of this convicting process— but he is certainly wrong: see below. These three words, sin, righteousness, judgment, comprehend the three great steps of advance in spiritual truth among men. Of itself the world does not know what Sin is, what Righteousness is, what Judgment is. Nor can either of these be revealed to any man, except by the Spirit of God working within him. Each man's conscience has some glimmering of light on each of these; some consciousness of guilt, some sense of right, some power of judgment of what is transitory and worthless: but all these are unreal and unpractical, till the convicting work of the Spirit has wrought in him. 9.] And
the great opening of Sin to the world is to shew them that its root and essence is, unbelief in Christ as the Son of God. UNBELIEF:- -for, mankind being alien from God by nature, the first step towards their recovery must be to lay hold on that only safety which He has provided for them; and that laying hold is faith, and the not doing it, when revealed and placed before them, is sin. Beforetime, it was also unbelief;-The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God:'-but now,-for we can only believe as God has revealed Himself, it is unbelief in Christ the Son of God,-the having no desire to come to Him: see this pointedly asserted 1 John v. 10-12. Remember, this unbelief is not a mere want of historical faith,-but unbelief in its very root,-the want of a personal and living recognition of Jesus as the Lord (1 Cor. xii. 3), which, wherever the Spirit has opened His commission' by the planting of the visible Church, is the condemning sin of the world. Of this He shall convince those who are brought out of the world, and ultimately convict those who remain in it and die in their sins (see Hare, "Mission of the Comforter,"
righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me m Acts xxvi. no more; 11 m of judgment, because "the prince of this n Luke x. 18. world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them he, P the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into
Z render, behold.
vol. ii. note Q). 10.] The right eousness here spoken of cannot be only the righteousness of Christ, the mere conviction of which would only bring condemnation to that world which rejected and crucified Him: but as Stier remarks rightly, the conviction of the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment must be concerning a sin that is theirs, a righteousness that is (or, in the case of condemnation might have been) theirs, a judgment which is theirs (see below). Then what is the world's righteousness? Not their own, but that of the accepted Man Christ Jesus standing at the right hand of God (seen by us no more, but by that very withdrawal testified to be the Son of God, THE RIGHTEOUS ONE), manifested in the hearts of men by the Spirit to be their only righteousness; and thereby that righteousness, which they had of their own before, is demonstrated to be worthless, and as filthy rags. It is His going to the Father by which this righteousness is assured to us, and by the effect of which, the Spirit, the conviction respecting it is wrought in our hearts. The condemnatory side of this part of the Spirit's work of conviction is,-that remorse, wherewith they whose day of grace is past shall look on the perfect righteousness which might have been theirs, and on the miserable substitute with which they contented themselves.
11. As the righteousness spoken of was the world's righteousness, and the convicting them of it was the manifesting to them how worthless it (their righteousness after its old conception) was of their own by nature, but how perfect and complete it (the same as now newly and more worthily apprehended) is in and by Christ, so now the judgment spoken of is the world's judgment :-on the one side, their judgment or estimate, or discrimination of things,-on the other side, God's judgment, to which it is opposed. This their judgment by nature they form in subjection to the prince of this world, the Devil, of whose power they are not conscious, and whose existence they even deny but the Spirit of God shall convict this judgment of wrong;-shall shew
ch. xii. 31. Eph. ii. 2. Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14.
13 Howbeit when
Mark iv. 33.
q ch. xiv. 26.
1 Cor. iii. 2.
Heb. v. 12.
p ch. xiv. 17: xv. 26.
1 John ii. 20, 27.
a render, hath been.
them how erroneous and destructive it is, and what a bondage they have been under; -shall detect to them the Prince of this world reigning in the children of disobedience, and give them a better judgment, by which they shall not be ignorant of his devices' (2 Cor. ii. 11). But this better judgment itself is that very truth of God manifested in the Lord Jesus, by which (ch. xii. 31) the Prince of this world is cast out;-by which the follower of Christ is enabled to say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan;' by which the unbelieving world, and its Prince, are finally condemned in the judgment hereafter. I have preferred giving pointedly what I believe to be the sense of this most important passage, to stringing together a multitude of opinions on it: seeing that of even the best Commentators no two bring out exactly the same shade of meaning, and thus classification is next to impossible. It will be seen that in my view the subjective (internal, acting in and on the mind of its subject) and objective (external, viewed from without, belonging to the object regarded, not to him who regards it) bearing of the three words are both to be kept in sight, and that the great convictive work of the Spirit is to bring man OUT OF HIMSELF INTO CHRIST, Who (in His objective manifestation) must be made unto him (subjectively), 1. redemption, 2. righteousness, 3. wisdom (the fourth, sanctification, not being here treated of, as being another part of the Spirit's work, and on those who are no longer "the world," see ch. xvii. 16, 17); and to condemn those who remain in the world finally, in all these points, as having rejected Christ. And this convictive work of the Spirit is a complex and progressive work; including the ministry of the Apostles, and every step taken towards divine truth in the history of the Church, as well as the conversion of individuals, and condemnation of the unbelieving.
12.] The many things which our Lord does not say to them are, the things belonging to "all the truth" in the next verse, which were gradually unfolded, after the Ascension, by the Spirit. 13.] he,
r Matt. xi. 27.
ball truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall d shew it unto you. 15 All things that xiii. 8: xvii. the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he f shall s ver. 10. ch. take of mine, and shall d shew it unto you. 16 s A little shall not see me and again, a little while,
ch. iii. 35:
vii. 33 xiii.
