The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 66 of 207
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to the passages will prove. In II Pet. 1: 4, those who are in view have been made, by the
most great and precious promises there spoken of, partakers of the divine nature. On the
other hand, those who were influenced by the promise of liberty made by the false
teachers, never knew this radical change, for they are likened to dogs returning to their
own vomit, and to sows that were washed returning to their mire (II Pet. 2: 22). Dogs and
sows can never set forth the divine nature; a sow may be washed, but it remains a sow by
nature still.
The contrast between the dog and the sow returning to their uncleanness and the
position of the true believer is seen by comparing II Pet. 2: 22 with I Pet. 2: 25:--
"For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and
Bishop of your souls" (I Pet. 2: 25).
The true seed--those for whom Christ died--are spoken of as having gone astray
from Him, and as returning to Him, whereas the others return not to Him, but to their own
The challenge of the scoffer, "Where is the promise of His coming?" (II Pet. 3: 4) and
the reply of the apostle, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise" (II Pet. 3: 9),
complete the references in the epistle to this most great and precious promise.
Peter's words to the dispersion apply, of course, in their primary interpretation to that
"royal priesthood and holy nation", but we trust that the elemental lessons that are also
here may not be lost to those who know other great and precious promises that have been
made peculiarly to them.
"By grace, to the end the promise might be sure"
(Rom. 4: 16).
pp. 101 - 103
We have looked at the way in which promises are used in Scripture, and have seen
what an incentive they are to practical sanctification (II Cor. 6: 16 - 7: 1). We have also
seen that they are effective largely because they bring to the believer that divine nature,
apart from which, though promised liberty, we should be as unchanged intrinsically as
the "sow that is washed".
It will be of service to us at this point to endeavour to discover wherein lies the great
strength of the promises of God. Apart from the epistle to the Hebrews, which contains
more references to the promises than any other book in Scripture, the epistles that are
most concerned with this theme are those to the Romans and the Galatians. In these
epistles the word "promise" in one form or another occurs twenty times, and almost every
reference is associated directly or indirectly, with Abraham.