THE IDEAL WIFE AND HUSBAND.
1 Peter 3:1-13.
In the passage before us the Apostle delineates some of the characteristics of the ideal wife and husband. As Christians we not only have to show our Christian faith by Christian actions toward king, country, and neighbours, but in our own homes. In speaking to wives and husbands Peter was qualified by experience. Remember the problems then confronting them because of
1. Woman's emancipation through the Gospel.
2. The common human tendency to rush to extremes.
3. Many of the wives who had become followers of the Lord Jesus wondered if they ought not to leave their heathen husbands. Observe, "That your prayers be not hindered" (verse 7).
I. Concerning Wives (1-6). Elements in true feminine adornment
1. Loyalty to "own husbands" (1). The emphasis on "own husbands" is impressive.
2. Subjection (1). "Be in subjection." A wise woman knows her rightful place.
3. Robe of Purity in conversation and behaviour (2). "When they see how chaste and reverent you are," is M. rendering of verse 2.
4. "Hidden Character Right" (R.) (4). "The hidden man" means the hidden character.
5. Gentle. "With the immortal beauty of a gentle and modest spirit" is M. rendering of verse 4.
6. Modest. As M.
7. Respectful (5, 6).
8. Fearlessness (6). "Are not afraid with any amazement" is in M. "Yield to no passion," or as R.V., "Not put in fear by any terror."
The rendering of verse 3 in the 20th C. New Testament is very fine. "A woman's attractions should not depend upon such external things as the arrangement of her hair, the jewellery she wears, or the style of her dress; but upon the inner lifethe imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, for this is very precious in God's sight." This, certainly, was how the holy women of old made themselves attractive.
II. Concerning Husbands (7). Husbands are to be
1. Considerate. "Ye husbands must be considerate" is M.
2. Intelligent. "According to knowledge." Suggests the need of intelligence, of being well-informed.
3. Respectful. "Give honour unto the wife," or paying homage, that is, bowing down in the spirit in the posture of serious and religious regard. Why? For two reasons:
1st. They are the weaker vessels.
2nd. We are "heirs together."
III. Concerning Each Other (8-13).
1. To Fellow-Christians there should be
a. Oneness of mind (8).
b. Compassion (8).
c. Love (8).
2. To the Weak and Erring. "Be pitiful," i.e., tenderhearted (8).
3. To Equals. Be courteous (8, 9).
4. To Enemies. Do not retaliate (13).
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE PERSECUTED
1 Peter 3:13-17.
Verse 15 is a quotation from the Prophet Isaiah (8:13), with some very significant variations. Isaiah was in danger through faithful preaching, whereupon the Lord sends, or rather gives him, a reassuring message. This Peter quotes, substituting, without any explanation or vindication as if it was a matter of course, the name of Christ in place of Jehovah of the Old Testament. Remembering the reverence the Jews had for the Scriptures, their intense monotheism and dread of putting any creature in place of God, something of the significance of this act will grip you.
Another difference. The Lord is the Sanctuary in Isaiah, whereas in Peter we are the sanctuaries. These are important points.
The Persecuted. Peter is still concerned over the persecuted ones. Persecution brings suffering. In all Paul's Epistles the word "Suffer" occurs but seven times, and never twice in the same Epistle, whereas it comes twelve times in one short letter of the Apostle Peter. Don't forget to connect verse 12 with verse 13. The lesson is: If God's eye is upon you, who shall harm you?
The Safety of Zeal (13). It may seem a strange sentence, yet it is most certainly true, that our safety depends upon ourselves, as well as upon the Lord. Note the importance of the little word "if." "And who is he that will harm you if"- "if" what? "If ye be zealous of that which is good" (R.V. and R.). Moffatt reads, "All who will wrong you if you have a passion for goodness." It could be rendered, "If ye make yourselves zealous." Our Lord Jesus was clad with zeal as with a cloak (Isa. 59:17). And so should His followers be donned. The idea of zeal as a cloak is suggestive. A cloak is (1) a protection from the weather, so we are partly secure in our own enthusiasm. (2) a cloak is seemly and becoming. Not to be zealous for the Lord and His cause is very unseemly and unbecoming of us.
SANCTIFYING THE LORD.
1 Peter 3:11-17.
A Heart Religion. Note the emphasis here upon a heart religion. This is something that has to take place in the hearts of God's people. "Reverence Christ as Lord in your own hearts" (M.). "In your hearts consecrate Christ as Lord" (W.). "But love the Lord Christ in your hearts" (F.F.).
Man a Shrine. The heart of a Christian man or woman is a shrine. It is a place of worship. There is a large congregation there, consisting of wishes, motives, ambitions, desires, likes, unlikes, passions, wishes, longings. And Christ also is there. He ought to be chief, the One in command. He first comes as Guest, but ought to become supreme MasterLord, in every sense of that word. This should be our deliberate actplace the Guest on the throne of our being, ask the Passenger to mount the bridge and take command of the vessel. Ask our Companion to take supreme command
I. What it Means to Sanctify Christ.
1. Set Him Apart from the Common and Ordinary to Special Use. To sanctify in the Bible means to "set apart," and in consequence to view in a different light, ceasing to use or treat as formerly. What is the common use made of our Lord? A Fire Escape. We first begin to think of Him as Saviour from sin and the wrath to come. He is a Fire Escape. But He is much more. He should become everything to us. Thank God that He has saved you from Hell, but also find out what He has saved you to! If a believer, He is already in your heart as Christ. Now make Him your Lord, Master, Sovereign.
2. Worship. To sanctify the Christ in your heart as Lord means that you do set Him on the pedestal and pinnacle of your being, and that you bow down before Him with adoring love and wonder, and with reverence and submission, worshipping Him.
3. Hallow. Sanctify is the same word in the Lord's Prayer rendered "hallowed be Thy Name." We sanctify or hallow One who is holy already, when we recognise that holiness, and honour in speech, thought and act, what we recognise. It means to hallow Him by lip, thought, and service.
II. What will be the Result of such an Act on our Part?
1. A Good Conscience (16). What a boon. A conscience void of offence toward God and man.
2. Purity (16). Purity of heart and thought and life, so patent to our persecutors, "they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation (or life) in Christ."
3. Fearlessness and Calmness (14). "Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled." When Christ is Master within our hearts, He calms and steadies, and gives us calmness and courage.
4. Mental Alertness (15). "And be ready" of the A.V. is in R.V. "Being ready," that is to say, mental alertness follows the setting apart of Christ as Lord. Mental sloth and inability to grasp spiritual things is a malady only too prevalent, and one which would largely disappear if Christ was made Lord of our being.
5. Gentleness. Being ready always to "answer gently and with reverence" is the M. rendering. Another wonderful and impressive result of sanctifying Christ as Lord.
THE SPIRITS IN PRISON.
