2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Sermons
Peter's PrimacyJ.R. Thomson 2 Peter 1:1
Address and SalutationU.R. Thomas 2 Peter 1:1, 2
Apostolic FaithJ. Irons.2 Peter 1:1-2
Divine Blessing by Human ChannelsU.R. Thomas 2 Peter 1:1, 2
Faith and LifeC. H. Spurgeon.2 Peter 1:1-2
Life Through the Knowledge of ChristW. Wilson, M. A.2 Peter 1:1-2
Like Precious FaithA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Peter 1:1-2
Like Precious FaithA. Symson.2 Peter 1:1-2
Multiplied Grace Desired for OthersA. Symson.2 Peter 1:1-2
Of FaithIsaac Barrow, D. D.2 Peter 1:1-2
Precious FaithA. Symson.2 Peter 1:1-2
The Author and His ReadersT. Adams.2 Peter 1:1-2
The Knowledge of God in ChristR. W. Dale, LL. D.2 Peter 1:1-2
The Nature of Saving FaithR. South, D. D.2 Peter 1:1-2
The Preciousness of FaithJ. Burns.2 Peter 1:1-2
The SalutationThos. Adams.2 Peter 1:1-2
The Value of FaithThe Congregational Pulpit2 Peter 1:1-2
We have, in the career and the fame of St. Peter, an extraordinary instance of a man rising from obscurity to renown. A Galilaean fisherman became the leader of the college of apostles, and has for centuries been acknowledged by the whole of Christendom as one of its inspired teachers and counselors; whilst by a great part of Christendom Peter has been regarded as the chief human head and ruler of the Church, first in his own person, and afterwards by those considered to be his successors. It is certainly very remarkable in how very many respects Peter stands first among our Lord's apostles. Confining ourselves to the scriptural narrative, disregarding all traditions, and giving no heed to superstitious claims, we cannot but admit the many evidences of St. Peter's primacy.

I. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG THE LITTLE GROUP OF CHOSEN DISCIPLES ADMITTED TO WITNESS CHRIST'S GLORY. Peter was the first-mentioned of the three who saw the transfigured Son of man upon the holy mount; and it was he who, as the spokesman of the others, exclaimed, "It is good for us to be here."

II. PETER OCCUPIED THE SAME POSITION AMONGST THOSE CHOSEN TO TESTIFY OF THE SAVIOUR'S HUMILIATION AND AGONY. Ill the garden of Gethsemane, Simon was one of the same band of three whom Jesus kept near to himself; and his prominent action in his Master's defense is proof of his admitted leadership.

III. PETER WAS THE FIRST OF THE APOSTLES TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE LORD'S MESSIAHSHIP AND DIVINITY. It was his exclamation, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," which called forth the Lord's approval and original blessing, "Blessed art thou, Simon," etc.

IV. PETER WAS THE FIRST TO PROCLAIM THE SAVIOUR'S RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. Paul himself records that the risen Redeemer first appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. "The Lord hath risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon," - such were the joyful tidings which circulated among the little company during the resurrection-day.

V. PETER WAS THE FIRST, AFTER THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO HIS FELLOW-MEN. Upon the Day of Pentecost he stood up, and in the name of the brethren published to the multitude the explanation of the marvelous events of that day. As the chief speaker and representative of the Church, he proclaimed, not only the facts of the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, but pardon and salvation through the redemption which Christ had wrought.

VI. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG CHRISTIAN CONFESSORS TO ENDURE AND TO DEFY THE RACE OF THE PERSECUTOR. The storm broke upon the loftiest oak of the forest. Peter was naturally selected by the enemies of the faith as its most public and powerful representative, that he might be made to feel their power. But his attitude and language proved that he was conscious of the presence and support of One mightier than all those who were opposed to him.

VII. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG THE TWELVE TO WELCOME BELIEVING GENTILES INTO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. The case of Cornelius, the circumstances attending the "Council of Jerusalem," are sufficient proof of this. Although the "apostle of the circumcision," it is plain that Peter was in fullest sympathy with that Divine move-meat of expansiveness which was to represent Christianity as the religion for mankind, and Christ as the Saviour of the world.

VIII. PETER WAS THE FIRST CONCERNING WHOM IT WAS FORETOLD THAT HE SHOULD SUFFER A DEATH OF MARTYRDOM FOR THE LORD WHOM HE LOVED. Jesus himself forewarned him of the fate which was before him, and even signified what death he should die. He who counted it an honour to fulfill his Lord's will, and to proclaim his Lord's grace and love, when the time came, counted it a joy to share his Master's reproach and to bear his Master's cross. - J.R.T.







Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I. THE AUTHOR DESCRIBES HIMSELF BY —

1. His name.(1) "Simon." Commonly a happy name in the Scriptures. Not that grace is tied to names; for there was a Simon Magus, a sorcerer. Whatsoever thy name be, let thy heart be Simon's. It is said to signify hearing or obeying; so do thou confess, profess, love thy Master.(2) "Peter" was his surname, given him by Christ Himself.

2. His condition. "A servant."(1) This extols the dignity of Christ that so famous an apostle creeps to Him on the knees of lowliness. Many arrogate great dignity to themselves, because so famous men are their servants. Ahasuerus might vaunt of his viceroys; but let all sceptres be laid down at the foot of Him who is crowned with unspeakable glory for ever.(2) This is a clear demonstration of St. Peter's humility. The godly are no further ambitious than to belong to Christ.

3. His office. "An apostle."(1) He joins together service and apostleship.

(a)To distinguish and exemplify his calling (Hebrews 5:4).

(b)To show that apostleship was a matter of service; as an honour, so a burden (Matthew 9:38).(2) It was the custom of the apostles to magnify their office (Romans 11:13), to weaken the credit of false intruders (1 Corinthians 9:1).

4. His Master. "Of Jesus Christ."(1) They were apostles of Christ, for none ever called themselves apostles of God the Father, because Christ Himself only was the Father's Apostle.(2) Christ only hath authority to make apostles. He chose them to the work, who could enable them to the work.(3) They came not in their own name, but in Christ's (2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

II. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THIS EPISTLE IS WRITTEN.

1. The generality of the person. To them, all them. This is called a "general epistle" —

(1)Not only because the doctrine contained in it is orthodox and catholic.

(2)Nor because the use of it is general.

(3)But because it was directed to all the saints and worshippers of Jesus Christ, howsoever, wheresoever dispersed, or whensoever despised. For with God is no respect of persons.

2. The qualification of this generality. "That hath faith."

3. The excellency of this qualification. "Precious faith." As Athens was called Greece of Greece, so faith may be called the grace of grace.

(T. Adams.)

Them that have obtained like precious faith
Let us first of all glance at THE FAMILY THAT IS HERE ADDRESSED. The letter is directed plainly, and to deal honestly with Scripture, and to deal honestly with souls, we must do as an honest postman would do. When he takes his budget of letters from the office, he does not take pains to tear off the envelopes and directions, and scatter them in the streets for any one to pick up. This should be the case with regard to this Epistle. It is not addressed to us individually, but it is "to them that have obtained like precious faith with us." In order to ascertain if the letter belongs to me, I must ascertain if I have like precious faith with the author. The fraternity to whom all this Epistle is addressed, they have obtained like precious faith — apostolic faith. How is this? Did they buy it? Did they earn it? Did they trace it out by dint of study? Verily not. Those who really have it, have it inspired in their souls, implanted in their experience as a living grace, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. And this leads me to observe that this precious faith obtains and maintains a holy intimacy with God in all the persons and perfections of the Trinity. There is another point I must press upon you, and that is the basing of faith upon truth, as its solid bottom. If the faith of God's elect has taken possession of your heart, I know that the testimony of Scripture with regard to all the doctrines of grace, will be received in your creed.

II. Ascertain THE EVIDENCE OF OUR AFFINITY. "Like faith in us." "Like!" How am I to know it is "like"? Now I really think it will be quite fair to ascertain what is like the apostles'; let us appeal to the apostles' preaching, and to their practice. Now I think their preaching consisted of three things chiefly — affirming, admonishing, and advising. They were accustomed to affirm. Says the apostle — "opening and alleging that Jesus Christ must needs suffer and enter into His glory." Well, then, they went on to admonish, and they could say to the rejectors of the gospel, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish." And this led on to their advising them to continue steadfast to the truth, to flee the very appearance of evil, to gird up the loins of their minds, and so on. Moreover, I should like all such to ask the question, whether their practice is at all like the apostles'. Like precious faith will produce like precious practice. And we find the apostles active in the cause of God. So also we find that the apostles' practice way very affectionate — that they spoke in love to those who surrounded them. I want more of this affectionate deportment, as well as activity, and zeal, and vigilance in the cause of God. And then, mark, their lives were of an inspiring nature. They did not content themselves with earth — they wanted not its gaudy toys, but they waited for that crown of righteousness which was laid up for them. Well, just go on to mark that the apostles' faith was immovable and invulnerable. Now, I ask whether this faith that we profess is so much like the apostle's that it is unmovable. Can you stand a cannonading from the enemy? Can you stand a good volley of reproach and insult from the world? Just pass on to mark that this like precious faith, which thus appeals to the apostles is necessarily fixing its attention upon the name and perfect work of Christ, its object is to glorify Christ.

