2 Peter 1:5-7
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;…
I. WHAT EXACTLY IS MEANT BY THIS SECOND LINK OF OUR CHAIN. What is meant here is a practical insight into what Christian people ought to do, not only in general, but at each moment in accordance with the circumstances and demands of the instant. The more we can rule our lives by the intelligent application of principles, and not by mere use and wont, instinct, imitation, mechanism, necessity, the more we shall be the men and women that God meant us to be. But Peter does not stop with such a mere toothless generality as that; for everything depends on what the law is which we apply to conduct. So this knowledge is not only of what it is right and wise to do at the moment; but it is knowledge of what it is right and wise, on Christian ground, to do at the moment and in the circumstances. Let the perception of duty be a perception illuminated and determined by the principles of the gospel, and bring that law to bear upon all life. Such a continual reference of daily exigencies and circumstances to the great principles that lie in Christ and His revelation will take the place of that selfish and secular tact and instinct which the world prizes so highly. It wilt give delicacy to roughness, sympathy to the hard, tact to the clumsy, and will bring a simplicity of motive and a suppression of self which are the best possible precautions for seeing clearly what the will of the Lord is. "Supply in your strength knowledge."
II. THE CONNECTION OF THIS LINK IN THE CHAIN WITH THOSE THAT GO BEFORE. The believing man is the truly sagacious man. The real prudence is got in communion with Jesus Christ. The eye that looks at the sun is blinded, but the eye that looks constantly at God sees all things as they are, and is delivered from the illusions which deceive the rest of mankind. To see all in God and God in all, that is the way to understand the depths of things, and to know what, at each moment, they call upon us to do. What we want to know is not only what circumstances and self-advantage require, but what Christ requires, and that we shall learn when we keep near to Him in faith. In like manner the strength, of which my text has been speaking, naturally produces — when it gets fair play, and when men give themselves honestly to work out all that is in it — it naturally produces this happy certitude and illumination upon the path by which we should walk.
III. THE PRACTICAL DUTIES WHICH COME OUT OF THIS EXHORTATION.
1. First, study, and keep very near the pattern of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more wonderful in that wonderful life than the unconscious facility and certainty with which He did the very act, and said the very word that the moment required.
2. Then, again, I would say try and get a more firm and intelligent grip of the principles of the New Testament as a whole. I believe there is the weakness of much of our modern popular Christianity. You do not read your Bibles half enough.
3. Let me say again what is only a deduction from what I have already said — regard all Christian truth as being meant to influence conduct. We write up in churches the Creed on the one side, and the Ten Commandments on the other. Christ is creed and Christ is commandment.
4. Again, let us see to it conversely, that we bring all the actions of our lives under the grip of our Christian principle. The lawyers say, "De minimis non curat lex. The law does not take care of the very small things." Perhaps it does not; Christ's law does. It stretches out its hand over all life, and the smallest duties are its special sphere.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;