1 Peter 3:18-22.
What a problem this section is! Regarding it, the late Dr. Jowett wrote: "The concluding passage of this great chapter is like a landscape in the uncertain light of the early mom. Here and there the black shadows still linger and prolong the night. The hollows are filled with mist. A prevailing dimness possesses the scene. From only a few things has the veil dropped, and their lineaments are seen in suggestive outline. On the whole, we are dealing with obscure hints, with partial unveilings, which awaken wonder rather than convey enlightenment." Three separate views of this subject of preaching to the spirits in prison are held, two of which we reject.
I. A Probation After Death. After His death our Lord descended into Hell to preach the Gospel. Some think this probation is only for those who have never heard the Gospel of Christ. Oh, the folly of building such an idea and hope on one solitary vague Scripture. This Scripture does not say there is a probation after death. Our probationary period is now, in life.
II. Jesus Went to the Angels, the Fallen Angels, in prison, to proclaim His triumph on the Cross. There is more in these verses to support this view than the first idea we have noticed. For the word rendered "spirits" by itself, without any qualifying description, is used always of supernatural beings, higher than man, and yet lower than God.
By comparing certain passages, such as 2 Peter 2:4-9; 1 Tim. 3:16; Jude, verses 6 and 7, we learn that prior to the Flood, certain angelic beings sinned. But note this, the word translated "preached" is never used in connection with the preaching of the Gospel. R. renders it "proclaim" or "herald." If we accept this view, then what the passage simply states is that the triumphant completion of Christ's death on the Cross was made known to Hell as well as Heaven. We are not told that any repented, or even could repent.
III. A Preaching which Took Place in the Days of Noah, by Noah Himself. The late Dr. Pierson, who was very level-headed, declared: "These Scriptures do not refer at all to His (Our Lord Jesus) own preaching to them after His death, but in the person of Noah by the Holy Spirit who guided Noah as a preacher of Christ." Noah was a preacher. He preached, for the Lord, by the aid of the Holy Spirit. "By which (Spirit) He went and preached (through Noah) to the spirits (now) in prison" (C.H.M.).
Do not let this problem of the "spirits in prison" crowd out the main idea of the verses. Peter is comparing the sufferings of our Lord with the sufferings of His persecuted followers. Are you suffering? Take heart, you are not exceptional. Even our Master was not exempt from suffering, and suffering need not hinder our usefulness.
1. "Once suffered" (18). This overthrows the idea behind the sacrifice of the Mass, of repeated sacrifices.
2. "For." That preposition contains a whole volume of theology. It announces the substitutionary aspect of the death of Christ.
3. "Bring us to God." "Introduces us to God" is the R. rendering.
1 Peter 4:1-6.
Armed with a mighty thought in order that the life might be dominated by the Will of the Spirit of God.
Introduction. There are several arresting phrases in this section.
1. "Arm yourselves" (4:1). "Nerve you" (M.). This is a picturesque metaphor. Life is a battle, a campaign. We must arm ourselves! What with? A thought! And a thought about the death of Christ and its implications and applications.
2. "Cease from Sin" (4:1). "Gets quit of sin" (M.). "Ceased unto sins" (R.V., margin). "Is at rest from sin" (W., margin). What a glorious message we have here!
3. Note the Two Wills. The Will of God (4:2) versus the Will of the Gentiles (4:3).
4. Note the Two "Think it Strange" (4:4, 12). They were not only astonished, but also persecuted.
I. Reign of the Flesh. "Appetites " (3).
1. There is no harm in any natural appetite, considered in itself. Appetites have been given for the preservation of the race, and for our physical well-being.
2. But our appetites have been spoiled by the Fall. They have been disturbed by sin, so that they do not work as God intended. As the late Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote: "When man fell, appetite broke from the grasp of the will, and began to seek often its own gratification, irrespective of those necessary uses and legitimate bonds which had been assigned by God's love and wisdom."
3. These appetites, these habits, have been strengthened by generations of evil living.
4. Now, here is the problem: These appetites must not be eradicated. This must not be, else the race would perish. Instead, they must be cleansed, sanctified, controlled. Is this possible?
5. The sins in the appalling list given in verses 3 are, most closely connected with the flesh, literal flesh.
II. The Reign of the Spirit. How is verse 2 possible? This is the very purpose of the Gospel (6). And how can this be brought about? Arm yourselves with a thought. Thus we see the effect of mind upon character.
Someone has remarked: "Christian morality brought two new things into the worlda new type of life in sharp contrast with the sensuality rife on every side, and a new set of motives, powerfully aiding in its realisation. Both these novelties are presented in this passage."
What Thought? We are to arm ourselves with a thought. What thought? 1st, That suffering in the flesh is not, as the world counts it, an unmixed evil, but often a deep blessing. 2nd, That Christ's sufferings during life were because of the fact that "His life was dominated by a supreme thought; it was controlled by an all-commanding purpose. He rejected the sovereignty of the flesh; He subordinated the temporal! He uncrowned the body, making it a common subject, and compelling it to obeisance to high commands." 3rd, The thought of the Cross of Christ. Drink in the meaning of Christ's death. "The pious contemplation of His death will most powerfully kill the love of sin in the soul, and kindle an ardent hatred of it." 4th, The thought of my death in Christ, of my identification with His death. Drink in the spirit of Christ's death till it be repeated in you. Dead men do not sin. We are viewed in the Mind and Purpose of God as having died with Christ in His death, and raised in His resurrection. We must regard ourselves as having passed out of this life in which flesh and sense reign supreme.
HELPS TO THE PRAYER LIFE.
1 Peter 4:7.
Introduction. To those who read the signs of the times, two movements are noticed with delight. First, a general expectancy of the Lord's Coming. Second, a general revival of prayer. Is there any connection between the two? Yes. The latter is the result of the former. Read 1 Peter 4:7.
The subject of prayer is one of great importance. Prayer is the first evidence of the new life; (Behold he prayeth, Acts 9:11) an elementary condition of the fulness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). One of the first conditions for the hearing of God's Voice is shutting the door (Matt. 6:6 exemplified in John 20:19-23), and for success in Christian work, see what followed Elisha's shutting of the door (2 Kings 4:33, etc.).
Of course we must work as well as pray.
1. A ship was overtaken by a storm. The tumult of the wind and the waves was rendered more fearful by the flashes of lightning and the roar of thunder. The captain issued orders, and all but one man ran to their several posts of duty. This one, overcome with terror, fell upon his knees" on the deck, and prayed for mercy and deliverance. Seeing the man on his knees, he ran at him, shook him by the collar, crying, "Say your prayers in fair weather."
2. Two Scottish ministers were once crossing a loch in the Highlands. It was a ferry, and the boat was full of passengers. A sudden storm arose, as often happens in these mountain waters. It seemed a time of peril. One of the passengers exclaimed: "Let the ministers pray, or we'll be drooned!" "Na,na," said the boatman, "the little ane may pray, but the big ane maun tak' an oar and pull while he prays."
I. Self-Control. "Exercise self-restraint and watchfulness, to help you to pray" (20th C). "Therefore, sober-minded and temperate, so that you may give yourselves to prayer" (W.). Let there be a noble self-restraint in respect to every lawful appetite.
