Verse 27. "The riches of the glory" - God manifests to these how abundantly glorious this Gospel is among the Gentiles; and how effectual is this doctrine of Christ crucified to the salvation of multitudes.
"Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" - In this and the following verse there are several remarkable particulars:-
I. We find here the sum and substance of the apostle's preaching.
1. He preached Christ, as the only saviour of sinners.
2. He proclaimed this Christ as being in them; for the design of the Gospel is to put men in possession of the Spirit and power of Christ, to make them partakers of the Divine nature, and thus prepare them for an eternal union with himself. Should it be said that the preposition en should be translated among, it amounts to the same; for Christ was among them, to enlighten, quicken, purify, and refine them, and this he could not do without dwelling in them.
3. He preached this present and indwelling Christ as the hope of glory; for no man could rationally hope for glory who had not the pardon of his sins, and whose nature was not sanctified; and none could have pardon but through the blood of his cross; and none could have glorification but through the indwelling, sanctifying Spirit of Christ.
II. We see the manner in which the apostles preached.
1. They warned every one - they showed every man his danger; they proved that both Jews and Gentiles were under sin; and that the wrath of God was revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; that time and life were uncertain; and that now was the day of salvation.
2. They taught every man in all wisdom - they considered the world in a state of ignorance and darkness, every man being through sin ignorant of himself and God; and the apostles taught them to know themselves, viz., that they were sinners, wretched, helpless, and perishing; and they taught them to know God, in his purity, justice, and truth, and in his mercy through Christ Jesus. Thus they instructed men in all wisdom; for the knowledge of a man's self and his God constitutes all that is essentially necessary to be known for present and eternal happiness.
III. The end which the apostles had in view in thus preaching Christ: to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. The words teleion en cristw, perfect in or through Christ, signify two things:
1. That they should be thoroughly instructed in the doctrines of Christianity, so that they should know the truth as it is in Jesus. 2. That they should be made partakers of the grace of the Gospel, so that they might be saved from all their sins, and be filled with His fullness. The succeeding chapter amply proves that nothing less than this entered into the apostle's design. Men may dispute as they please about Christian perfection, but without it no soul shall ever see God. He who is not saved from all sin here, cannot, to his joy, see God hereafter. This perfection of which the apostle speaks, and to which he laboured to bring all men, was something to be attained in and through Christ. The apostles preached Christ in the people; and they preached him as crucified for mankind. He who died for them was to live in them, and fill their whole souls with his own purity. No indwelling sin can be tolerated by an indwelling Christ; for he came into the world to save his people from their sins.
IV. We see who were the objects of the apostle's ministry: the Jews and Gentiles; panta anqrwpon, every man, the whole human race. Every man had sinned; and for every sinner Christ had died; and he died for them that they might be saved from all their sins. The apostles never restrained the offers of salvation; they made them frankly to all, believing that it was the will of God that all should believe and be saved: hence they warned and taught every man that they might, at the day of judgment, present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; for, although their own personal ministry could not reach all the inhabitants of the earth, yet it is by the doctrines which they preached, and by the writings which they have left on record, that the earth is to be filled with the knowledge and glory of God, and the souls of men brought to the enjoyment of the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of peace.
Verse 29. "Whereunto I also labour" - In order to accomplish this end, I labour with the utmost zeal and earnestness; and with all that strength with which God has most powerfully furnished me. Whoever considers the original words, agwnizomenov kata thn energeian autou thn energoumenhn-en dunamei, will find that no verbal translation can convey their sense. God worked energetically in St. Paul, and he wrought energetically with God; and all this was in reference to the salvation of mankind.
1. THE preceding chapter contains the highest truths in the Christian religion, conveyed in language peculiar to this apostle; a language never taught by man, clothing ideas as vast as the human mind can grasp, and both coming immediately from that inspiration of the Almighty which giveth understanding.
2. What the apostle says on the Godhead of Christ has already been distinctly noted; and from this we must conclude that, unless there be some secret way of understanding the 16th and 17th verses, which God has nowhere revealed, taken in their sober and rational sense and meaning they must for ever settle this very important point. Let any man of common sense and reason hear these words, whose mind had not been previously warped by any sentiment on the subject, and who only knew, in religious matters, this one great truth, that there is a God, and that he made and governs all things; and then let him be asked, Of whom doth the apostle speak this? Would he not immediately answer, He speaketh of God? As to the difficulties on this subject, we must consider them difficulties rather to our limited intellect, than as belonging to the subject. We can know but little of an infinite and eternal Being; nothing, properly speaking, but what himself is pleased to reveal. Let us receive, this with gratitude and reverence. See my discourse on the sum and substance of apostolic preaching.