“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, etc.]”
This epistle is inscribed to the saints at Corinth; who are described by their being “the church of God”, a particular congregated church; a number of persons gathered out of the world, and joined together in holy fellowship, carrying on the worship of God together, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; a very high character this, to be called the church of God, which is the pillar and ground of truth: and it may be observed, that this is here given to a people, among whom were many irregularities, errors, disorders, and divisions; which shows, that a church of God is not to be unchurched for everything that is amiss in them: they are further described by the place of their abode, Corinth, the “metropolis” of Achaia; a very large and opulent city, a place of great trade and commerce, and famous both for its wealth and wisdom; but not so famous for anything as this, that there was a church of Christ in it; of the city of Corinth, (see Gill on “Acts 18:1”); and of the church, (see Gill on “Acts 18:8”). The members of it in general, for it cannot be thought to hold good of every individual, are said to be
“sanctified in Christ Jesus;”
Not by baptism, for they were sanctified before that; but were set apart, or chosen in Christ from all eternity, to grace here, which sense the word “sanctified” is sometimes used; and to whom Christ they were sanctified by his Spirit in his name, out of that and holiness which is in him: wherefore it follows; for though they were chosen to holiness in Christ, and unholy; though Christ had given himself for them to sanctify and purify uncalled were impure; they fell in Adam, and became both unholy and unclean, and were so in their lives and conversations; nor are their own free will, but were become such through the powerful grace of principles of holiness were wrought in them; and by which they were called And this epistle is not only inscribed to these saints at
“with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord”
as in Achaia, of which Invocation of the name of Christ not only respects prayer to him, but being given to Christ, and perforated in his name, is a very considerable Ethiopic version here styles him, any but a divine person, one that is truly and properly God, without phrase, either, as some think, refers to “every place” and so Syriac, and Arabic versions; and the sense is, that whether in was, or the Corinthians were, or any of the other saints in signifying, that invocation of God is not confined to any particular place, rather it refers to “our Lord”, and shows that Christ is the common Lord of therefore ought to love one another.
John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher and theologian. He was appointed the Pastor of Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark, serving this position for fifty-one years. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive systematic theology, setting forth High-Calvinistic views and a clear Baptist polity which became the backbone for the churches subscribing to them. John Hazelton wrote of him:
”[Augustus] Toplady held in high regard Dr. John Gill (1697-1771), and applied to him and to his controversial writings what was said of the first Duke of Marlborough—that he never besieged a town that he did not take, nor fought a battle that he did not win. Gill's book on the Canticles is a beautiful and experimental exposition of Solomon's Song; his "Cause of God and Truth" is most admirable and suggestive; and his "Body of Divinity" one of the best of its kind. His commentary upon the Old and New Testament is a wonderful monument of sanctified learning, though it has been so used as to rob many a ministry of living power. It is the fashion now to sneer at Gill, and this unworthy attitude is adopted mostly by those who have forsaken the truths he so powerfully defended, and who are destitute of a tithe of the massive scholarship of one of the noblest ministers of the Particular and Strict Baptist denomination. The late Dr. Doudney rendered inestimable service by his republication, in 1852, of Gill's Commentary, printed at Bonmahon, Waterford, Ireland, by Irish boys. Gill was born at Kettering, and passed away at his residence at Camberwell, his last words being: "O, my Father! my Father!" For fifty-one years, to the time of his death, he was pastor of the Baptist Church, Fair Street, Horselydown, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. His Hebrew learning was equal to that of any scholar of his day, and his Rabbinical knowledge has never been equalled outside Judaism. His "Dissertation Concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ" is most valuable, and this foundation truth is shown by him to have been a part of the faith of all Trinitarians for about 1,700 years from the birth of our Lord. In His Divine nature our blessed Lord was the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, and as such He became the Word of God. The Scriptures nowhere intimate that Christ is the Son of God by office, or that His Sonship is founded on His human nature. This is not a strife about words, but is for our life, our peace, our hope. Dr. Gill's pastoral labours were much blest; to the utmost fidelity he united real tenderness, and at the Lord's Supper he was always at his best.
"He set before their eyes their dying Lord—
How soft, how sweet, how solemn every word!
How were their hearts affected, and his own!
And how his sparkling eyes with glory shone!"