2 Peter 1:1-2
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
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.)
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: