The Berean Expositor Volume 51 - Page 110 of 181 Index | Zoom |
1: 3 - 9.
pp. 198 - 200
After his introduction in verses 1 and 2, the Apostle now continues by saying:
"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: 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" (1: 3, 4).
These verses are difficult to paraphrase or clarify their meaning. Peter and the eleven
and the elect believers to whom these words were addressed had in varying degrees been
blessed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and these for rapid dissemination of the gospel.
Their divine power had its birth in the knowledge of Christ and His words from the
Father, and was the subject of our Lord's prayer in John 17: In Luke 24: 49 our
Lord refers to the promise of the Father's gifts of the Holy Spirit, giving enabling power
to the ministry to which they were directed.
Paul in I Cor. 12: gives a useful summary and analysis of these spiritual gifts, which
we remember spread to some Gentile converts in order to spur the Jewish faction to
greater Christian zeal and participation. It is interesting to note that these gifts to that
early church were not only supernatural powers such as healing, but men called of God
for special functions of ministry such as prophecy and teaching (two separate functions
remembering prophecy is not necessarily speaking of future things but speaking for God).
The desires of the world and their fulfillment have no enduring profit, savouring of the
corruption of death, while in contrast the life of the spirit with its goal--the knowledge of
Christ and the Father, bespeaks true life in all its aspects.
We have to recall that Paul's ministry to the Jewish dispersion (supplementary to
Peter's ministry in the land) closed at Rome (Acts 28: 28), where nationally the Jews
failed to assume their destined role as a kingdom of priests to the world, (but taking up
that role some time in the still distant future at the Lord's Second Coming). With the
postponement of that role the attendant miraculous acts of the Holy Spirit ceased, namely
tongues, untaught (by men) knowledge, prophecy, healing. This is a truth that so many
today cannot or will not perceive and point to evidences of the same gifts being in use
today. What are we to say to this apparent witness to their continued part in the purpose
of God? There are two answers. If they are in truth being practiced by believing
Christians they are not being used by God as divine witness to a new revelation of truth
as happened in the first days of the apostolic ministry to Israel. Secondly Satan attacks in
a religious context by signs and wonders to deceive, especially at times imminent to our
Lord's return. Read II Thess. 2: for the warning Paul gave them and which we need to
keep before us.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue
knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience