Matthew 19

In this chapter we have the clear introduction of a principle noticed elsewhere, i.e., a power which does not exist within the sphere of nature at all. Though nature be ruined and corrupt, God owns what He formed of nature, but He has introduced a power which is not of it, and takes us out of the reach of its legitimate action for flesh or the world-"left all." Only in chapter 20 it is shown that this must be taken up on the principle of grace. Where this power is, God does what He will with His own.
-16, et seq. We have first the Law in its national provisions, and it is, behind God's primary order, suited to the state the people were in. In the beginning it was not so. Then when we get beyond this, we find still amiable, conscientious nature keeping it as a code of outward human morality, and if men did, surely they would see good days. " If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," but in this character it does not reach the soul, nor awaken it to its state at all, leaves it thinking man is good, which is a delusion. Hence the Lord comes to test the affections by the revelation of God-by goodness, as contrasted with selfishness in man, and following Christ; his heart was elsewhere. Note the Lord does not take the spirituality of the Law to test evil and conscience, but raises the question of where the affections were, of goodness, and of Himself. The man did really lust, not after another man's, but selfishness ruled and had its object, and this the Lord detects. "There is none good but one, that is God." He leaves the young man's statement as to keeping the Law, even to loving his neighbor as himself, where it is. But entering the Kingdom of heaven raises the question of where the heart is.
Note further, with what wonderful perfection the truth of the Lord sets the matter. God's nature, what was from the beginning, fully restored and maintained (vv. 1-9). Then sovereign grace bringing in power which is above nature. These two form the character of Christianity in this respect. In its order, as old as the Creation, God's order; in its exercise of sovereign power, God's power above nature (vv. 10-12). Nature, as uncorrupted practically by the world and its lies, again owned (when corruption is not developed), vv. 13-15. In its actual moral state, as morally developed, none good at all, God only; this detected by lust, when the outward prescriptions of the outward Law, man's perfect rule as he is from God, had been kept. Christ detected this, as contrasted with the objects of lust, and, note, not man improved, but a new Kingdom set up, into which he had to enter, and heaven held out before man-Christ, who came from heaven, being the present test of the affections suited to it down here. The assertion of sovereign, but needed grace, " With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." The additional question of reward for labor is then spoken of, but with the careful testimony that all is grace. First last, and last first-goodness in it, but sovereign goodness. Indeed goodness, though not sovereign in a creature, is always free, the heart acting voluntarily, or it is not such. Hence, we are not said to be love in the Lord, though we are light in the Lord. It is free, but in us a duty, "Walk in love." In God properly sovereign. Even Christ, who loved us, identified with obedience, "That I love the Father," and " As the Father hath given me commandment, so I do." Yet He, preserving ever the divine title, whatever His humiliation, could say, "Therefore doth my Father love me "-give a motive to His Father, glorified Him as Man, so that He is glorified with Him.
In this chapter, then, we have the natural relationships God established fully confirmed, as it was at the beginning. God had joined husband and wife, and it could not be broken legally, or by man; but if sin had broken it, then it was not " might be " but " was." But there was the introduction of a power which took above nature. God's order sanctioned, but, as evil was come in, power comes in which lifts out of nature altogether. So with children. That, not as to sin in nature, but as to manifestation, was of God, was not, as to the world, corrupted. Then we get the Law as the way of life. If a man will enter into life, he must keep the Law. But a vast question is behind this. First, none is good but One, that is God—for man, keep the commandments and enter into life (the Lord does not say eternal life). Externally the young man had kept them, but God searches the heart; he was an upright, loveable young man—his heart all wrong—he loved his wealth. According to the flesh, who does not? For the Kingdom of heaven, the heart is tested, and the rich man has a poor chance—where his treasure is his heart will be; but the wealth of this world is not in heaven. Nor does the Lord stop short of the principle: "Who then shall be saved? " With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. But the time will come, the regeneration, when the Son of man, blessed be the Lord, will sit on the throne of His Kingdom; then all will be changed, bringing all things into God's way of ordering them, i.e., right. Then, he who had sacrificed all in this world of disorder, and ruin, would reap the fruit of God's service in God's reward. The Twelve, Christ's followers in humiliation and rejection by the world, would reign with Him, judging God's peculiar people in glory in the Kingdom, and whoever had given up this world for Christ, and what nature tied him to, would have a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life. But, as the following parable shows, it must be on the principle of confiding in the Lord and grace, not as earning so much. How thoroughly, while there are dispensational effects, man is thoroughly searched out here, and every relationship put in its place! But all dependent on grace where sin is come in, and yet power come in, quite above and out of nature, to act above it and the world, when evil is come in. But though sure reward followed sacrifice of self (for self it is) for Christ's name, yet there may be those who, when earthly things ordered place, were first, yiho in. God's Kingdom would come in last, and those last and despised there would be first in His. And this is true even of religious place according to man. It is grace, and serving according to grace, which makes the difference. This is followed out in the next chapter.