III. THE VERY WONDERFUL APPELLATION GIVEN TO THIS FAITH. It is "like precious faith." One of the first features of its preciousness is that it takes hold of all the stores of the covenant of grace, and appropriates them as its own. But there is one point in the preciousness of faith which appears to me more precious than all the others, and that is its habitual war. "Why we thought that, being justified by faith, we have peace with God." So we have, and yet there is habitual war. There is old Satan, with his roaring like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. What is to be done with him? "Whom resist steadfast in the faith." That is war, at any rate.

(J. Irons.)

I. THE OBJECT OF FAITH as here defined. Revised Version reads more accurately, "faith... in the righteousness." Faith is trust, and the object of trust must be a person. We may say that we trust a promise, but that really means that we trust him who has made it. We may believe a creed, but for trust we must have a living Christ of whom the creed speaks.

II. THE WORTH OF THIS FAITH.

1. You remember that in one verse we read about the door of faith. What is the worth of a door? It is only a hole in a wall. The value of the door is that which it admits into. So faith is precious, not because of anything in itself, but because of what it grasps, and of what it admits into your heart. Just as the hand of a dyer that has been working with crimson will be crimson; just as the hand that has been holding fragrant perfumes will be perfumed; so my faith, which is only the hand by which I lay hold upon precious things, will take the tincture and the fragrance of what it grasps. A bit of earthenware piping may be worth a few pence in intrinsic value, but if it is the means by which water is brought into a beleaguered city, which else would perish of thirst, who will estimate its worth?

2. Then again, we may consider the worth of faith as a defence. We read of the shield of faith. I do not become safe by believing myself to be so, however strong may be the imagination or the fancy. All depends upon what it is that I am relying on. Your faith is precious because it knits you to Christ's immortal stability.

3. And in like manner we may consider the worth of faith as a purifier. But how does faith purify? Is there anything in my confidence which will make me pure? No! there is no moral efficacy in the mere act of trust. All depends upon what it is that you are trusting to. You will get like what you are trusting to. The only faith that purifies is faith in Him that is pure.

III. THE SUBSTANTIAL IDENTITY AND EQUAL PRECIOUSNESS OF FAITH IN ALL VARIETIES OF FORM AND DEGREE. The deepest thing in every man that has it is his faith in Jesus Christ, and likeness in that brings him near all others who have it, however unlike on the surface their characteristics may be. All manner of differences in opinion, in politics, in culture, in race which may separate men from men, are like the cracks upon the surface of a bit of rock, which are an inch deep, while the solid mass goes down a thousand feet. But I am not going to pretend that the man whose Christ did not die for him, and whose Christ gives him no righteousness in which he can stand before God, possesses "like precious faith with us." To say that he does is to worship charity at the expense of truth. The poor man's half sovereign which stands between him and want is made of the same gold as Rothschild's millions. And so the smallest and the feeblest faith is one ill character, and one in intrinsic value with the loftiest and superbest. Only as is the measure of the man's faith, so will be the measure of his possession of the precious things.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. AS TO ITS NATURE. It doth involve knowledge, knowledge of most worthy and important truths, knowledge peculiar and not otherwise attainable, knowledge in way of great evidence and assurance.

1. Truth is the natural food of our soul. What light is without, that is truth within, shining on our inward world, illustrating, quickening, and comforting, exciting all our faculties to action, and guiding them in it. Faith, therefore, as implying knowledge is valuable.

2. But it is much more so in regard to the quality of its objects, which are the most worthy that can be, and most useful for us to know, the knowledge whereof doth indeed advance ore" soul into a better state, doth raise us to a nearer resemblance with God. Thereby we understand the nature or the principal attributes of God. By it we are fully acquainted with the will and intentions of God, relating both to our duty and our recompense. By it we are informed concerning ourselves. It enableth us rightly to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. It prescribeth us an exact rule of life. It proposeth the most valid inducements to virtue. It discovereth the special aids dispensed to us for the support of our weakness against all temptations. The knowledge of these things is plainly the top of all knowledge whereof we are capable; not consisting in barren notion, not gratifying idle curiosity, not serving trivial purposes, but really bettering our souls.