II. Sobriety of Thought. "Steady then, keep cool and pray," is the Moffatt rendering of verse 7. The thought of the nearness of the Lord's Coming should not lead to excitement and neglect of common duties, but to sobriety of thought.
R. gives "of sound mind" instead of sober. This is suggestive of healtha healthy mind. Life is to be chastened by reasonableness and sanity. We must avoid panic and giddiness.
III. Alertness. "Watch unto prayer." Note the association elsewhere of alertness and Lord's Coming (Matt. 24:44; 25:13), and also prayer (Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2).
1 Peter 4:8-11.
Peter's Lesson. We are not surprised to find the Apostle Peter insisting so strenuously on love. Could he ever forget the interview the Lord had with him when the Master thrice reminded him that the supreme qualification for ministry was love.
The agreement of the Three. In giving pre-eminence to love as the greatest of Christian virtues, Peter is in perfect harmony with both Paul and John. It is of special interest in this connection to remember the different natures of these three men, and to observe their agreement in this emphasis. Paul was a theologian; Peter a zealot; John the mystic. Yet all are agreed, as is evident by their writings, that love is the distinguishing virtue of Christianity.
The Quality of Love.
1. Peter assumes that the charity is there, but insists on the quality.
2. It must be fervent:
a. At boiling point.
b. A love that is warm, ardent.
c. "He did not so much suggest a love that is ardent as a love that is tense. The very word tense is almost the original word" (Jowett).
3. A love that will show itself in many practical ways.
I. Love Covers. "Love throws a veil over a multitude of faults" (W., 8).
1. This is a quotation from Prov. 10:12.
2. Have you ever connected Prov. 28:13 with this statement in Peter?
3. There is a covering of sin which is allowable, if the sin be another's, and not my own.
4. Love forgets as well as forgives.
5. Love does not keep hinting at past failures and past revolts. Love is willing to hide them in a nameless grave.
6. Few of us are without faults.
II. Love Gives (9).
What? Many things, but hospitality is here referred to. How? Without "grudging" or "murmuring" (R.V.).
1. Most of the early Christians were very poor, and living in what we would call hovels. Yet they were exhorted to be hospitable.
2. The need then of hospitality is clearly seen.
a. Those who had lost homes for Christ's sake.
b. Those who were pilgrim preachers away from their own homes.
III. Love Ministers (10).
1. For "gift" M. gives "talent."
2. "Manifold." "Many coloured" was Sir Arthur Blackwood's translation.
a. He did not merely mean by manifold, "many."
b. "Varied" (M.). Variegated, many coloured, Not a question of quantity, but quality.
3. "Let every man bring his colour, and let all the world see how variegated in charm and love is the total grace or gift of God."
4. "Every man holds his own colour of grace as a steward."
5. Shades of colour only look well in the whole.
6. Other variegated mercies are as follows:
a. Wisdom (Eph. 3:10).
b. Mercies (Nehemiah 9:19, 20).
c. Works (Psa. 104:24). d. Grace (Eph. 3:7).
e. Talents (1 Peter 4:10).
7. "Received." Then we must not take any credit.
IV. Love Dogmatises (11). "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." Or, as M., "preach as one who utters the Words of God;" or W., "as uttering God's truth."
Love speaks with no uncertain sound. For love speaks with authority. There is also in this phrase the thought of speaking in the Holy Spirit as the oracles of God were written.
V. Love Glorifies. The master-passion of love is that the loved onethe Lordshould be glorified. "That God in all things may be glorified."
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUFFERING
1 Peter 4:12-19.
As already pointed out, Peter wrote his Epistle particularly to comfort sufferers. This is a precious section. Let us summarise. His advice to suffering saints is
I. Don't be Surprised (12). Note the depth of his sympathy as expressed in "Beloved." "Do not be surprised at the ordeal that has come to test you, as though some foreign experience befall you. You are sharing what Christ suffered" (M.). Once Peter thought differently. (Study Matt. 16:21-23). Now he thinks it strange that he or anyone could have imagined anything else.
To save you from thinking "it strange" that you should be called to pass through fiery trials, remember:
1. What you are. You are a child of God at enmity with Satan and opposed to the world.
2. Where you are. You are passing through enemy territory. You are travelling through what rightly could be called "Emmanuel's Land," but the enemy has invaded and captured it, and has become "the God of this World."
3. Your Destiny. You are marching through enemy territory to "fairer worlds on high." No wonder you are assailed and persecuted.
Observe, "Fiery trial." W. renders it "The scorching flame of persecution." Fire:
a. Tests character.
b. Purifies lives.
c. Unites believers.
d. Introduces to a holy and blessed companionship (See Daniel 3:25).
II. Be Sure and Rejoice (13). Why? You are sharing suffering with the Lord. He suffers with you. You will, in consequence, share in His triumph. "Ye may be glad also with triumphant gladness" (W.).
III. You are to be Envied (14). "If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ you are to be envied." (W.). Why? Several reasons may be given, but Peter gives onea special gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon sufferers. "Spirit of God Himself resteth upon you" (M.).
IV. Yet be on your Guard (15, 16). Take great care that you yourself, by misconduct, do not bring suffering down on your head.
V. Be Assured that He will Avenge You (17, 18). Does not He say elsewhere, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord?"
VI. Let there be a Definite Commitment on your Part (19). "According to the will of God" is in 20th C. "Because God wills it, commit your lives."
Commit! Had Peter Jesus' dying commitment in mind? (Luke 23:46). It seems likely. The Lord Jesus did this in the hour of His greatest suffering.
"Saved with Difficulty" is 20th C. rendering for "scarcely be saved." This is very suggestive, and is fully dealt with in another section of this volume of "Handfuls on Purpose"
QUALIFICATIONS FOR SERVICE.
1 Peter 5:1-7.
Verses 5 to 7 form a suggestive grouping of helpful and important thoughts on Christian Service. Observe some interesting facts:
1. The simplicity of the constitution of the primitive Church showed in the simile "Flock of God."
2. Word "Feed." "Tend" in the R.V. means more than caring. It means defend, govern, restrain.
3. Was Peter thinking of John 21:16 when he wrote these verses? He certainly was put in charge of the Lord's lambs and sheep. But that is not a Petrine prerogative: it is a duty that devolves upon others.
I. A Witness (1). "A witness of the sufferings of Christ." This is the one qualification for tending the flock of God: beholding, each for himself, the sufferings of Christ with the eye of the soul. This seeing is also a qualification for sharing the glory.
II. A Willingness. "Not by constraint" (2). "Not reluctantly," but eagerly, according "with the will of God," is W. rendering.
III. A Call. "But willingly, according unto God" is R.V. Does this mean a call to the work itself, or as to how to do the work?
