48.He who rejecteth me. That wicked men may not flatter themselves as if their unbounded disobedience to Christ would pass unpunished, he, adds here a dreadful threatening, that though he were to do nothing in this matter, yet his doctrine alone would be sufficient to condemn them, as he says elsewhere, that there would be no need of any other judge than Moses, in whom they boasted, (Joh_5:45.) The meaning, therefore, is: “ with ardent desire to promote your salvation, I do indeed abstain from exercising my right to condemn you, and am entirely employed in saving what is lost; but do not think that you have escaped out of the hands of God; for though I should altogether hold my peace, the word alone, which you have despised, is sufficient to judge you.”
And receiveth not my words. This latter clause is an explanation of the former; for since hypocrisy is natural to men, nothing is easier for them than to boast in words that they are ready to receive Christ; and we see how common this boasting is even amongst the most wicked men. We must therefore attend to this definition, that Christ is rejected when we do not embrace the pure doctrine of the Gospel.
Loudly do the Papists, indeed, proclaim this word which Christ uttered; but as soon as his pure truth is brought forward, nothing is more hateful to them. Such persons kiss Christ in the same manner as Judas kissed him, (Mat_26:49.) Let us therefore learn to receive him along with his word, and to render to him that homage and obedience which he demands as his sole right.
The word which I speak shall judge you at the last day. It is impossible to give a nobler or more magnificent title to the Gospel than to, ascribe to it the power of judging; for, according to these words, the last judgment shall be nothing else than an approbation or ratification (36) of the doctrine of the Gospel. Christ himself will indeed ascend the tribunal, but he declares that he will pronounce the sentence according to the word which is now preached. This threatening ought to strike deep? terror into the ungodly, since they cannot escape the judgment of that doctrine which they now so haughtily disdain.
But when Christ mentions the last judgment, he means that they are now destitute of understanding; for he reminds them that the punishment which they now treat with mockery will then be openly displayed. On the other hand, it yields to the godly an invaluable consolation, that to whatever extent. they may be now condemned by the world, still they do not doubt that they are already acquitted in heaven; for, wherever the faith of the Gospel has its seat, the tribunal of God is erected to save. Relying on this right, we need not trouble ourselves about Papists or their absurd decisions; for our faith rises even above angels.