3. Faith also hath this excellent advantage that it endueth us with such knowledge in a very clear and sure way, it not being grounded on any slippery deduction of reason, nor on slender conjectures of fancy, nor on musty traditions or popular rumours; but on the infallible testimony of God conveyed unto us by powerful evidence.

II. IT HATH ALSO DIVERS INGREDIENTS, OR INSEPARABLE ADJUNCTS, WHICH IT DOTH IMPLY, RENDERING IT COMMENDABLE AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD. As —

1. Faith implieth a good use of reason. This is that which commendeth any virtue, that a man acting after it doth act wisely, in conformity to the frame and design of his nature.

2. Faith implieth a compliance with the providence and grace of God.

3. Faith doth imply good opinion of God and good actions toward Him.

III. THUS IS FAITH PRECIOUS, CONSIDERING ITS NATURE, AND THOSE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OR INSEPARABLE ADJUNCTS WHICH IT DOTH INCLUDE OR IMPLY. It will also appear to be so if we consider its rise and those good dispositions which concur in its production.

1. To the engendering of faith there is required a mind sober, composed, and wakeful; ready to observe what befalleth, apt to embrace what is offered, conducible to our good; a mind not so drowned in worldly care, sensual enjoyment, or impertinent sport as to neglect the concerns of our eternal state.

2. Faith doth require much diligence and industry.

3. Faith must needs proceed from sincerity and soundness of judgment.

4. To the begetting faith there must concur humility, or a readiness to entertain sober and moderate opinions of ourselves, together with suitable affections and desires.

5. To faith much fortitude, much resolution must conspire, for he that firmly persuadeth himself to be a Christian doth embark in most difficult warfare.

6. The noble virtue of patience is likewise accessory to faith.

7. With faith also must concur the virtue of prudence in all its parts and instances; therein is exerted a sagacity, discerning things as they really are in themselves, not as they appear through the masks and disguises of fallacious semblance.

8. In fine, the embracing Christian doctrine doth suppose a mind imbued with all kinds of virtuous disposition in some good degree.

IV. ITS EFFECTS are of two sorts: one springing naturally from it, the other following it in way of recompense from Divine bounty. I shall only touch the first sort, because in this its virtue is most seen, as in the other its felicity. Faith is naturally efficacious in producing many rare fruits. Even in common life faith is the compass by which men steer practice, and the mainspring of action, setting all the wheels of our activity on going; every man acteth with serious intention, and with vigour answerable to his persuasion of things, that they are worthy his pains, and attainable by his endeavours. In like manner is faith the square and the source of our spiritual activity, brooking pains and hardships. What but faith, eyeing the prize, will quicken us "to run patiently the race that is set before us"? We are told that faith doth "purify our souls and cleanse our hearts"; that is, our whole interior man, all the faculties of our soul; disposing them to an universal obedience and conformity to God's holy will; and so it is, for faith not only doth clear our understanding from its defects, but it cleanseth our will from its vicious inclinations, it freeth our affections from disorder and distemper, in tendency toward bad objects, and in pursuit of indifferent things with immoderate violence; it purgeth our conscience or reflexive powers from anxious fear, suspicion, anguish, dejection, despair, and all such passions which corrode and fret the soul; how it effecteth this we might declare; but we cannot better set forth its efficacy than by considering the special influence it plainly hath in the production of each virtue, or on the performance of every duty. "Add to your faith virtue," saith Peter, implying the natural order of things, and that if true faith precede virtue will easily follow. In fine, it is faith alone which can plant in us that which is the root of all contentedness and all patience; a just indifference and unconcernedness about all things here; it alone can untack our minds and affections from this world, rearing our souls from earth and fixing them in heaven.

(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)

In the sacred oracles five objects especially are called precious. The redemption of the soul is precious. The blood of Christ is precious. Christ is precious to His ransomed people. The promises of the gospel are great and precious. And in our text faith is called precious. That is accounted precious which is of an excellent quality, especially if it be rare. Gold is preferred to brass, moral virtue to gold; but the faith of God's elect infinitely surpasseth these, and every acquisition below the sun. And in its operations and effects it is most excellent. What tends farther to raise the value of saving faith in our esteem is —

1. The manner in which we are made partakers of it, namely, by the gracious and sovereign disposal of heaven.

2. That the weakest real believers share the blessing together with the strongest apostles themselves, greatly magnifieth our idea of its worth.

