Verse 19. Nevertheless the foundation of God is sure. Marg. steady. The meaning is, that though some had been turned away by the arts of these errorists, yet the foundation of the church which God had laid remained firm. Comp. Eph 2:20, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." As long as this foundation remained farm, there was no reason to be troubled from the few-instances of apostasy which had occurred. Comp. Ps 11:3. It is not uncommon to compare the church to a building erected on a solid foundation. Eph 2:20,21 1 Co 3:9,10; Mt 16:18.


Having this seal. Or rather a seal with this inscription. The word seal is sometimes used to denote the instrument by which an impression is made, and sometimes the impression or inscription itself. A seal is used for security Mt 27:66, or as a mark of genuineness, Re 9:4. The seal here is one that was affixed to the foundation, and seems to refer to some inscription on the foundation-stone which always remained there, and which denoted the character and design of the edifice. The allusion is to the custom, in rearing an edifice, of inscribing the name of the builder and the design of the edifice on the corner-stone. See Rosenmuller, Alte u. neue Morgenland, No. 405. So the church of Christ is a budding reared by the hands of God. Its foundation has been firmly and securely laid, and on that foundation there is an inscription always remaining, which determines the character of the edifice.

The Lord knoweth them that are his. This is one of the inscriptions on the foundation-stone of the church, which seems to mark the character of the building. It always stands there, no matter who apostatizes. It is, at the same time, a fearful inscription —showing that no one can deceive God; that he is intimately acquainted with all who enter that building; and that in the multitudes which enter there, the friends and the foes of God are intimately known. He can separate his own friends from all others, and his constant care will be extended to all who are truly his own, to keep them from failing. This has the appearance of being a quotation, but no such passage is found in the Old Testament in so many words. In Na 1:7, the following words are found: "And he knoweth them that trust in him;" and it is possible that Paul may have had that in his eye; but it is not necessary to suppose that he designed it as a quotation. A phrase somewhat similar to this is found in Nu 16:5, "The Lord will show who are his," rendered in the Septuagint, "God knoweth who are his;" and Whitby supposes that this is the passage referred to. But whether Paul had these passages in view or not, it is clear that he meant to say that it was one of the fundamental things in religion, that God knew who were his own people, and that he would preserve them from the danger of making shipwreck of their faith.

And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. This is the other seal or inscription which is made on the foundation which God has laid. The foundation has two inscriptions-the first implying that God knows all who are his own people; the other, that all who are his professed people should depart from evil. This is not found in so many words in the Old Testament, and, like the former, it is not to be regarded as a quotation. The meaning is, that it is an elementary principle in the true church, that all who become members of it should lead holy lives. It was also true that they would lead holy lives, and amidst all the defections of errorists, and all their attempts to draw away others from the true faith, those might be known to be the true people of God who did avoid evil.

{e} "foundation" Pr 10:25 {f} "Lord" Na 1:7; Joh 10:14,27

{g} "Let every one" Ps 97:10

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