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Volume 23 - Page 117 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
"And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost,
even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts
by faith . . . . . we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be
saved, even as they" (Acts 15: 8, 9, 11).
This, then, is the background behind the words: "like precious faith with us."
Faith is the common possession of all the redeemed, because of the utter bankruptcy
of man spiritually, and the precious fullness of Christ. So we find Peter declaring that
this precious yet common faith is ministered "through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ"
(Acts 15: 11). And, in the epistle, it is "through the righteousness of our God and Saviour
Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 1: 1). That which is mediated through grace must be common to all,
for grace resolutely rules out all idea of merit or precedence in the recipients. And that
which comes by righteousness is just as surely common to all, for it is written that "there
is none righteous, no, not one".
Let us therefore rejoice in this communion in a precious gift. Let us reckon it to be
prized above all earth's wealth that we are included among that blessed company who
have obtained "like precious faith" with Peter, Paul, Titus and Cornelius.
pp. 219, 220
We now arrive at the seventh and the last of Peter's precious things:--
"According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and
godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby
are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust" (II Pet. 1: 3, 4).
Two things stand out prominently like stars in this wonderful galaxy of truth: "divine
power" and the "divine nature". The divine power gives, the divine nature is shared. The
thought of being "partakers" is one of fellowship, of having something in common. If the
words were not written in Scripture it might sound presumptuous to speak in this way,
but it is a mighty truth of which the members of the church which is His body have some
knowledge too. The power that wrought in Christ when He was raised from the dead is
"to usward who believe" and brings with it a participation in the life of Christ, Who
indeed "is our life" (Col. 3: 4).
Peter declares that this divine power has given "all things that pertain to life and
godliness". In I Tim. 4: 8 Paul links together "the life that now is", "that which is to
come" and "godliness". In this passage Peter probably refers to a life of godliness here
and now, a state in strong contrast with that connected with the ineffective promises of