Matthew 18

Matthew 18  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Listen from:
Chapter 18.
It is upon this basis of the humiliation of the Savior, a principle which is linked with grace and is its perfect manifestation, that all which follows here is founded. Jesus would have His disciples to take this place, and identifying themselves with what is least, as He had done Himself, to act also in grace; for He was come (a position infinitely more glorious than that of the Messiah, whence the Jews repulsed Him, because He spoke the truth) to seek and to save that which was lost. And such was the case with all men, children as well as others; for the Lord applies here to a little child the principles of Luke 15; but if they were lost, it was not the Father's will that they should perish. Even so in the church (for it is founded upon the rejection of the Messiah) His own ought to act in grace towards a brother, come what will.
Here is the rule, his brother must be gained; self-humiliation raises us to this elevation, and permits us to act in grace toward all. But this grace, pursued even to the end by the care of the congregation, and rejected by him who was the object of it, would place him (whether Jew or Gentile) in the position of a publican and a pagan. On the one hand, grace becomes the principle of action; on the other, the church, established and acting on the principle of grace, becomes the enclosure with reference to which one should speak of the without and the within of a publican and a pagan; for all that the disciples should bind on earth would be bound in heaven. Such is the marvelous effect of the rejection of the Messiah and the position of those identified with Him in this rejection; for now, where two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus is found in their midst. There has He put His name for a blessing. See Ex. 20:2424An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. (Exodus 20:24); Deut. 12:5, 115But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: (Deuteronomy 12:5)
11Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord: (Deuteronomy 12:11)
, etc. Thus the effects of His rejection on the power of this accomplished work before the Father are unrolled (though this was as in a shadow) before His eyes.
In answer to Peter, who asks how far this walking in grace ought to be carried, the Lord shows that, as it was a principle essential to the nature which acted in grace, there was no limit; it would be a limit to the privilege of man and to the nature of God. In the kingdom of heaven, mercy triumphs over judgment.
The Lord gives, notwithstanding, not only a principle, but a similitude of the kingdom, which applies, it seems to me, historically. The Jews being guilty of ten thousand talents by the crucifixion of the Son of God, God acts in grace by the preaching of the gospel to the nation, in virtue of the intercession of Jesus, to which answers the preaching of Peter on the testimony of the Holy Ghost (Acts 3); but they refuse the grace to the Gentiles, much less guilty toward them than they themselves were toward God, and the wrath came upon them to the uttermost. Luke 23:3434Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34); Acts 3:1717And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. (Acts 3:17); 1 Thess. 2:1616Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:16).