IV. Eagerness. "Not reluctantly, but eagerly" is W. This suggests eagerness for service as a fourth essential.
V. Affection. "Not for filthy lucre," but for love's sake.
VI. Cheerfulness. "Of a ready mind" is in W. "Of a cheerful mind."
VII. Humility (3-6). "As lords" or "lording it." For "God's heritage," R. V. gives "allotted portion;" not merely God's portion, but the portion He entrusts to you. Instead of "clothed" with humility, M. reads "aprons of humility," that is, put on the slave's apron. Dr. Maclaren has a nice word on this: "The Apostle used here an expression of a remarkable kind, and which never occurs again in Scripture. The word rendered in the A.V. "be clothed," or better in the R.V. as "gird yourselves with," really implies a little more than either of these renderings suggests. It describes a kind of garment as well as the act of putting it on, and the sort of garment which it describes was a remarkable one. It was a part of a slave's uniform. Some scholars think that it was a white apron or overall, or something of that sort; others think that it was simply a scarf or girdle; but at all events, it was a distinguishing mark of a slave, and he put it on when he meant to work, and, says Peter: "Do you strap round you the slave's apron, and do it for the same reasonto serve."
When Peter wrote this sentence, was he thinking of his Master's act, as recorded in John 13:4-5?
VIII. Trustfulness (7). What a grand verse! "Let all your anxieties fall upon Him, for His interest is in you" (M.). "Throw all your anxieties upon Him, for He makes you His care" (20th C). "Banish care and welcome glee" is a good motto.
When Florence Nightingale had reached the age of ninety, and could no longer follow sustained reading, she still liked to hear familiar hymns. Her biographer says: "A favourite, if one may judge by the frequency with which verses from it appear in her latest written meditation was:
"O, Lord, how happy should we be,
If we could cast our care on Thee,
If we from self could rest."
Once the expression of an aspiration; now, perhaps of attainment."
1 Peter 5:7, 8.
Frequently we find in the New Testament exhortations to sobriety, and this means much more than abstinence from intoxicating drink. We can be intoxicated by pride, self-esteem.
I. Commended. Here it is commended in our Scripture.
II. Definitions. Sober has been rendered:
1. Be Watchful.
2. Be Vigilant.
3. Be Sound.
4. Be Moderate. "Curb every passion" (W.).
5. Be Prudent.
6. Be Dignified in Restraint. "Exercise self-control," is 20th C. rendering, instead of sober.
III. An Extra.
1. Add to Holiness (1 Tim. 2:15). With moderation and prudence.
2. Add to Acceptance of Second Advent Truth (1 Peter 1:13).
3. Add to Prayer (1 Peter 4:7-8).
IV. Sober in What?
1. Thoughts (Rom. 12). Sound mind.
2. Words (Acts 26:25). Prudence and moderation.
3. Life (Titus 2:12). Temporately and prudently
4. Mind (2 Cor. 5:13). Sound and prudent. A mind evenly and well balanced (1 Thess. 5:6, 8., i.e., Let us be mentally alert or watchful).
V. Why? We are of the day (1 Thess. 5:8). Therefore be watchful and alert.
1. Bishops (Titus 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:2). Be vigilant.
2. Wives (1 Tim. 3:11). Be vigilant.
3. Aged Men (Titus 2:2). Sound-minded.
4. Young Women (Titus 2:4).
5. Young Men (Titus 2:6).
6. Women (1 Tim. 2:9).
1 Peter 5:8-14.
Introduction. Is there a personal Devil? Of course there is. "A gang of thieves is never so dangerous as when they have it widely rumoured that they have left the neighbourhood" (Meyer).
I. Our Adversary (8).
1. His Identity. Here we are told he is the Devil.
2. His Guises. He has a fairly extensive wardrobe. He is a quick-change artist. He has three common and familiar guises. He assails us more frequently in either of these three guises than any other. Let us take them in their Biblical order:
a. Serpent (Rev. 12:9; Gen. 3:14).
(i.) As a Serpent he is more dangerous than a Roaring Lion.
(ii.) This name suggests that he beguiles our senses, perverts our judgments, enchants our imagination.
b. Angel of Light (2 Cor. 11:14).
(i.) Deceiving with false views of spiritual things.
(ii.) As thus, he poses as an evangelist and teacher, all the while undermining the faith he is professing to teach.
(iii.) "If the evil that assails us were as frightful in its aspect as it is in its essence, we could run little danger from its assaults, but often it besets us in fair forms and is dazzlingly coloured, and here lies its peril."
c. Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8).
(i.) Terror in his threatenings.
(ii.) Exhibited in threatenings and persecutions.
(iii.) In blows and blasphemies of the roaring multitude.
(iv.) Strengthbearing us down.
(v.) Seeking to destroy us by violent oppositions.
II. Our Duty (8, 9).
1. Keep Cool (M.).
2. Keep Awake (M.).
3. Resist. Also give no place (Eph. 4:27). Stand against (Eph. 6:11).
4. "Curb every Passion" (W.). Exercise self-control (20th C.) 8.
III. Our Safety (9).
1. "Keep your foothold in the faith" (M.).
a. Have you planted your foot upon the faith?
b. It provides a firm foothold.
2. Remember your testing is a common experience.
IV. Our Enabling (10, 11). "But. . .God."
1. Are you fearful at the thought of your adversary?
2. "But God."
3. Beautiful Title: "of all grace."
4. "Himself shall" (R.).
5. Architectural Metaphors.
a. Perfect. "Repair" (M.). Put you in joint.
b. Stablish. Established.
c. Strength. "Firm" (W.).
d. Settle. Settling on its foundation.
A GLORIOUS EQUALITY.
2 Peter 1:1-2.
Introduction. As Dr. Jowett pondered over these first two verses, there leapt into his mind the watchwords of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." Certainly these three words sum up admirably the truths here.
"A Bondman." Paul (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1); James (James 1:1); Peter (2 Peter 1:1); Jude (Jude 1).
1. How strangely that sounds! "Simon Peter a bondman!"
2. Knowing what slavery meant then, this is indeed strange.
3. Read on: "a bondman. . . of Jesus Christ."
Where Does the Liberty Come In? Ponder over the following quotations:
1. "At the heart of all true freedom there is a certain bondage."
2. "Even anarchist societies are compelled to have some rules; and the making of a rule implies the forging of a chain."
3. "Bondage is the secret of freedom."
4. "The man who will not be bound to anything or anybody, is always the most enslaved."
5. "The greatest triumph of the Gospel is the fact that it leads men from lives of undisciplined freedom into lives of willing bond-service."
6. "Consecration is the entering into a deeper bondage."
a. A slave, but not servile. No cringing.
b. The slavery of a lovera lover slaves for loved ones.
c. Recognition of his rightful ownership.
d. The meaning of this in the life can only be discovered as we go on in the Christian way.
Who are They who are Equal?
1. "To them... with us," "like"
2. We are not superior to you. We are on a Gospel equality.
1. Spiritual privileges.
2. There are many inequalities in temporal things.
3. In "Student in Arms," Donald Hankey, in chapter entitled, "An Experiment in Democracy,"writes: "Equality of opportunity had been granted, and the inequality of man had been demonstrated."
"Like Precious Faith."
1. "Equally precious faith" is R.
2. Not that all had an equal amount of faith.
3. But their faith was alike though differing in robustness, as brothers can resemble each other, though differing in health and other things.
1. By it we enter into possession of righteousness.
2. Because of the wealth which, through it, comes into the life.
3. "Door of faith." A door is of little value in itself, but if it opens into a palace it is of value.
1. "Obtained by lot,." i.e., a good gift from God.
2. Greek word implies that they had not won or earned it for themselves, but that it had been allotted to them.
Through the Righteousness of God.
1. This is a great surprise.
2. This is a so-called Pauline word, yet Peter utters it.
3. Instead of "through," read "in."
4. Does the word here mean what it means in Romans? Luther and others think so.
5. Certainly in bestowing righteousness God is no respecter of persons.
"Equity" is the Moffatt rendering, instead of "righteousness." "In the absolute justice and favour of God you have obtained an equally precious faith with us," is another rendering.
How Obtained? You obtain this blessing of faith through faith, yet owing to the righteousness of God.
1. Listen to the wishes of Peter and other sacred writers for one another: "Grace and peace be multiplied."
2. It is encouraging and cheering to receive the well-wishes of others.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD
THE ONLY SOURCE OF BLESSING
2 Peter 1:2, 3.
1. In the first Epistle we hear much about suffering; in this second Epistle much about knowledge.
2. Peter knew His Lord so well, therefore speaks much of the necessity and result of knowledge.
1. Very early in the Primitive days there arose those who laid claim to exclusive knowledge, calling themselves gnostics, i.e., knowing ones.
2. The same tendency to arrogate to ourselves superior wisdom always exists.
3. In this Epistle we are shown the true knowledge.
1. Instead of "through," read "in"i.e., sphere.
2. The knowledge of God is the sphere in which all spiritual blessings come to us.
1. "In the personal knowledge " (R.).
2. Not an intellectual knowledge merely, but spiritual and evangelical to the individual.
"Full" (2 Peter 3:18). It must be a growing knowledge.
1. "Full knowledge" is literal rendering.
2. Shallow knowledge makes superficial Christians,
3. How can my knowledge grow?
1st. By coming to Him.
2nd. By living with Him.
3rd. By communing with Him.
4th. By silence before Him. "Be still and know."
5th. By His Word.
"Of God and Jesus." What a wonderful union!
A Dread Possibility. Be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord (1:8).
Through Growing Knowledge we have:
I. Grace and Peace (2).
1. Grace first, peace next. God's favour, then the effects of that favour.
2. You possess these, but they can be multiplied.
3. Others in the New Testament only express the wish, but do not point out the path to that experience.
4. How? Through a growing knowledge of Him.
II. Every Requisite for Life and Piety (3).
1. "All things needful" (W.); "necessary" (20th C); "suited" (R.).
2. "Hath." Already in our possession.
3. "All" things.
4. Called us to "glory and excellence." "By" (20th C.) or "through" (R.).
5. "It is impossible to live a holy life," say some. Nay; do not say that. Do you wish to know how? Get to know Him.
III. Purity (2 Peter 2:20).
1. There are awful pollutions in the world to be sure.
2. Is it possible to escape from them every day and all the day? Yes.
3. How? By partaking of the Divine Nature through regeneration.
Application. How can I secure this knowledge, and how may it be deepened?
1. Coming (Matt. 11:27, 28).
2. Communing. The more we talk with people, the deeper our knowledge of them.
3. Word. Learn God's heart in God's Word.
4. Stillness. Be still and know (Psa. 46:10).
"SHARERS IN THE VERY NATURE OF GOD."
2 Peter 1:4.
Bold. These are indeed bold words. They are staggering. This was the fondest dream of the Ancients. They thought it a possibility only for Emperors and such exalted personages. But now "Ye," the common crowd, the ordinary folk! Only an original phrase for an old truth. Just another way of speaking of regeneration.
Sharers. Note the W. rendering. "Become sharers in the very nature of God."
Ministry of Wealth. Connect verse 3 with verse 4. This wealth brings blessing. The ministry of this wealth is to effect
a. A Deliverancefrom corruption. A wonderful escape.
b. A Glorious Adoption into the Family of God.
1. Is (W.) for "lust."
2. Thus lust means more than animal appetite; it means an earthly ambition.
1. Note how he piles up the adjectives.
a. Size=great. Exceeding great.
3. Isaac Watts lay dying. He observed, in conversation with a friend, that he remembered an aged minister who used to say that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they came to die, have only the same plain promise of the Gospel for their support as the common and unlearned. "And so," he said, "I find it. It is the plain promises that do not require much labour and pains to understand them, for I can do nothing now but look unto my Bible for some promise to support me, and live upon that."
Peter, now that he was old, emphasised the value of the promises of God.
Oh, it is blessed, if the promises become more precious to us the older we become!
Profound and Original Conception. What a profound and original conception is this: Vital participation in His own sacred and glorious nature!
I. The Negative Aspect.
1. No Exclusiveness in God.
a. In all human society there is an unhappy tendency to exclusiveness and self-absorption.
b. It has been said that "the end of human law is to prevent the dispersion of the benefits which certain groups of men have made their own."
c. The end of Divine Law is to diffuse the wealth of God, even to the being and life of God.
2. No Divine Nature in Man.
a. What do you mean by saying "there is the Divine in all men?" Are you referring to God's image, or God's Life?
b. Oh, the need of care just now.
c. His image remains in us, though marred (1 Cor. 11:7). But not an atom of His Life. We are dead, lifeless, so far as the Life of God is concerned.
3. No Absorption in God.
a. Partaking does not mean absorption.
b. This is the dream of extravagant mysticism.
c. Absorption, as a drop of water which goes back into the ocean and is lost? That can never be.
d. For there will always be "I" and "Thou"two separate and distinct personalities.
4. No Sharing in Essential Attributes.
a. Shareholders, not of the essence of God so as to be deified.
b. Shareholders, not of the essential, but the moral attributes of God.
c. Shareholders, but not as Christ. In Him dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
5. No Absolute, but a Growing Participation. This participation is a growing thing. Therefore not absolute.
II. The Positive Aspect. We become sharers in the Divine Nature by becoming
1. Partakers of the Promises (1:4, with Eph. 3:6). Thus we have the ministry of the Word in regeneration (1 Peter 1:23). How? By becoming
2. Partakers of Christ (Heb. 3:14).
a. "Companion" (literally) of Christ.
b. Shareholders (literal) in Christ.
3. By Partaking of Bread (1 Cor. 10:7).
a. That is, by taking Christ, who is the Bread of Life.
b. This is an act of faith.
4. By Partaking of Holy Ghost (Heb. 6:4).
a. What a wonderful phrase!
b. Surely when the Holy Spirit enters, we become partakers of the Holy Ghost.