I. First, saving faith consists in THE CREDIT THE HEART YIELDETH TO THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS, "the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness." This testimony we have delivered to us in the law and the gospel.

1. In believing the soul is persuaded of the power of Christ to save it, guilty and wretched as it is; for God hath laid help upon One that is mighty to save.

2. In saving faith the soul gives full credit to this great gospel truth, that the mercy of Christ is equal to His power to save.

3. In believing the heart fully confides in the faithfulness of Christ to perform His promise of eternal life to all those who believe on Him.

4. Take notice of the light or evidence by which true believers discern, and yield their assent to the truths of the gospel. Now this is wholly supernatural. The full credit given by the heart to the testimony of the Spirit in His Word, is peculiar to saving faith; there is therefore an essential difference between this and the assent of mere common professors. This difference chiefly consists in three things.(1) The transcendent glories of faith's object are truly discerned by the one; the other has only some dark ineffectual notices of them. The difference is as real and as great as that of seeing an object and hearing of it only.(2) The objects of faith are most agreeable to the faculties and condition of true believers. In them they perceive everything for their entertainment and profit.(3) They differ widely in the effects they have upon the minds of their respective subjects. The impressions the objects of faith make upon the mind of temporary believers, are as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away, leaving their hearts still unchanged. But sincere believers with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.

II. Explain the nature of TRUST IN CHRIST, the second constituent of saving faith. This act of faith is called a receiving Christ, embracing Him, accepting Him, coming to Him, leaning upon Him, and resting on Him for salvation.

1. It implies a hearty approbation of the scheme of redemption in the blood of Christ, as originating from, and infinitely worthy of, the wisdom, mercy, and love of God.

2. Trust in Christ more specifically consists in the hearty acquiescence of the soul in Him for salvation. Its leading exercise is a rest in His propitiation for pardon, and then, being accepted in the Beloved for grace, for glory, and for every mercy. He is all in all to believers.(1) The gospel offers Christ fully in all His offices, for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. And faith corresponding fully with the offer, accepteth Him as the only remedy for ignorance, guilt, slavery, and every misery to which sin hath subjected a fallen world.(2) The gospel offers Christ in due order — Christ Himself first, and then His gifts. It inviteth us to come to Him, and promiseth rest upon our coming.(3) The gospel offers Christ and all the blessings of His purchase freely, without money and without price; and faith disclaiming all goodness wrought in or done by the creature, as a ground of trust. Lessons:

1. What ground of lamentation is it, and how surprising that the far greatest part of those who profess the name of Christ, and the Scriptures to be His Word, have, notwithstanding, so little of Him in their religion, and are such strangers to the doctrine of faith in His blood for salvation.

2. From what hath been said, many professors of religion might be easily convinced, did they yield to the evidence of it, that they have not the true faith of the gospel, but are still held in the chains of unbelief and condemnation! For he that believeth not is condemned already.

3. I most earnestly beseech unbelievers of every description to acknowledge your character fully and freely. Admit the conviction of your guilt and danger, fall at the feet of mercy, and beg for the life of your souls.

(R. South, D. D.)

The Congregational Pulpit.
1. Faith, considered intellectually, is valuable.

2. The value of faith appears in its power, of realising in our minds the existence and presence of God.

3. Faith appears pre-eminently precious when we remember that by it we obtain a part in the great work of redemption which our Lord Jesus Christ has affected.

4. The preciousness of faith appears in its beneficial influence on character.

5. The value of faith is felt in the power it has to sustain and comfort the mind when no other help is available.

(The Congregational Pulpit.)

Faith and life! these are vital points to a Christian. They possess so intimate a connection with each other that they are by no means to be severed. You shall never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other band, you shall never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other!

I. OBSERVE WHAT HE SAYS CONCERNING THE THE CHARACTER AND THE ORIGIN OF FAITH, AND THEN CONCERNING THE CHARACTER, AND ORIGIN OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. Let us begin where Peter begins, with the faith. You have here a description of true saving faith.

