2 Peter 1:1-2
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: