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Verse 18. That by two immutable things. What the "two immutable things" here referred to are, has been made a matter of question among commentators. Most expositors, as Doddridge, Whitby, Rosenmuller, Koppe, and Calvin, suppose that the reference is to the promise and the oath of God, each of which would be a firm ground of the assurance of salvation, and in each of which it would be impossible for God to lie. Prof. Stuart supposes that the reference is to two oaths—the oath made to Abraham, and that by which the Messiah was made High Priest according to the order of Melchisedek, Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6,10.

He supposes that thus the salvation of believers would be amply secured, by the promise that Abraham should have a Son, the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, and in the oath that his Son should be High Priest for ever. But to this interpretation it may be objected that the apostle seems to refer to two things distinct from each other in their nature, and not to two acts of the same kind. There are two kinds of security referred to, whereas the security furnished according to this interpretation would be the same—that arising from an oath. However numerous the oaths might be, still it would be security of the same kind; and if one of them were broken, no certainty could be derived from the other. On the supposition, however, that he refers to the promise and the oath, there would be two kinds of assurance, of different kinds. On the supposition that the promise was disregarded—if such a supposition may be made—still there would be the security of the oath and thus the assurance of salvation was two-fold. It seems to me, therefore, that the apostle refers to the promise and to the oath of God, as constituting the two grounds of security for the salvation of his people. Those things were both unchangeable; and when his word and oath are once passed, what he promises is secure.

In which it was impossible for God to Lie. That is, it would be contrary to his nature; it is not for a moment to be supposed. Comp. Tit 1:2: "God—that cannot lie." The impossibility is a moral impossibility, and the use of the word here explains the Sense in which the words impossible, cannot, etc., are often used in the Scriptures. The meaning here is, that such was the love of God for truth, such his holiness of character, that he could not speak falsely.

We might have a strong consolation. The strongest of which the mind can conceive. The consolation of a Christian is not in his own strength; his hope of heaven is not in any reliance on his own powers. His comfort is, that God has promised eternal life to his people, and that He cannot prove false to his word, Tit 1:2.

Who have fled for refuge. Referring to the fact that one charged with murder fled to the city of refuge, or laid hold on an altar for security. So we, guilty and deserving of death, have fled to the hopes of the gospel in the Redeemer.

To lay hold upon. To seize and hold fast—as one does an altar when he is pursued by the avenger of blood.

The hope set before us. The hope of eternal life offered in the gospel. This is set before us as our refuge, and to this we flee when we feel that we are in danger of death. On the nature of hope, See Barnes "Eph 2:12".


{d} "lie" Tit 1:2 {e} "lay hold" 1 Ti 6:12

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