1. First, you have a description of its source. He says, "To them that have obtained like precious faith." It is not a matter which springs up by a process of education, or by the example and excellent instruction of our parents; it is a thing which has to be obtained. Now, that which is obtained by us must be given to us; and well are we taught in Scripture that "faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God."

2. Peter having described the origin of this faith, proceeds to describe it's object. The word "through" in our translation might, quite as correctly, have been rendered "in" — "faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." True faith, then, is a faith in Jesus Christ, but it is a faith in Jesus Christ as Divine. Who but a God could bear the weight of sin? Who but a God shall be the "same yesterday, to-day, and for ever"? Remark, that the apostle has put in another word beside "God," and that is, "of God and our Saviour." As if the glory of the Godhead might be too bright for us, he has attempered it by gentler words — "our Saviour." Now, to trust Jesus Christ as Divine, will save no man, unless there be added to this a resting in Him as the great propitiatory sacrifice. A Saviour is He to us when He delivers us from the curse, punishment, guilt, and power of sin.

3. Notice the word "righteousness." It is a faith in the righteousness of our God and our Saviour. I have not received Jesus Christ at all, but I am an adversary to Him, unless I have received Him as Jehovah Tsidkenu — the Lord of our righteousness. There is His perfect life; that life was a life for me; it contains all the virtues, in it there is no spot; it keeps the law of God, and makes it honourable; my faith takes that righteousness of Jesus Christ, and it is cast about me, and I am then so beauteously arrayed, that even the eye of God can see neither spot nor blemish in me.

4. Our apostle has not finished the description, without saying that it is "like precious faith." All faith is the same sort of faith.

5. He tells us too that faith is "precious"; and is it not precious? for it deals with precious things, with precious promises, with precious blood, with a precious redemption, with all the preciousness of the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Well may that be a precious faith which supplies our greatest want, delivers us from our greatest danger, and admits us to the greatest glory. Well may that be called "precious faith," which is the symbol of our election, the evidence of our calling, the root of all our graces, the channel of communion, the weapon of prevalence, the shield of safety, the substance of hope, the evidence of eternity, the guerdon of immortality, and the passport of glory. So much, then, concerning faith. Now we shall turn to notice the life. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God," etc.

1. Here we have, then, the fountain and source of our spiritual life. Just as faith is a boon which is to be obtained, so you will perceive that our spiritual life is a principle which is given. A thing which is given to us, too, by Divine power — "according as His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." The selfsame power which is required to create a world and to sustain it is required to make a man a Christian, and unless that power be put forth the spiritual life is not in any one of us.

2. You will perceive that Peter wished to see this Divine life in a healthy and vigorous state, and therefore he prays that grace and peace may be multiplied. Divine power is the foundation of this life; grace is the food it feeds upon, and peace is the element in which it lives most healthily.

3. Observe, again, that in describing this life he speaks of it as one which was conferred upon us by our being called. He says, "We were called unto glory and virtue." I find translators differ here. Many of them think the word should be "By" — "We are called by the glory and virtue of God" — that is, there is a manifestation of all the glorious attributes of God, and of all the efficacious virtue and energy of His power in the calling of every Christian. He says there was in that calling, the Divine glory and virtue; and, doubtless, when you and I shall get to heaven, and see things as they are, we shall discover in our effectual calling of God to grace, a glory as great as in the creation of worlds, and a virtue as in the healing of the sick, when virtue went from the garments of a Saviour.

II. In the fourth verse HE DEALS WITH THE PRIVILEGES OF FAITH, AND ALSO WITH THE PRIVILEGES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE, Notice the privilege of faith first. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises."

1. Note here, then, we have received by precious faith the promise and pardon.

2. Then comes the righteousness of Christ: you are not only pardoned, that is, washed and made clean, but you are robed in garments such as no man could ever weave. The law was great — this righteousness is as great as the law. The law asked a precious revenue from man, more than humanity could pay — the righteousness of Christ has paid it all. Is it not great and precious?

3. then next comes reconciliation. You were strangers, but you are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Is not this great and precious?

4. Then comes your adoption. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God," etc. "And if children, then heirs," etc. Oh, how glorious is this great and precious promise of adoption!

