The first chapter of second Peter is full of instruction, and strikes the keynote of victory. The truth is impressively forced upon the mind by the way it is presented in this chapter. Let us more abundantly recommend the study of these words, and the practising [sic] of these precepts. The apostle writes, “To them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 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.” [11 Peter 1:1–3.]
What a grand theme this is for contemplation,—the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ! Contemplating Christ and His righteousness, leaves no room for self-righteousness, for the glorifying of self. In this chapter there is no standstill. There is continual advancement in every stage in the knowledge of Christ. Through the knowledge of Christ is life eternal. In His prayer Jesus says, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] In God we are to glory. The prophet says, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” “Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; 11 Corinthians 10:15–18.] The testimony of prophets and apostles is in full accord on this subject. We are to glory in the Lord our God.
Peter continues, saying: “Where-by 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.” [11 Peter 1:4.] We have been called to the knowledge of Christ, and that is to the knowledge of glory and virtue. It is a knowledge of the perfection of the divine character, manifested to us in Jesus Christ, that opens up to us communion with God. It is by the great and precious promises that we are to become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Vital Relation with God Essential
What possibilities are opened up to the youth who lay hold of the divine assurances of God’s Word! Scarcely can the human mind comprehend what is the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments that can be reached by becoming partakers of the divine nature. The human agent who yields obedience to God, who becomes a partaker of the divine nature, finds pleasure in keeping the commandments of God; for he is one with God; he holds as vital a relation with God as does the Son to the Father. He understands the oneness that Christ prayed might exist between the Father and the Son. Jesus prayed: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:20–23.]
What privileges and blessings are granted to those who have obtained like precious faith with the disciples of Christ! Nothing is withheld from them. The apostle says, “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.” The standard is lifted up, and yet we are to reach it individually. We may attain unto glory and virtue, though weak, sinful mortals, by learning daily lessons in the school of Christ, by becoming conformed to the divine image, by manifesting his excellence of character, by adding grace to grace, by climbing round by round the ladder heavenward, by becoming complete in the Beloved. As we shall work upon the plan of addition, by faith adding grace to grace, God will work upon the plan of multiplication, and multiply grace and peace unto us. We are to be diligent students in the school of Christ, having a knowledge of his will, and becoming active laborers in his vineyard.
Plan of Multiplication
The apostle describes to us the plan on which we are to work. He says, “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” [11 Peter 1:5–12.]
Youth to be Witnesses for Christ
If our youth would take heed to the rules laid down in this chapter, and practise [sic] them, what an influence they would exert on the side of right, whether they were . . . in our institutions, or in any place of responsibility! They would see this truth, and their life-work would be successful. They would realize the need of being much in prayer, of being rooted and grounded in the truth, so that by precept and example they might be living witnesses for Christ. They would then be like Paul, who after his conversion was a channel through which bright beams of light were shed upon the great plan of salvation. They would be workers together with God in re-shaping moral character, and would be instruments through which the image of God might be retraced in man. They would respond to the working of the Holy Spirit, and become one with Christ in God. No longer would the law which they have transgressed be a yoke of bondage, but it would be the law of liberty, the freedom of sonship. Having repented toward God, having exercised faith in Christ, they have experienced forgiveness, and esteem the law of God above gold, yea, above fine gold.
Freedom of Sonship
Jesus is the sin-bearer. He takes away our sins, and makes us partakers of His holiness. O what tender, pitying love dwells in the heart of Christ toward the purchase of His blood! He is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. There is power in these precious promises, and we should cooperate with the working of Christ, devoting all our God-given talents to the service of the Master, that the Holy Spirit may work through us to the glory and honor of Christ.
Learners in Christ
Students should have a growing, expanding idea of what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means to be a learner in the school of Christ. It means the connecting of soul, mind, and body with divine wisdom. When this union exists between the soul and God, we are taught of God, who gives wisdom and knowledge. His Spirit imparts thoughts that are clear and holy, and gives the knowledge that lives through eternal ages. Those who are consecrated, diligent, persevering laborers, putting to use every ability, employing all their faculties for the glory of God; who are not slothful in business, but are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, will reap an eternal reward. But it is our part to be courageous, to exercise firm faith in God.
Students to Share Knowledge
The end is near, and students should make most diligent effort to carry forward the work of acquiring knowledge that they may impart to others. If the converting power of God should come upon these souls, if they should come to realize that they need a power out of and far above themselves, they would not remain a day longer like mere machines, but would have a desire to work for God. Has the truth been lodged in the soul? Has the love of souls for whom Christ died become a living principle in their hearts? Unless they become vitally connected with God, they can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love and self-indulgence and temptation to sin. If they were soundly converted to God, they would experience the love that dwells in the heart of Jesus; and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it would well up like an irrepressible stream, refreshing their own sterile lives, and refreshing all those who are connected with them. I long to address the young men and women who are so willing to reach only cheap standards. O that the Lord might influence their minds to see what perfection of character is! O that they might know the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul! We are living in days of peril. Christ alone can help us and give us the victory. Christ must be all in all to us; he must dwell in the heart; his life must circulate through us, as the blood circulates through the veins. His Spirit must be a vitalizing power that will cause us to influence others to become Christlike and holy.
The Youth’s Instructor, October 24, 1895; October 31, 1895.
Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English.