Peter’s Counsel to Parents, Part III : Lessons from the First Chapter of Second Peter

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, 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 [notice this expression; we shall refer to it again] unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things [nothing is withheld] that pertain unto life [eternal 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”—mark carefully the language, because in the judgment every person who has ever had the privilege of hearing or reading these words will be held accountable for the way in which he has received them—“whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature”—partakers of divine power, divine grace, divine possibilities.

Is it possible for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam to stand on vantage ground, able to overcome? Yes, this is the great privilege that is granted them. They may be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (11 Peter 1:1–4).

Constant Warfare

The Christian life is a constant warfare. The church militant is not the church triumphant. Paul says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12.] We must meet human beings of power and influence who are on Satan’s side of the controversy; and we must also meet unseen agencies of evil. Let us be found in the right position.

Addition and Multiplication

To those who are preparing for heaven I wish to say, In the Christian life we are to work upon the plan of addition. If we are faithful in working on this plan, God works for us on the plan of multiplication. We are not to deviate from virtue or fail to cherish and cultivate all the graces of the Spirit. To enable us to be partakers of the divine nature, God has given us exceeding great and precious promises. These promises are mentioned in the following verses:

“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 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” (11 Peter 1:5–8).

Add Virtue

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” Let not those who profess to have faith in Christ fail of having virtue. They are under obligation to place themselves where they will reveal to others the virtue of His character.

High Standard to Attain

God has called us to glory and virtue. We have no right to assimilate with the world—dressing, talking, and living as worldlings do. God has given us a high standard to reach. To enable man to reach this standard, God sent into the world His only begotten Son. In our behalf Christ made an infinite sacrifice. He laid aside His kingly crown and royal robe, clothed His divinity with humanity, and came into our world to teach men and women the laws of life and salvation, which they must carry out to the letter in order to have everlasting life in the kingdom of glory.

Satan claimed that it was impossible for human beings to keep God’s law. In order to prove the falsity of this claim, Christ left His high command, took upon Himself the nature of man, and came to the earth to stand at the head of the fallen race, in order to show that humanity could withstand the temptations of Satan. On this earth He worked out the problem how to live in accordance with God’s standard of right. Bearing our nature, He was true to God’s standard of righteousness, gaining the victory over Satan. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet He was without sin.

Represent the Father

Before Christ came in person to reveal His Father’s character, Satan thought that he would have the whole world on his side. And today the enemy is still playing the game of life with everyone. He seeks to bring in dissension and division. But if we are partakers of the divine nature, we must stand as a united whole. Let us not think that our churches can enjoy God’s blessing while in a state of disunion. In this world we are to be representatives of Christ. He has called us to glory and virtue. As He represented the Father, so we are to represent Christ to the world; for in representing Him we are representing the Father.

We have a great work to perform for the Master. After Jesus has sacrificed so much in our behalf, giving His life for our salvation, shall we by our course of action make Him ashamed of us?

It is to the glory of God for Him to give us of His virtue. He desires to see us rise to the highest standard. When by living faith we lay hold of the power of a living Christ; when we plead His unfailing promises, and claim them as ours; when we seek for the power of the Holy Spirit, we are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. And “whosoever eateth my flesh,” said Christ, “and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. . . . The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:56, 63.]

Knowledge Beyond Expression

“And to virtue knowledge.” Oh, we can have a knowledge of God and His truth—a knowledge that is beyond expression! Tell me, what language can we find to express the knowledge that comes to us when Christ reveals His presence to us, and our hearts are softened and subdued by His power? Such knowledge is beyond expression. We cannot explain it; nevertheless, we know that we possess it.

Let those who claim to have a knowledge of God work in cooperation with Christ. Christ is depending upon everyone to do his best. To every man and to every woman He has given a work.

Conditional Promises

God’s promises are conditional. In order to make it possible for Him to bless us, we must do our part. We cannot expect that all His blessings will come to us naturally, if we fold our hands in inactivity. We are to be laborers together with God. It is our privilege and duty to labor for souls ready to perish.

If you have a knowledge of God and have taken your position under the banner of Prince Emmanuel, remember that you are not to allow yourself to come under the control of the powers of darkness—the fallen angels. You are to keep in mind the promises that pertain to eternal life and godliness, and seek for divine power that is given to enable you to escape everything that would lead you astray.

Temperance in Appetite

“And to knowledge temperance.” This is a point that every one of us should consider. The strength of natural appetites depends very much on the treatment they receive. Those who indulge appetite, eating and drinking with the drunken; those who practice gluttony, eating double the amount that they should eat, bring the system into such a condition that it is next to impossible for them to be partakers of the divine nature, because they do not escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. The temple of God, which should be kept holy, is polluted and defiled.

Think of all the wickedness that is committed as the result of the sale of liquor! The men who sell liquor are familiar with the evil effects that it produces. Not only the man who sells liquor, but also the man who buys and drinks it, is held accountable for the wicked deeds committed under its influence. God stands ready to give divine power to any sincere man to enable him to overcome appetite for liquor; but oh, how much better it is for parents to teach their children from babyhood never to use a drop of intoxicating liquor! And parents, besides helping their children by setting an example of strict temperance, should shield them from the so-called friends who would lead them to indulge appetite.

