2 Peter 1:19-21
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place…
Some to whom the apostle writes might object, that, if personal intercourse be the ground of certainty concerning Christ, Peter may well be certain; but what of them who have had no such personal intercourse? The apostle deals with that in the passage before us. Earnestness about spiritual things due to certainty about Christ is followed here by certainty about Christ the result of giving heed to the Divine Word.
I. PERSONAL POSSESSION OF CHRIST IS THE GREAT PROOF OF SPIRITUAL REALITIES. How are we to know that Christ is, that he is the Saviour, the Way to the Father? We have testimony, the testimony of this book, the testimony of those who have come under his saving power, the testimony of what we have seen of the effect of his religion on the world. And we should deem that sufficient in any other matter. But so great arc the issues of this, that the soul suggests to itself that in this evidence there may be a flaw; that in spite of it, Jesus and what he can do may be a figment, and it craves evidence which never can be questioned, that it may cast itself on him without a fear. That seems an impossible thing to ask, but it is not - it can be granted. There is a witness to Jesus which no reasoning can shake. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself."
1. To possess Christ is to know that he is. I have him, therefore I know he is; he has wrought his work on me, therefore I know what he can do.
2. To possess Christ is to possess the Revealer. If he dwells within us, the soul becomes a temple where he unveils his face and reveals his glory.
3. To possess Christ is to have that which throws light on spiritual things. We never see Divine love clearly till then, nor the sinfulness of sin, nor the beauty of holiness, nor the sweetness of the will of God, nor the meaning of redemption. Let us not wonder if we are dark till then; it must be dark "until the day dawn, and the Day-star arise in our hearts."
II. THE WAY TO POSSESS CHRIST IS BY GIVING HEED TO THE DIVINE WORD. The Day-star had arisen in the hearts of many to whom the apostle wrote. But what of those who would read this letter of whom that was not true - what could they do? For them the morning had not yet come; but they have a Lamp - "the Word of prophecy made more sure... as a lamp that shineth in a dark place." Let them take heed to that, and it will bring them to the dawn. "More sure:" more sure than what? The Revised Version shows how it ought to read. The Word of prophecy made "more sure" because it had been fulfilled. Many of the predictions in the Old Testament about Christ were vague and mysterious, but now that they had been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, their meaning and truth were apparent; they could now be read and pondered with a confidence not possible before.
1. Scripture is the revelation of Christ. He is not to be found in nature, though he is there, and gleams of his glory appear therein on every side; but they are only gleams, not himself. He is not to be known by imagination; he is far beyond man's thought, and to fashion a Christ for ourselves, according to what we think ought to be, is to bow before a god of our own creation. Nor is he to be known by our highest spiritual experiences apart from Scripture. For though it is in communion he makes himself known to us, even that is through the medium of Scripture, and in harmony with what Scripture teaches. We cannot know Christ till we come to Scripture.
2. To "give heed" to Scripture is to obey and trust him who is revealed therein. But before we can trust ourselves to Scripture, we must have reasonable evidence that it is trustworthy. We must know on what intelligible ground these books, written by so many writers, are rightly regarded as the Word of God. Well, the Old Testament is as it was in the time of our Lord. He recognized it as the Divine Word, made it the ground of his teaching, declared it the final authority, that "the Scripture cannot be broken." The principle which determines the New Testament is equally simple. Christ said that he had more to say than he said whilst he was with his servants, and that the Spirit of truth should come to guide them into all truth; that Spirit came, and under his instructions the apostles wrote many things. Those books, then, which can be proved to have been written by them, or to have had their sanction, - all such books (but only those) are brought together to form the New Testament, the apostles being the duly authenticated messengers of Christ, of whom he said, "He that heareth you heareth me." The sacred writers impressed their peculiarities on their several productions, but behind them all there was the Divine Mind directing. Sometimes it was only necessary that they should be guarded from error in relating facts with which they were familiar; sometimes they were instructed to write what they could not fully understand - things far above them, demanding direct illumination; but in any case they were subject to the control and teaching of the Holy Ghost. There is a marvelous unity in the Bible, which shows it to be the product of one Mind; and a marvelous power by which it carries regeneration with it, which shows it to be the work of him who only can re-create.
3. To obey and trust Christ as here revealed is to come to know him perfectly. Christ has promised to make himself known to the obedient. He says, "If a man love me, he will keep my words:... and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
III. THE DIVINE WORD ONLY YIELDS ITS SECRETS TO DIVINE INSPIRATION'. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private [literally, 'one's own'] interpretation." Do not go to Scripture attempting to understand it by your own power; make use of it if you are in the dark, but remember beforehand that, as the Holy Ghost inspired men to write it, he must inspire you to understand it.
1. That explains why human learning and an unteachable spirit cannot understand Scripture. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God... they are spiritually discerned."
2. And this suggests the kind of inspiration possible to us now. God inspires his people still, not indeed to write Scripture, but to understand and obey it. Had he intended to inspire all as he inspired the writers of Scripture, why should he have inspired them to write? Clearly that inspiration was to cease.
3. But then this just casts us in prayer for spiritual knowledge on the Holy Ghost. This book is the instrument of the Spirit of God; apart from him it can teach us nothing. Then before we search it, let us bow our heads reverently and say, "Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law." - C.N.
Parallel VersesKJV: We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: