Hebrews 13:21,22     

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

No. 4

Having considered the solemn address and introduction of the Apostle’s prayer we now come to the petition, which is twofold:
1. Make you perfect in every good work

It is not an actual perfection intended [by] the word – the word signifies to make you meet or fit, to give a right disposition, and might be applied to an instrument of music when it is put in tune.  So David says, My heart is fixed, made ready or in tune. [1]  It is of the Lord to give to his people this habitual disposition or meetness for his will.  It consists in such things as these:
  1.1 Humility, or a due sense of our own weakness and imperfections.  Without this we cannot be rightly disposed for the exercise of any duty.
  1.2 Faith, laying hold of the strength, grace and promise of the Lord Jesus.  To know that we can do nothing will sink us in despondence, unless we can rely upon him to perfect his strength in our weakness.
  1.3 Love.  That feeling his peace, and considering the means by which we obtain it, we may be animated to cheerful obedience. 
  Without these principles it is impossible to aim at any good work in an acceptable manner.
2. The object of this disposition is universal obedience.  Every good work may be distributed as respecting:
  2.1 the Lord – his worship, will
  2.2 the church – walking in love etc
  2.3 the world – in the exercise of integrity, truth, etc
3. Besides his disposing and preparing us for his service, there is working in us, by an immediate and effectual operation.  The first is grace in habit: this is grace in exercise.  The instrument, though tuned, will yield no music of itself.  We need a continual supply of the Spirit, without which we can do nothing – this is needful as wind to the ship, or water to the mill.
4. The words through Jesus Christ may be understood:
  4.1 That he is the Medium of communication of grace.  Of his fullness alone can we receive.  Or:
  4.2 That all which is wrought in us is only acceptable through him and for his sake.
From hence observe:
1. How entirely all is of grace – that we can will and that we can do, and that when we have done we can find acceptance – all is of grace.
2. What encouragement for those who find they have nothing and can do nothing.  Here is all provided and engaged for.
3. How great the sin and ingratitude of those who refuse this Great Shepherd, and the assistance of his grace.

1. Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise; Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

Cowper & Newton Museum, ms 714(11), N32

Marylynn Rouse, 03/05/2019