5. Then we have the promise of Providence: "All things work together for good to them that love God," etc.

6. Then you have the promise too, that you shall never taste of death but shall only sleep in Jesus. "Write, Blessed are the dead," etc. Nor does the promise cease here — you have the promise of a resurrection. "For the trumpet shall sound," etc. Now, beloved, see how rich faith makes you!-what treasure! — what gold-mines! — what oceans of wealth! — what mountains of sparkling treasures has God conferred upon you by faith I But we must not forget the life. The text says He has given us this promise, "that" — "in order that." What then? What are all these treasures lavished for? Is the end worthy of the means? Surely God never giveth greater store than the thing which He would purchase will be worth. We may suppose, then, the end to be very great when such costly means have been given; and what is the end? Why, "that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature." We are, by grace, made like God. "God is love"; we become love — "He that loveth is born of God." God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true, and we hate the darkness and the lie. God is good, it is His very name; He makes us good by His grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Nay, I will say this, that we become partakers of the Divine nature in even a higher sense than this — in fact, in any sense, anything short of our being absolutely Divine. Do we not become members of the body of the Divine person of Christ? And what sort of union is this "members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones"? Then the other result which follows from it is this, "Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Ah, beloved, it were ill that a man who is alive should dwell in corruption. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" said the angel to Magdalene. Should the living dwell among the dead? Should Divine life be found amongst the corruptions of worldly lusts?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Those he describeth here from their faith, which is amplified, first, from the certainty of it, they had obtained it. Secondly, from the quality and worth of it; it was of like price with the faith of the apostles, worthy of the same respect that theirs was. Thirdly, from the means whereby they did obtain it, even the righteousness of Christ, that is, His fidelity and truth in keeping His promises. True justifying faith is of great price and worth, styled here a precious faith. First, from the causes of faith. Secondly, from the effects of faith. Thirdly, from the subject of faith, or persons which have faith; those are not every one, for all men have not faith. Fourthly, from the properties or qualities of faith. It is a saving faith; it is a justifying faith; it is a sanctifying faith. It is the faith of God's elect. It hath great boldness in it. Fifthly, from the object of faith, which is Jesus Christ; styled, therefore, the faith of Jesus Christ. Sixthly, by comparing faith with other graces, hope, love, humility, and the like, they are precious. Therefore is faith (the mother grace, the lady and mistress on whom the rest wait) of great price and worth. Seventhly, by comparing it with things external which are accounted precious, gold, silver, precious stones, and the like. For instruction, first, that faith is diligently to be inquired and searched for. Secondly, that faith is much to be respected.and honoured. Thirdly, that such as have obtained faith, are possessors of a jewel of great price.

(A. Symson.)

Faith in all God's children is alike precious. Alike, I say, in price, in worth, in nature, in substance, in kind, though not in extent and measure. There is a weak faith and there is a strong faith, and yet both alike precious. Peter no doubt had greater faith than all or most of those had to whom he wrote, yet doth he acknowledge that they had obtained like precious faith. Some attain unto a great faith, which may be compared to a great flame, a great fountain, a strong man's holding or gripping of a thing; some again have but a weak faith, like a sparkle, like a drop of water, like a child holding of a thing; the sparkle is as truly fire as the flame is; the drop as really water as the fountain is; the child's gripping, as the strong man's. Even so faith in the least child of God, though it were but as a "grain of mustard seed," is as truly faith as the faith of the apostles, the faith of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. So that faith is alike precious to all.

(A. Symson.)

I.FAITH IS PRECIOUS IN ITS OBJECT.

II.FAITH IS PRECIOUS IN ITS TESTIMONY.

III.FAITH IS PRECIOUS IN ITS BENEFITS.

IV.FAITH IS PRECIOUS IN ITS INFLUENCES. Faith produces —

1. A living spiritual influence.

2. A comforting influence.

3. An enriching influence.

4. An establishing and conquering influence.

5. A joyous triumphing influence.

6. A meetening influence for eternal glory.

(J. Burns.)

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you
I. THE MATTER. "Grace and peace."

1. We are here taught the Christian use of salutings; such godly compliments are not to be neglected.

2. We are further taught here to use good forms in saluting. "Grace and peace," gracious, not grievous; holy, not hollow; blessings, not curses.(1) Grace. By this is generally meant the receiving of the sinner into the covenant of mercy, into God's favour by Christ.(a) Many prophets and holy men of the first times lived in grace, but not under grace.(b) Many in our times live under grace, but not in grace, hearing the gospel and receiving the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1).(c) The unbelieving Gentiles were neither in grace nor under grace.(d) They that now believe are both under grace and in it. Under it, as released from the damning power of sin (Romans 8:1); in it, as delivered from the reigning power of sin.(2) "Peace." I take it specially for the tranquillity of conscience; that which follows righteousness.(3) I come from considering this sweet pair of graces asunder, to join them again together.(a) It is not enough to wish grace to the souls of our friends, but also peace; that is, health to their bodies, and other temporal blessings.(b) The apostle puts grace before peace.(c) The apostle wisheth to us the best things, grace and peace. There be two fiends that torment us — sin and a bad conscience. Now grace delivers us from sin, and peace doth quiet the conscience.

