The Design of the Promises of God
2 Peter 1:3-4
According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…

I. IN THE DIVINE NATURE ARE ATTRIBUTES PROPERLY INCOMMUNICABLE; SUCH AS CANNOT, IN THE NATURE OF THINGS, BE IMPARTED; SUCH AS CANNOT BE EVEN IMITATED BY CREATURES. It is peculiar to Him to exist in and from Himself; while a creature is a dependent being, and ever must remain so. It is peculiar to Him to be from everlasting to everlasting. It is peculiar to Him to have supreme dominion. Absolute perfection, that which is liable to no injury, admits of no diminution, is capable of no advancement, is peculiar to Him. Finite cannot equal infinite. It is, then, in moral attributes that we are to look for this participation of the Divine nature; in those which, indeed, constitute the very glory of that nature; the others being adorable as they are exercised and employed by a perfect wisdom, rectitude, and love. But let it be here observed that the promise is not that we shall be raised into something like God; sonic mere imitation of what is morally perfect in Him. We are to be partakers of the Divine nature. There is to be a communication on the part of God, and a reception on our own, of those principles on which all that is pure and holy in God may be said to depend; a communication continued to us, on which the growth and permanency of those principles rest. The moral nature of God, thus to be participated by believers, may be summed up in the three terms.

1. Knowledge. The power of knowing is the property of spiritual beings. It is not merely to perceive in the low degree which belongs to irrational animals, but to apprehend, to remember, to compare, to infer, and from particular to bring out general truths, which are to be laid up in the mind for meditation or action. This knowledge is the knowledge of things as good or evil, as right or wrong, as tending or not tending to our own happiness, and that of the whole creation. Infinitely perfect is this knowledge in God. And by the indwelling of His teaching Spirit, opening these truths to our mind, and rendering us discerning to apply them, He makes us partake, in our degree, of His own knowledge, His infallible judgment of things. Then it is that we walk in the light. We find a sure way for our feet, and so are enabled tot escape the snares of death.

2. Holiness. This is essential to God. It is that principle in Him, whatever it may be, which has led Him to prescribe justice, mercy, and truth, and to prohibit their contraries under penalties so severe; that principle, which is more than a mere approval of the things which He enjoins; which makes Him love righteousness. The holiness of a creature as to actions is, conformity to the will of God, which is the visible declaration of His holy nature. That conformity implies justice, a rendering to all their due; a large duty, referring not only to man, but likewise to God, to whom are to be given the honour and worship He requires from us: perfect truth and sincerity in everything, so that all outward acts shall concur with the heart, and the heart with them; and the strict regulation of every temper and appetite, so that they may be kept within the bounds prescribed, beyond which they become impurity and sin. But there must be principle from which all this must flow, or it is only external and imitative; and that principle is found only in the new man, that which conies from this participation of the Divine nature.

3. But the Divine nature is love. Who can doubt this when he sees the happiness of the creatures so manifestly the end of their creation? when we can trace all misery to another source? when we see the mercies He mixes with His judgments, always bringing some good out of evil? when He spared not His own Son, but gave Him freely for us all?

II. We observe, THAT THE VALUE OF THE PROMISES OF THE GOSPEL IS SPECIALLY DISPLAYED BY THEIR CONNECTION WITH THIS END. "There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature." To raise men to this state is matter of promise, and therefore of grace. We might have been left to the sin and degradation we had sought. And the promises thus given to us, all of them suppose the covenant of grace. And when we consider their great design to make us partakers of the Divine nature, how clearly and brightly does it display their value! They appear to us of unspeakable value; "exceeding great and precious."

1. They are so in respect of the honour which this great attainment puts on man.

2. Consider this value in respect to interest. What is the real interest of man but the attainment of the favour and image of God?

3. Consider this value in.respect of peace. There can be no peace to the wicked. Every evil brings its own punishment with it in the disquietude which it occasions.

4. Consider this value in respect of usefulness. Knowledge is a powerful instrument of God when prompted by benevolence and sustained by consistency of character. And where there is this participation of the Divine nature, there we find all these elements of usefulness, knowledge, holiness, and love.

5. And lastly, consider this value in reference to hope.

(R. Watson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

WEB: seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue;

The Christian Virtues in Their Completeness
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