III. The Blessed Results.
1. As to Character. Partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12:10).
2. As to Living. Partakers of His sufferings (1 Pet. 4:13).
3. As to Consolation. Partakers of His comfort (2 Cor. 1:7).
4. As to Service. Partakers of His hope (1 Cor. 9:10).
or, Spiritual Advancement in Grace and Holiness
2 Peter 1:5-9.
"For this very Reason,"
1. Is the M. rendering in place of, "and beside this."
2. This connects our past meditation with this.
3. We are sharers in the very Life of God, therefore we must press on to possess more.
1. Peter was a man of action.
2. This is just like Peter to insist on need of diligence.
3. This is a demand for business vigilance in the realm of the spirit.
4. Original meaning of the word is haste. It is employed to describe the eager swiftness with which the Virgin went to Elizabeth after the angel's salutation and annunciation.
1. Peter desires to excite and engage them to advance in grace and holiness.
2. One has said: "Diligence is the panacea for all diseases of the Christian life. Where there is faith all that is needful in order to possess any other grace is diligence."
3. Is this correct?
1. There are limitations in the mastering and possessing of things natural. Example: Musical Attainment, Language, Art.
2. But there is no kind of moral worth which is beyond the attainment of believing diligence.
1. Word translated "add," in its primary significance alluded to the Choric Dances, where, with hands joined together, the performers kept up a measured movement to the sound of music.
2. Hand linked in hand, let all the graces advance together, faith giving one hand to courage, courage giving the other hand to knowledge, knowledge holding with free hand to temperance, etc., etc.
3. That is the significance of the R.V.: "In your faith." These are not detachable graces, but faith is the root from which virtue and all other graces grow.
1. It is not one grace which makes a Christian.
2. These graces will not come without an effort, nor remain without culture.
Let us note separately these graces:
1. Faith leads the van or chorus. Indeed is the root.
2. No number of excellencies make a Christian unless they be excellencies added to faith.
3. Faith is the foundation grace; but a foundation is of little use if no structure follows.
1. What virtue is meant here? "A noble character" is rendering in (W.). "Resolution" (M.).
2. Courage or fortitude is meant, or manlinessthe holy courage which enables men to quit themselves as men.
3. "Brave," without "bluster"fearless without ferocity.
1. Intelligence (M.).
2. General and particular knowledge, of science, and particularly that of the Bible and of Divine things.
IV. Temperance. "Self-control" (W.). A proper and limited use of all enjoyments.
V. Patience. "Power of endurance" (W.). "Steadfastness" (M.).
VI. Godliness. "Piety" (M.).
VII. Brotherly Kindness. "Affection" (W.).
Application. Not to do so means:
1. Spiritual myopia, a word the oculist uses for physical short-sightedness.
2. If a man has these things he has sight.
3. Cannot look back far enough ("Hath forgotten") and cannot look forward as he ought.
2 Peter 1:10, 11.
1. Here we have this businesslike word again.
2. 2 Peter 1:5; 3:14.
1. He speaks in verse 5 of the need of diligence in acquiring spiritual graces.
2. He that lacks such things suffers from spiritual shortsightedness.
3. Do not let that be so, "but give diligence to make your calling and election sure.
Blessedness of Certainty.
1. Life is full of uncertainty so far as natural things are.
2. The certainty respecting spiritual things is possible and desirable.
I. Spiritual Uncertainty is One Fruit of Spiritual Immaturity.
"Spare no Effort.
1. To put God's call and choice beyond all doubt" (20th C).
2. "Spare no effort": (a) In prayer. (b) In study. (c) In converse with elder Christians.
Peter had No Doubt.
1. Peter thus wrote, not because he entertained any doubt concerning them. See Peter 1:2.
2. Whilst he entertained no doubt, probably they were the prey of doubts.
"Calling and Election."
1. That was how they referred to salvation.
2. This expresses the Divine side of our salvation.
3. Giving diligence to make sure and certain.
4. None can look into the Book of God's Eternal Counsels and Decrees. Yet we have something to do.
5. "Though God has called and elected us in Christ, yet it depends on our own care to make them effectual to salvation" (An Old Bishop).
1. On Predestination (Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5, 11).
2. On Election. Israel, God's elect people (Isa. 45:4). He has an elect to-day (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Rom. 9:11; Rom. 11:5; 1 Thess. 1:4).
How to Make Sure.
1. By examination of our own lives. Are we manifesting the graces of the Spirit.
2. By seeking the witness of the Spirit.
II. Spiritual Certainty Produces Blessed Results.
1. Stability in Grace. "Ye shall never stumble" (R.V). "Never make a slip" (M.).
a. Life is full of slippery places.
b. Growth in grace means strength to our spiritual ankle bones.
2. Stability in Purpose. "Ye shall never falter" (F.F.).
a. No ruinous hesitancy.
b. Many a battle has been lost by hesitation.
c. To know definitely the mind of God is grand.
3. A Triumphant Entrance into Glory. "A triumphant admission" (20th C). No crawling through the Gate of Heaven. We shall go sweeping through the Gate.
4. Freedom from Shame when Before Him. "Fully equipped" (F.F.).
a. In a grand review, how ashamed an ill-equipped soldier would be.
b. Anything lacking in the uniform would merit censure. What about the Grand Review at the Reward Seat of Christ?
TWO REASONS FOR MINISTERIAL
2 Peter 1:12-15.
1. Peter has been urging his hearers to diligence.
2. What about himself? I, too, will not be negligent.
3. I will not neglect my duty.
1. Peter had a duty to performhe had been appointed a remembrancer for the Lord.
2. This is the office of all faithful pastors.
3. Note: (1) "Always." (2) "Of these things." (3) Though they knew them. (4) And were established in them. ("Fixed in the truth"). And it was "meet."
4. We need to be put in mind of what we already know to prevent our forgetting it, to improve our knowledge, and reduce all to practice.
Reasons for Ministerial Urgency:
I. A Common Proneness to forgetfulness.
1. Common Malady (see 2 Peter 1:9).
a. Forgetfulness is a common malady. More prevalent to-day than in olden times.
b. "Memory is such a child of caprice," even in purely secular matters.
c. It plays us curious pranks.
d. "We remember people's faces but forget their names; we remember a single injury, and forget a multitude of gracious benefits."
e. It is more pronounced in things spiritual.
f. We find it easier to remember material than spiritual things.
g. Note: Israel in the past. "Then they forgot the Lord their God."
2. Need of Remembrancers.
a. We feel our need of aids to memory in things material and commercial.
b. Humorous are some of the stratagems. (Tying a piece of thread or ribbon on our fingers).
c. God has his methods of reminding us, as: (i.) The ministry of the Word (2 Peter 3:1) or, (ii.) The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. "A piece of broken bread recalls the broken body of the Lord;" and also (iii.) The ministry of His servants. Note.
1. A minister's duty is to remind us of truths we already know as well as to bring to our notice new truth.
2. And to do this even to fully established souls.
3. Memory is admitted not to be as good to-day (owing to mind helps), as in Old Testament days, when the memory had more work to do. Therefore the need of being reminded to-day is greater than in past.