II. THE MEASURE OF HIS WISH: the increase and multiplication of these blessings. For the goods of this world, the best point of arithmetic is division: it is a better thing to give than to receive, said our Lord. But for heavenly graces, the best point is multiplication.

1. There is no plenary perfection in this life, for we must still be in multiplying our graces.

2. We must seek to multiply our grace and peace. He hath nothing that thinks he hath enough.

III. THE MANNER. "Through the knowledge," etc. This means not a mere knowledge, but an acknowledgment, a reflective and doubling knowledge. There is knowledge mental, sacramental, and experimental. The first is by the light of nature; the second by the power of grace; the third by the practice of life and continual proving the favour of God.

1. The means of multiplying grace and peace in our hearts is knowledge of God (John 17:3; Psalm 9:10).

2. There is something in grace and knowledge still wanting, that must be multiplied and increased; for we know but in part.

3. There is no knowing of God with comfort, but through Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:27). Without Him, he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth his own sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18).

(Thos. Adams.)

1. Such as have experience of the worth of grace and peace in themselves, desire also that others may be partakers of the same.

2. The preachers of God's Word ought by their labours and endeavours, by their wishes and prayers, to point out unto their people those things for which they should especially labour and endeavour.

3. The grace and favour of God is the chiefest good thing to be sought after, to be wished and desired above all things in the world next to God's glory.

4. God doth bestow His graces upon His own children, not all at once, but by degrees as He findeth them fit and capable to receive them. This I gather from the word "multiplied."

5. Grace and peace may be obtained, continued, and increased through the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ. That the main reason why so many complain of the want of peace of conscience, and of their not profiting in grace, is their not growing and increasing in saving knowledge.

(A. Symson.)

Through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord
The advancement in the Divine life of those in whom it is begun is the aim of this Epistle. Solemn and earnest, yet animating and assuring, are these his farewell words. It is a voice from the borders of eternity — from the threshold of glory — the voice of one who has all but reached the goal. The Christian life is life that springs up and grows through the knowledge of Christ.

I. ASPECTS OF LIFE IN CHRIST. The delineation of life in Christ by the hand of the apostle here is one of marvellous richness and completeness. First your eye is directed to heavenly birth — the Divine source of the holy life which we enjoy through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. You see it coming down from God out of heaven, having the glory of God stamped on it. "His Divine power (ver. 3) has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness." If with your own hand you must tend and trim the lamp, that the flame of holiness may burn on and burn even brighter, God ministers the oil of grace wherewith it is fed. But next, if we ask, What are the essential elements and characteristic features of this life from on high? we have a clear answer. Worthy of its Divine source is its noble expression, in those Christian excellences which the apostle in the three following verses (5-7), commands us to acquire. A fair and glorious edifice this which you are called to build. Survey it well from base to cope, if you would know what it is to build yourself up on your most holy faith. In the change which every day is making on you, is there discernible any trace of the gradual advancement towards completion in your daily deeds and words of such a structure as this?

II. LIFE THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST. The dawn of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus is the dawn of spiritual life in your heart — its noon is life eternal in the heavens. That life and that light are really one. Till you know God revealing Himself in Christ, and in Christ reconciling Himself to you, you have not begun the Christian life. To know Jesus is to master the science of salvation — it is to know God. To know Jesus is to receive the life of God into our souls. To see farther into the heart of Jesus, to see in His face the ever-blessed Trinity — Father, Son, and Spirit — with whom in eternal bonds you are linked, and for whose blissful communion you are prepared — this is to make progress in the life of faith. Each new step of advance in that life is the fruit and the forerunner of new discoveries of Christ.

(W. Wilson, M. A.)

The fires of the sun in the distant heavens are not more necessary to ripen the wheat or to perfect the grace of the wild-flower than are the great revelations of Christ concerning God to create and sustain the characteristic Christian virtues. The religion of Christ regulates, inspires, and sustains the morals of Christ. The morals are part of the religion.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

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