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Verse 3. Wherefore I give you to understand. I make known to you. The force of this expression is, I give you this rule to distinguish, or by which you may know what influences and operations are from God. The design of the passage is to give them some simple general guide by which they could at once recognize the operations of the Spirit of God, and determine whether they who claimed to be under that operation were really so. That rule was, that all who were truly influenced by the Holy Ghost would be disposed to acknowledge and to know Jesus Christ; and where this disposition existed, it was of itself a clear demonstration that it was the operation of the Spirit of God. The same rule substantially is given by John, (1 Jo 4:2,) by which to test the nature of the spirit by which men profess to be influenced: "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every, spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." See Barnes "Mt 16:17".


That no man. No one, (oudeiv). It may refer to a man, or to demons, or to those who pretended to be under inspiration of any kind. And it may refer to the Jews who may have pretended to be under the influence of God's Spirit, and who yet anathematized and cursed the name of Jesus. Or it may be intended simply as a general rule; meaning, that if any one, whoever he might be, should blaspheme the name of Jesus, whatever were his pretensions, whether professing to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit among the Jews, or to be inspired among the Gentiles, it was full proof that he was an impostor. The argument is, that the Holy Spirit in all instances would do honour to Jesus Christ, and would prompt all who were under his influence to love and reverence his name.

Speaking by the Spirit of God. Under the influence of inspiration.

Calleth. Says, or would say; that is, no such one would use the language of anathema in regard to him.

Accursed. Marg., Anathema, (anayema). See Barnes "Ac 23:14".

See Barnes "Ro 9:3".

Compare 1 Co 16:22; Ga 1:8,9.

The word is one of execration, or cursing; and means, that no one under the influence of the Holy Spirit could curse the name of Jesus, or denounce him as execrable, and as an impostor. The effect of the influences of the Spirit would be, in all instances, to inspire reverence for his name and work. It is probable that the Jews were here principally intended, since there is a bitterness and severity in the language which accords with all their expressions of feeling towards Jesus of Nazareth. It is possible also, and indeed probable, that the priests and priestesses of the pagan gods, who pretended to be under the influence of inspiration, might denounce the name of Jesus, because they would all be opposed to the purity of his religion.

And that no man can say, etc. That is, that it cannot occur, or even happen, that any one will acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah who is not influenced by the Holy Ghost. The meaning is not that no one has physical ability to say that Jesus is Lord unless aided by the Holy Ghost, since all men can say this; but that no one will be disposed heartily to say it; no one will acknowledge him as their Lord; it can never happen that any one will confess him as the true Messiah who has not been brought to this state by the agency of the Holy Ghost.

Is the Lord. Is the Messiah; or shall acknowledge him as their Lord.

But by the Holy Ghost. Unless he is influenced by the Holy Spirit. This is a very important verse, not only in regard to the particular subject under consideration in the time of Paul, but also in its practical bearing at present. We may learn from it,

(1.) that it is a proof that any man is under the influence of the Holy Spirit who is heartily disposed to honour the name and work of Jesus Christ.

(2.) Those forms and modes of religion, those religious opinions and practices, will be most in accordance with the designs of the Spirit of God, which do most to honour the name and work of Jesus Christ.

(3.) It is true that no man will ever cherish a proper regard for Jesus Christ, nor love his name and work, unless he is influenced by the Holy Ghost. No man loves the name and work of the Redeemer by following simply the inclinations of his own corrupt heart. In all instances of those who have been brought to a willingness to honour him, it has been by the agency of the Holy Ghost.

(4.) If any man, in any way, is disposed to disparage the work of Christ, to speak lightly of his person or his name, or holds doctrines that infringe on the fairness of the truth respecting his Divine nature, his purity, his atonement, it is proof that he is not under the influence of the Spirit of God. Just in proportion as he shall disparage that work or name, just in that proportion does he live evidence that he is not influenced by the Divine Spirit; but by proud reason, or by imagination, or by a heart that is not reconciled to God.

(5.) All true religion is the production of the Holy Spirit. For religion consists essentially in a willingness to honour, and love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ; and where that exists, it is produced by the Holy Spirit.

(6.) The influence of the Holy Spirit should be cherished. To grieve away that Spirit is to drive all proper knowledge of the Redeemer from the soul; to do this is to leave the heart to coldness, and darkness, and barrenness, and spiritual death.

{a} "speaking by the Spirit" Mr 9:39; 1 Jo 4:2,3

{1} "accursed" "anathema" {b} "that no man" Mt 16:17 {*} "Holy Ghost" "Spirit"

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