35: xiv. 19. while, and ye
b render, all the truth.
© render, he shall tell you the things to come.
fread and render, receiveth.
8 render, no longer behold me:
emphatical, as in ver. 8: see note, ch. vii.
No promise of universal
he shall hear] from God, the Father
• render, for this cause.
Son declaring the truth, for He shall shew forth the glory of Christ, by revealing the matters of Christ,-the riches of the Father's love in him (ver. 15).
verse is decisive against all additions and pretended revelations subsequent to and besides Christ; it being the work of the Spirit to testify to and declare THE THINGS OF CHRIST; not any thing new and beyond Him. And this declaration is coincident with inward advance in the likeness and image of Christ (2 Cor. iii. 17, 18), not with a mere external development. 15.] Here we have given us
a glimpse into the essential relations of the Blessed Trinity. The Father hath given the Son to have life and all things in Himself (Col. i. 19; ii. 2, 3), the relation being, that the Son glorifies not Himself but the Father, by revealing the Father, whom He alone knows (Matt. xi. 27). And this Revelation, the Revelation of the Father by Christ-is carried on by the blessed Spirit in the hearts of the disciples of Christ; Who receives (i. e. whose Office it is to receive) of the things of Christ, and declares, proclaims, to them.
for this cause I (rightly) said... i. e. this was the ground of My asserting' not the reason why it was said, but the justification of it when said. This verse contains the plainest proof by inference of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
16-24.] The Lord speaks of His withdrawal, and its immediate mournful, but ultimate (and those soon to begin) joyful consequences for His disciples.
connexion is: Very soon will the Spirit,
and ye shall see me [i: because I go to the Father]. ver. 28. ch. 17k Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye 1 shall not see me and again, a little while, and ye shall see me and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, m A little while? we n cannot tell what he saith. 19 [i Now] Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, • Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye 1 shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: [and] ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into
joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, x Isa. xxvi. 17.
m render, This little while.
n render, know not of what he speaketh.
• render, Is it concerning this that ye enquire among yourselves, because I said.
first referring merely to physical, the
The promise of seeing Him after a
19.] The real difficulty being in
the "little while," our Lord applies him-
not merely changed for joy, but changed
A woman] The original
y ver. 6.
because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered
z Luke xxlv. heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
41, 52. ch.
xiv. 1, 27:
xx. 20. Acts ii. 46: xiii.
52. 1 Pet.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father
a Matt. vii. 7 in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have
ch. xiv. 13:
b ch. xv. 11.
nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you
a render, her joy.
I read, with the most weighty ancient authorities, If ye shall ask the Father any thing, he will give it you in my name. 8 render, made full, filled.
has the definite article, the woman. This is said by some Commentators to be in allusion to the frequent use and notoriety of the comparison. We often have it in the O. T.,-s -see Isa. xxi. 3; xxvi. 17, 18; xxxvii. 3; lxvi. 7, 8: Hos. xiii. 13, 14: Mic. iv. 9, 10. when she is in travail] literally, is bringing forth. The deeper reference of the comparison has been well described by Olshausen: Here arises the question, how are we to understand this similitude? We might perhaps think that the suffering Manhood of Christ was the woman in her pangs, and the same Christ glorified in the Resurrection, the Man born; but the Redeemer (ver. 22) applies the pangs to the disciples: how then will the "man" who is born apply to them?' Then, after condemning the shallow and unsatisfactory method of avoiding deep research by asserting that the details of parables are not
to be interpreted, he proceeds: Hence the proper import of the figure seems to be, that the Death of Jesus Christ was as it were an anguish of birth belonging to all Humanity, in which the perfect Man was born into the world; and in this very birth of the new man lies the spring of eternal joy, never to be lost, for all, inasmuch as through Him and His power the renovation of the whole is rendered possible.' And indeed the same is true of every Christian who is planted in the likeness of Christ. His passing from sorrow to joy-till Christ be formed in him,' is this birth of pain. And the whole Church, the Spouse of Christ,-nay, even the whole Creation, travaileth in pain together (Rom. viii. 23) till the number of the elect be accomplished, and the eternal
joy brought in. 22.] I will see you again-in the same manifold meaning as before noticed-will see you-at My Resurrection-by My Spirit-at My second Advent. 23.] that day, in its full meaning, cannot import the forty days: for, Acts i. 6, they did then ask the Lord questions-nor this present dispensation of the Spirit, during which we have only the firstfruits, but not the full understanding so as not to need to ask any thing; (for is not prayer itself an asking?)--but that great completion of the Christian's hope, when he shall be with his Lord, when all doubt shall be resolved, and prayer shall be turned into praise. The Resurrectionvisiting, and the Pentecost-visiting of them, were but foretastes of this. Stier well remarks, The connexion of the latter part of this verse is,-the way to asking nothing any more, is to ask and to pray the more diligently, till that day comes.' It has been supposed wrongly that the words me and the Father are in opposition in this verse, and thence gathered that it is not lawful to address prayer to Christ. But such an opposition is contrary to the whole spirit of these discourses,-and asking the Father in Christ's name, is in fact asking HIM.
In the latter clause, notice the right reading, He will give it you in my name, He being the element, the region, of all communication between God and the Church. Compare Rom. i. 8, where thanks are offered through Jesus Christ. 24.] It was impossible, up to the time of the glorification of Jesus, to pray to the Father in His Name. It is a fulness of joy peculiar to the dispensation of the Spirit, to be able so to do, Eph. ii. 18. ask, and ye shall receive] See Matt. vii.