4 With joy - After the epistle to the Ephesians, wherein love
reigns, follows this, wherein there is perpetual mention of joy. "The fruit
of the Spirit is love, joy." And joy peculiarly enlivens prayer. The sum
of the whole epistle is, I rejoice. Rejoice ye.
5 The sense is, I thank God for your fellowship with us in all the blessings
of the gospel, which I have done from the first day of your receiving it
6 Being persuaded - The grounds of which persuasion are set down in
the following verse. That he who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect
it until the day of Christ - That he who having justified, hath begun to
sanctify you, will carry on this work, till it issue in glory.
7 As it is right for me to think this of you all - Why? He does not
say, "Because of an eternal decree;" or, "Because a saint must persevere;"
but, because I have you in my heart, who were all partakers of my grace
- That is, because ye were all (for which I have you in my heart, I bear
you the most grateful and tender affection) partakers of my grace - That
is, sharers in the afflictions which God vouchsafed me as a grace or favour,
Php 1:29,30; both in my bonds, and when I was called forth to answer for
myself, and to confirm the gospel. It is not improbable that, after they
had endured that great trial of affliction, God had sealed them unto full
victory, of which the apostle had a prophetic sight.
8 I long for you with the bowels of Jesus Christ - In Paul, not Paul
lives, but Jesus Christ. Therefore he longs for them with the bowels, the
tenderness, not of Paul, but of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love - Which they had already shown. May
abound yet more and more - The fire which burned in the apostle never says,
It is enough. In knowledge and in all spiritual sense - Which is the ground
of all spiritual knowledge. We must be inwardly sensible of divine peace,
joy, love; otherwise, we cannot know what they are.
10 That ye may try - By that spiritual sense. The things that are excellent
- Not only good, but the very best; the superior excellence of which is
hardly discerned, but by the adult Christian. That ye may be inwardly sincere
- Having a single eye to the very best things, and a pure heart. And outwardly
without offence - Holy, unblamable in all things.
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through
Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God - Here are three properties
of that sincerity which is acceptable to God:
1. It must bear fruits, the fruits of
righteousness, all inward and outward holiness,
all good tempers,
words, and works; and that so abundantly, that we may be
2. The branch and the fruits must derive
both their virtue and their very being from
the all - supporting,
all - supplying root, Jesus Christ.
3. As all these flow from the grace
of Christ, so they must issue in the glory and
praise of God.