II. The Brevity of the Worker's Life (14).
1. Note the force of Wycliffe's rendering: "Knowing that swift is the putting off of my tabernacle," i.e., my death will be swift and sudden.
2. Body likened to a tent. "Little tent" (F ,F.).
3. This was a popular metaphor.
4. Stands for:
a. A frail, fragile structure.
b. A moveable structure.
c. The home of a tenant.
d. Easily removed"Exodus."
e. Must be put off.
1. Man forgetting God (Deut. 32:18; Isa. 17:10; Jer. 2:32; 3:21; 13:25; Hosea 8:14).
2. God never forgetting man (Isa. 49:15).
THE TRUTH OF OUR CHRISTIAN
2 Peter 1:15-21.
"Always in Remembrance."
1. Peter's diligence that they should keep all these things "Always in Remembrance."
2. But are they worthy of an effort to remember?
3. There bursts upon his memory the scene on Mount of Transfiguration.
4. Indeed it must have been often on his mind, for he frequently speaks of his own departure by the very word which the heavenly visitors had used of Christ's departure on the holy mountExodus.
1. Yes, they are worthy of all belief.
2. They are not "cunningly devised fables," like other religious beliefs.
3. We made known the
a. Power of our Lord Jesus.
b. Presence (R.) (R.V.) of our Lord Jesus.
c. Not Second Advent, but Incarnation.
Peter and Paul. One has said: "It is interesting to compare the Epistles of Peter with those of Paul. Peter's Epistles tell of graceChrist on this earth; Paul's of glory Christ in the Heavenlies. Peter saw the Transfiguration on the earth; Paul was caught up to the Heavens and saw the God of Glory. Peter tells of the things he saw here; Paul of the revelation and of the word unspeakable.'"
I. The Truth of Christianity Demonstrated.
1. The Testimony of Personal Experience (16).
a. "Eye-witnesses of His Majesty."
b. Such evidence in favour of Christianity has a vast cumulative value for us.
c. Put first by Peter. Please do not forget your own experience.
d. "What took the kick out of my life?" asked a friend of another.
2. The Testimony of the Divine (17).
a. Personal experience is not sufficient.
b. What an experience that must have been. "When there came such a voice." There was the testimony from above. Here was the testimony of the Divine.
3. The Oral Testimony (16).
a. 99% of our knowledge comes by hearsay. "When we made known."
b. The testimony of others is of value.
4. The Testimony of Scripture (19-21).
a. "More Permanent."
(i.) Read the forcible (W.) rendering to 19. "And in the written Word of prophecy we have something more permanent."
(ii.) "And thus we have gained fresh confirmation of the prophetic Word" (M.).
b. "More Sure." Made more sure because we have received the confirmation of all that the prophets spoke dimly of.
II. Confidence in Scripture Justified.
1. Its Origin (20, 21).
a. From Heaven, "when carried away by the Holy Spirit" (M.).
b. Private Interpretation.
(i.) Not the product of the prophet,
(ii.) Not the prophet's own interpretation of the vision presented to his mind.
c. Definition of Inspiration.
(iii.) All Scripture agrees with Scripture.
(iv.) No Pope or body of men are to limit or dictate what the interpretation of the Scripture is.
(v.) Can only be understood in the Spirit (Read 20th C).
2. Its Design. A Lamp.
b. Squalid placesexposing the squalor of its time.
3. Its Aim.
a. It shines like a guiding lamp. A fuller light of day dawns upon the soul, as the believer, led by the prophetic Word, realises the personal knowledge of the Lord.
b. Progress of Revelationlamp or star.
c. The Day.
(i.) Of Christ's fuller revelation to the soul,
(ii.) Of Christ's Second Advent.
d. Does this mean that we have less use of the Scriptures when living near to God? No.
4. Its Interpretation (20.).
a. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation," i.e., "Its own interpretation." That is, each separate Scripture to be understood clearly must be compared with other Scriptures.
b. Ponder over the 20th C. rendering of this verse: "First be clear on this pointThere is no prophetic teaching in Scripture that can be interpreted by man's unaided reason." Thus we require the light of the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 2.
I. False Teachers and their Destiny.
1. Character of Chapter.
a. "This is a dark and appalling chapter.
b. There is no softening of the shade from end to end."
c. It is a chapter of unrelieved gloom.
2. Only Another Similar.
a. Only one other portion of Scripture like itBook of Nahum.
b. Nineveh was an apostate people. So that Nahum's message was to apostates.
3. Awfulness of Apostasy.
a. Apostasy is worse than ignorance.
b. Only thing God can do with apostates is to destroy them.
c. "Light that is trifled with becomes lightning."
4. Good and Bad.
a. In previous lesson we read of good prophets.
b. Now we learn of the bad prophets.
5. Accomplished Fact.
a. Peter says "shall be"a prophecy.
b. Jude says "are"an accomplished fact.
6. Crowning Sin and Proof of Apostasy.
a. "Denying the Lord that bought them."
b. This is the mark by which to test and reject the false teacher.
c. That which lowers Him and His redeeming work must be false.
d. The force of thisPeter denied His Lord three times.
e. This is "a shorthand expression for all sorts of sin."
f. How we may deny:
(i.) By speech.
(ii.) By lifean ungodly life (iii.) By doctrinal views.
II. Swift and Certain Punishment upon Past Apostasy. Proved by that of
1. Angels (4).
2. The whole world (5).
3. Cities of the plain (6).
III. God's Power and Willingness to Keep Us if we Desire to be Kept (5-7 to 9).
1. Noah lived and preached righteousness (5).
2. Lot lived righteously and never got reconciled to unrighteousness (8).
3. "The Lord knoweth"no one else does (9).
IV. Description of Apostasy.
1. Cunningprivily (1).
2. Chief Sin and Mark (1).
3. End (1,3, 12, 13).
4. Success"many" (2).
5. Immoralitylascivious (2, 10, 14, 18).
6. Treacherous and Deceitful (3).
7. Presumptuous (10, 11).
8. Beastly (12).
9. Mercenary (15, 16).
10. Empty (17).
11. Sad Commentary (20, 21, and 22).
12. Undeterred by Miraculous Effort to Guide Aright (16).
13. Popularity (18).
THE LEISURELINESS OF GOD.
2 Peter 3:1-9.
It may be well to remind ourselves of the difference between the First and Second Epistle. First Epistle written to strengthen those who were passing through trial; the Second to warn of terrible dangers; the First concerned with dangers without, the Second concerned with dangers within. The dangers within are more perilous than those without.
1. Good and Bad Prophets.
a. We have noticed Peter's reference to the good and bad prophets.
b. He returns to this subject. In effect he says: "I don't want you to be forgetful of what those good prophets said" (2).
2. Writings of Apostles and of Old Prophets (2).
a. Note the force of verse 2.
b. Peter, without any hesitation, places his own writings and the writings of the other Apostles on a level with Old Testament writings.
c By R.V. Peter claims Divine origin for his and their writings.
