But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
I. THE WRITER'S TONE OF AFFECTIONATE SOLICITUDE. He who has twice addressed his readers as brethren, now calls them beloved. His affection is hitherto implied; now it needs for a moment to be asserted; and the brotherhood must also be borne in mind, though not asserted. The readers of the Epistle might ask, "Why does this man lecture us so, calling us νωθροί, and exhibiting to us such dreadful possibilities of disaster?" The answer is that he does it all in true brotherly affection. The word pointing to safety and completeness must be spoken in time. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
II. HIS WORDS OF HOPE AND CONFIDENCE. These people are in a state by no means satisfactory so far as Christian hope and aspiration are concerned, lingering among the beginnings instead of growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. But such people ought always to be approached in a conciliatory and encouraging spirit. The writer feels he has good ground for saying that the doom of the land bringing forth thorns and briers will not be theirs, He can see in them better things - things that belong to safety, not to destruction. Mark how the spirit of Christianity is never a fault-finding spirit. This has to be noticed all the more because the Spirit of God has to find so many faults in men - in the Christian, as a rule, more than others. But wherever there is good it is recognized and appreciated. Thus Paul, who had. so many hard things to say to the Church at Corinth, begins by thanking God that this same Church came behind in no gift. The bright, the creditable, the hopeful side must always be looked at. Then rebukes and warnings from an evidently pure motive will come with increased force. Notice, too, the ground for this hope. These people are genuine enough so far as the spirit of practical beneficence is concerned. There is love in their hearts towards God and Christian people. They have ministered, not without toil, to the wants of the saints; nor are they weary in well-doing, for they are ministering still. How could a Christian brother speak to any such save in a large-hearted spirit of hope?
III. THE NEED OF A DILIGENT REGARD TO THE CHRISTIAN'S DESTINY. We may minister to saints and yet not be in full sympathy with them. He who ministers to the saints does a good thing as far as he goes; but the pity is that very often he is ministering to those who have a far brighter hope than any he has. There are many loving-hearted, generous people in the world who are not Christians, who do not profess to know the Christian's repentance, the Christian's faith, the Christian's hope; and in the particular case here dealt with there is the curious contradiction of a Christian life existing as far as beneficence is concerned, but paralyzed as it were in the element of hope. Now, here is one sign of a normal, healthy Christian life, namely, that it is moving under the full assurance of hope. We should be looking forward, with a constant certainty of feeling, to the glories, the blessedness, and the perfection which await us. And this hope is only to come by activity of heart according to the will of God. If there is interest in Divine truth, increasing spiritual-mindedness, more power to discriminate between the temporal and eternal, the seen and the unseen, the outward man and the inward man, then hope will grow. A reasonably hopeful spirit is the sure result of fidelity, prayerfulness, insight into the purpose of the work of Christ; and the writer of this Epistle evidently felt that to be without this special Christian hopefulness was to be in a position, not only of loss and suffering, but even of peril unspeakable. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.