Pristine Grace

Mk 16:16-20, (GILL)
16  He that believeth,.... Not notionally only, or that gives a bare assent to the truth of the Gospel; but spiritually, who sees Christ, his need of him, and the worth and excellency, suitableness and fulness of him; who comes to him as a poor perishing sinner, and ventures on him, and commits himself to him, and lives upon him; believing alone in him, and expecting life and salvation alone by him:

and is baptized; faith must precede baptism, as these words of Christ, and Scripture examples show; and such as have it, ought to make a profession of it, and be baptized; and in which way it is that faith discovers itself, and works by love to Christ; namely, in observing his commands, and this among the rest:

shall be saved, such receive the remission of their sins a justifying righteousness, the privilege of adoption, a right and meetness for heaven now, and shall be saved in Christ, with an everlasting salvation; not that either faith or baptism, are the procuring causes of salvation: not faith, for Christ is the author of salvation; and faith is the grace that looks to him for it, receives the assurance of it now, and that will be the end of it hereafter: faith and eternal life are so connected together, that he that has the one, shall have the other; and it is descriptive of the person that shall enjoy it: and baptism, though it is said to save by the resurrection of Christ, as it is a means of leading faith to Christ's resurrection for justification, yet has no casual influence upon salvation; it is not essential to it; the thief on the cross, went to heaven without it, and Simon Magus to hell with it; but it is the duty of every one that believes, and he that truly believes, ought to be baptized, and prove the truth of his faith, by his obedience to Christ, and such shall be saved:

but he that believeth not shall be damned; such are here chiefly designed, who, are favoured with the Gospel revelation; but either deny it, reject and despise it, or neglect it, and are disobedient to it; whose guilt is the greater, and whose punishment and damnation will be the more intolerable; even more so, than that of Sodom and Gomorrha, Tyre and Sidon, or any of the Gentiles that perish without the law, and the knowledge of the Gospel; and also such are meant, who are finally unbelievers, who live and die in a state of impenitence and unbelief; otherwise, one that believes not today, may believe tomorrow, and be saved.

17  And these signs shall follow them that believe,.... Not all of them, but some; and not always, only for a time; and which were necessary for the confirmation of the Gospel, and the establishment of Christianity in the world; and not only believing hearers, but believing ministers of the word, are chiefly designed; and this is said, for the encouragement both of those that preach the Gospel, and of them that hear, believe and obey. The Persic version, contrary to all others, reads, "ye shall show signs and wonders to them that believe not"; see 1Co 14:22.

In my name shall they cast out devils; so the Apostle Paul dispossessed the damsel, that had a spirit of divination; commanding the spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her, and it did; and evil spirits also went out of others, through his means, by the power of Christ, Ac 16:18; and this power continued for a considerable time among the saints: the phrase "in my name", is in the Arabic version, joined to the word "believe", in the preceding clause; and is omitted in the Persic version, but is rightly retained by all others in this place; for by the power and authority of Christ, and not their own, and by calling upon, and making use of his name, such miraculous operations were wrought by the apostles:

they shall speak with new tongues: or languages, not such as were new made, and had never been heard and known before; but foreign languages, such as they had never learned, or were able to speak, or understood before; and this not only did the apostles on the day of pentecost, but even common believers at other times, Ac 2:4 Ac 10:45.

18  They shall take up serpents,.... The Arabic version adds, "in their own hands"; and in an ancient manuscript of Beza's it is read, "in the hands"; so the Apostle Paul had a viper, which fastened and hung on his hand, which he shook off, without receiving any harm from it, Ac 28:3.

And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; not that they were hereby warranted to drink poison, to show what power they had; but should they accidentally drink it, or rather should they be forced to it by their enemies in order to destroy them, they should find no hurt by it: and Papias [x] reports of Barsabas, surnamed Justus, who was put up with Matthias for the apostleship, Ac 1:23, that he drank a poisonous draught, and by the grace of the Lord, received no hurt: and the Jews themselves report [y], that

"a son of R. Joshua ben Levi, swallowed something hurtful; and one came and whispered to him in the name of Jesus, the son of Pandira (so they call our Lord), and he did well.''

It follows,

and they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover; as the Apostle Paul did on the father of Publius, who was thereby healed of a fever, and a bloody flux, and also others, Ac 28:8; nay, some were healed by the shadow of Peter, Ac 5:15, and others, by handkerchiefs and aprons taken from the body of Paul, Ac 19:12. The Persic version adds, without any authority, "whatsoever ye ask in my name, shall be given unto you".

[x] Apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39. [y] T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 14. 4. & Avoda Zara, fol. 40. 4. & Midrash Kobelet, fol. 81. 1.

19  So then, after the Lord,.... The Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions add, "Jesus"; and the Ethiopic version reads, "our Lord, the Lord Jesus"; and both Syriac and Persic read, "our Lord"; which is common in these versions, where the word "Lord" is used:

had spoken unto them; the disciples, the above words, which commissioned them where to go, what to do, and what to say; and what should follow them, for the confirmation of their mission and doctrine:

he was received up into heaven; in a cloud, angels attending him, and devils led captive by him, and with a welcome into his Father's presence:

and sat on the right hand of God; the Ethiopic version adds, "his own Father", and which is an evidence of his having done his work, and that to full satisfaction; and is an honour never conferred on angels, or any mere creature; and is a peculiar dignity conferred on the human nature of Christ, in union with his divine person; and here he will remain, till his second coming.

20  And they went forth,.... After this the apostles went forth, from Galilee to Jerusalem; and on the day of pentecost, they appeared publicly, and preached the Gospel in divers languages; and after the death of Stephen, and the persecution raised upon that, they went forth from Jerusalem; see Isa 2:3.

And preached every where; not only in Judea, and in the neighbouring countries, but all over the world, in process of time:

the Lord working with them; making their ministry useful, for the conviction and conversion of large multitudes, and for the forming and settling abundance of Gospel churches, and for the comfort and edification of the saints; all which was done, by the power and grace of Christ, without whom they could do nothing; see 1Co 3:9.

And confirming the word with signs following; the Arabic version adds "them"; or "which they did", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it; not by their own power, but, as the latter of these versions adds, "by the help of our Lord"; see Heb 2:4; to all which, the evangelist puts his

Amen; so let it be, or so it shall be, and so it was.

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