3. Optimist and Last Days (3).
a. This optimistic and energetic writer has much to say concerning the last days, and that the last days would be sad days.
b. (i.) "Scoffers""mockers" (R.V.).
(ii). W. suggests that mocking had become a habit, for they mocked at everything.
(iii.) These scoffers were bad living men.
(iv.) The sad fact to-day is that good living men scoff at Advent Truth.
(v.) Oh, the sadness!making sport of the great Hope of the Church.
4. Why do they Mock? Their arguments amount to the following:
a. He is not coming because He has not yet come.
b. Nothing will happen out of the usual, because nothing unusual has ever happened.
5. Wilfully Forgetful. They are forgetful deliberately and wilfully:
a. Of the Delugethings have not remained since the Creation unchanged.
b. The Deluge.
6. Singular Aptness. There is a singular aptness in the reference to the Deluge as a judgment on sin.
7. Water and Fire.
a. Note "stored with fire" (R.V., margin).
b. What water failed to accomplish fire will secure.
8. Why His Delay? His slownessabsence of hurryleisureliness.
I. In Sphere of Nature.
1. How slow, and sure, and splendidly persistent God has been in fashioning the world.
2. God is patient because He is Eternal (Augustine).
3. There are 1000 years within His day.
4. The "Day of Salvation" has lasted 2000 years nearly.
II. In Sphere of Revelation.
1. There is one thing God has never done, and that is to be in a hurry to reveal Himself.
2. To have revealed everything all at once would have been:
a. Cruelty, and not kindness, for men would have been blinded by the glare.
b. Besides, it would have been worse than useless.
III. In the Sphere of Judgment.
1. Sometimes God is very swift in Judgment.
2. At other times inexorably slow.
IV. In the Sphere of Christian Living.
1. In the Revelation of His Will to Us.
a. Not all in a moment, but step by step does God reveal the pathway of our duty.
b. Paul wished to go southward to Galatia, and wished to turn northward to Bithynia. But the Lord directed otherwise.
2. In Answer to our Prayers. Not all at once does He answer.
3. In the Bestowal of Some of His Gifts (Gal. 4:4).
4. Lesson. Be patient.
HURRYING UP THE GLORIOUS
2 Peter 3:10-14.
Introduction. Why doth He tarry, the absent Lord? Oh, why? At Burial Service we pray that "Thou mayest shortly accomplish the number of Thine elect." Here in our lesson we have one important thought.
1. Two Days (10 and 12).
a. In the verses we have two distinct days mentioned.
b. "The Day of the Lord" and "Day of God" are not the same.
c. The four days:
(i.) Man's Day (1 Cor. 4:3, marg.) is the Day of Salvation.
(ii.) Christ's Day (2 Thess. 2:2) is the Day of Glorification.
(iii.) Lord's Day is the Day of Tribulation.
(iv.) God's Day is the Day of Realization.
2. Peter on Day of Lord.
a. He says it will come as a thiefsilently, stealthily, unexpectedly, so far as the world is concerned.
b. "Heavens vanish with crackling roar" (M.).
c. "The stars will be set ablaze and melt" (M.).
d. "Works of man. . . shall be burned up" (W.).
3. Peter on Day of God.
a. The terrors in heaven and earth usher in the Day of God, concluding the Day of the Lord (verse 12).
b. New heavens and new earth (13).
c. Righteousness in heaven and earth.
I. Our Expectation.
1. "Looking for." "Unto you that look for Him" (Heb. 9:28).
2. "Expecting" (R.)that is what "looking for" means. We look not merely out of curiosity, but with great expectancy.
3. What expectations have you?
II. Our Preparation
1. Hurrying up the grand Day of God.
2. Accelerating it by our repentance, prayers, and effort.
3. How we May Hasten.
a. By Holy Living (W, verse 11). "All holy living."
b. By Godly Conduct (W., verse 11). "And godly conduct).
c. By Holy Conversation (R.V.). Take care of your speech.
d. By Eagerly Looking (W., verse 12). "Eagerly looking forward."
e. By a Godly Aim (M.). "You who expect and hasten the advent of the Day of God." Note (1) Diligencewe shall never be holy without diligence. (2) "Found of Him" (14).
III. Our Becoming Attitude (14).
1. All this is becoming of those looking for the Lord's Coming.
2. Are you looking forward for His Coming? What effect has that hope had upon you?
2 Peter 3:15-18.
1. How differently Peter ends Second Peter to First Peter, and how differently it ends to other Epistles.
2. He is dwelling upon a solemn subject, and is so full of the subject that he ends abruptly.
3. Meaning of His longsuffering: (1) Not slackness. (2) "Means salvation"in His longsuffering He has purposes of salvation.
4. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." "Our beloved brother Paul," though he had withstood him to his face" (Gal. 2:11). "Beloved brother Paul."
5. "If any lack wisdom," etc. "Wisdom given unto him."
6. Wisdom from above required for letter writing. "Hath written unto you."
7. Brain sweat (16). "Hard to understand."
8. Paul's writings placed on a level with other Scriptures (16).
9. Sad misuses of Scripture (16).
10. "Ye. . . know. . . Beware" (17). Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
11. "Beloved." (1) Not like Jews "For the Father's sake," but for Jesus' sake.
Unusual. You would never think of telling a child to grow any more than you would tell a plant to grow. But Peter does tell Christian men and women to grow. Why? Because they are not plants, but men and women with wills, which can resist, and can either further or hinder their progress.
I. An Environment Essential to Growth.
1. Significance of "The" in the R.V. and other versions.
2. No growth out of grace and personal knowledge.
3. You cannot "grow" into grace.
4. Here are conditions for growth.
II. The Nature of that Growth.
1. "Grace" Grace stands for one of three things.
a. "Favour" (Luke 2:52, R.).
a. Increase your acquaintance with Him.
b. In the possibilities of His Saviourhood (fully saved).
c. In the possibilities of His Lordship.
d. In His Jesus (Joshua) natureLeadership.
e. In His Christhoodthe AnointingOne who anoints.
III. The Necessity for Growth.
1. Growth is necessary for steadfastness.
2. No standing still in Christian life.
3. Each going on or getting off.
4. "Be always" (W.).
"YET NOT I."
In the New Testament Paul several times makes use of a corrective"I, yet not I." Why? Was it a new Christian form of speaking he had not yet got into the habit of using? Hardly. Was it not rather a reminder to himself and others of the great change that had taken place; or better, a declaration that the "I" always remains, only by conversion with a wonderful plusChrist. In Spiritism there is the extinction of personalitynever in Christianity. Though Christ and I are separate personalities, by grace we become one, yet retaining our separate identity. The "I, yet not I":
I. Of Living, Gal. 2:20
II. Of Service, 1 Cor. 15:10
III. Of Offence, Mark 14:29
IV. Of Speaking, 1 Cor. 7:10
V. Of Glorying, 2 Cor. 12:5