Scripture Notes

I.

1 Corinthians 2:6-7.

In this scripture we find, so to speak, the second character of Paul's testimony among the Corinthians. When he first came to their city he determined not to know anything among them, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. For this indeed was the first need of their souls; and until they had received the truth of a rejected Christ - the doctrine of the cross, with all that was involved in it - they were not prepared for any further communications of grace. But when once their souls were established upon this immutable foundation there were other truths awaiting their reception. The wisdom of men Paul refused, for God had made foolish the wisdom of the world in the cross of Christ; but he delighted to "speak wisdom" among them that were perfect - "the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." The very terms used by the apostle in speaking of the wisdom of God will explain its character. It had been in "a mystery," a "hidden wisdom" ordained before the ages unto our glory. The reference, therefore, is to God's eternal counsels in Christ (see Ephesians 1:3-6), hitherto kept secret, but now made known by the Spirit through Paul's ministry (vv. 9, 10.) In the light of this, the meaning of the words "our glory" becomes apparent. It embraces the full accomplishment of God's purposes in Christ for His people, and hence their conformity to, and association with, Christ in glory. (See Rom. 8:29.) It may well be that the "mystery" in the Ephesian sense (chap. 3:9-11) is also included, as otherwise there would not have been the full declaration of "all the counsel of God." This is the more probable, because Paul speaks of his ministry amongst the "perfect," those of full age, that is, mature Christians, those who had through grace accepted the full truth of Christianity, those, in a word, whose faces were turned fully to Christ glorified, the Second Man, and whose backs were towards the first man and his scene, like Paul himself in Philippians 3. "Our glory" will therefore refer to the future; but as faith is the "substantiating" of things hoped for, the light of that blessed future will give present enjoyment and courage to the soul.

II.

Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27.

It is very interesting to notice the characteristic differences in the three gospels, in connection with the announcement concerning the transfiguration. In Matthew it is, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom." In verse 28 the Lord had charged His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ. He was at this time really rejected, and hence the testimony to Jesus as God's anointed was for the time ended. The consequence was that He from this moment took the title of the Son of Man. (Compare chap. 26:63, 64.) He thus says in v. 27, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels," etc. In accordance with this, the three chosen disciples should see the Son of man coming in His kingdom. It is, therefore, His personal glory as Son of man; and this glory displayed before the disciples was God's answer to the rejection of Christ by His people. Passing on to Mark, the promise is that they should not taste of death till they had seen the kingdom of God come with power. This is in beautiful harmony with the mission of our blessed Lord in this gospel as the Servant-prophet. We read in chap. 1, "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God." And now Peter, James, and John were to see, in confirmation of their faith, that kingdom, which the Lord had proclaimed in lowliness and rejection, come in power, and their Lord as the centre of its glory, and as supreme in its authority, while acknowledged as God's beloved Son. In Luke there is yet a different feature. Here it was simply the kingdom of God they should see; and accordingly the kingdom, both in its heavenly and earthly aspects, is delineated in the account of the transfiguration. Moses and Elias appear here in glory, and talk with Christ; they are types of the heavenly saints who will be associated with Him in His glorious reign; while the disciples who, when they were awake, saw His glory, represent the saints on earth during that blessed era of His righteous rule. Without entering into further detail, it may be remarked that the reader of the gospels will derive great profit and instruction in following out and in meditating upon, these distinctions in the records of the same events. It is not in the attempt to harmonize the gospels, but in seizing the object of their differences, that the mind of the Spirit is apprehended.