The food that we eat has much to do with the question of temperance. Parents should take into account the relation of food to morals. The use of flesh-meat animalizes the nature. There needs to be an awakening on this point. How can anyone desire to live on the flesh of dead animals, when he has the privilege of using the fruit, grains, vegetables, and nuts that God has given us in such abundance?

Self-denial a Virtue

The enemy does everything in his power to gain control of the minds of men and women. He leads them to cultivate a perverted appetite, so that rather than to deprive themselves of injurious things, they go on in indulgence after indulgence. Self-denial is a virtue.

Brain Nerve-power to Resist Temptation

We hope that . . . those who understand the principles of health reform will exert a strong influence on the side of temperance. Let Christ’s followers abstain not only from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee, but also from every other harmful thing that beclouds the brain. The enemy has arranged matters so as to ensnare the greatest number. He leads men and women to use stimulating food and food that beclouds the nerve-power of the brain, so that they are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil. Parents, teach the members of your household that indulgence of appetite is the work of the enemy. Teach them to guard against his deceptions. Such instruction should be given by everyone who takes the responsibility of bringing children into the world; and especially at this stage of the world’s history fathers and mothers should realize that their children are the property of God, and that He holds them accountable to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

We are to practice temperance on every point; for we need all the brain nerve-power that it is possible for us to have in order that we may be able to resist Satan’s temptations. We are not to pamper appetite, diseasing our digestive organs by indulgence. God desires us to be true to the principles of health reform. Let us remember that we have a heaven to win and a hell to shun.

Disposition of a Christian

We are to realize that the divine Presence is constantly by our side. Christ has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Remember that He hears every unkind word, every harsh, cutting expression. Could you see Jesus standing by your side, would you speak such words? Then guard carefully every word and action. Walk in all lowliness of mind, cherishing a spirit of meekness and kindness. Live so that others may see that there is a difference between the disposition of a Christian and the disposition of those who make no claim to be Christ’s followers.

Words that create heart-burnings and disunion should never escape the lips of Christ’s followers. We must put on Christ; we must be Christlike in every word and action. Thus we shall be partakers of the divine nature. Only by partaking of the divine nature can we live the Christ-life.

Challenge to Parents

Fathers and mothers, wherever you are, whether in your home or elsewhere, it is never right for you to speak one disrespectful word to each other. If you are harassed say, firmly, “This is from Satan. He wants me to perpetuate his words, his spirit, but I will not do it.” Determine to speak in love; to cultivate patience, kindness, long-suffering, courtesy, and delicacy in dealing with one another. Why?—Because you are a Christian; because you are preparing for the society of the heavenly angels; for a home in the kingdom of glory, where no harsh, unkind, impatient words are ever spoken. Remember that it is Satan who leads men and women to speak unkindly to one another.

Avoid Arbitrary Authority

Never should parents scold their children. Never should they administer punishment while in a fit of passion. Children cannot be trained aright in this manner. Angry parents need to be chastened by the rod themselves, instead of chastening their children. Punishment in anger only hurts and provokes. Do you want a home in heaven? We are all desirous of reaching heaven. But does anyone desire to reach heaven in order that he may fret and scold or punish in anger, and exercise arbitrary authority? On the other hand, do we not desire to reach heaven because peace reigns there; because on every side we shall hear the words, “Thy gentleness hath made me great”?

Cheerful Countenance

Mothers, take your rightful position as a loving teacher of your children. Remember that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that moves the world. Never give expression to words of anger. Keep a cheerful countenance. Children are very susceptible to expressions of joy and sorrow. I remember that sometimes when things which caused sorrow would be brought to me while I was holding one of my children in my arms, the change of expression on my countenance would be noticed at once by my child. Seeing the expression of sadness come over my face, the little babe only three months old would burst out crying, and could hardly be pacified. At first I did not know what caused him to cry, but I soon learned.

Missionary Work at Home

Parents, let our countenances reveal constantly the peace and consolation of Christ. This is a missionary work that you are able to do at home. Missionary work begins in the home. Educate and train your children for the future immortal life. Lead them to give their hearts to God, that they with you may be numbered among His people. You can teach them to stand by you, to strengthen your hands in the missionary work; and in turn, you can strengthen them.

Parents, sanctify yourselves, that your children also may be sanctified. Sanctify your talent of speech. Words are a precious gift, capable of doing much good and accomplishing a great work for the Master. Let every word be such that you can have it written in the books of heaven without being ashamed to meet your record in the judgment.

Sanctified Speech

Great blessings are lost because of discouraging and passionate words. Brethren and sisters, learn lessons of self-control. When someone speaks passionately to you, keep silent: Feelings of anger, when met in this way, die out very quickly. A hastily spoken reply only makes matters worse.

Confess Negligence to Children

Brethren and sisters, I beg of every one of you to make the most of this camp meeting. If you have backslidden, I entreat you, for Christ’s sake, to return to Him. Be reconverted. Let the conversions begin today. Let parents confess to their children in regard to the points on which they have neglected their duty. Let them confess their negligence in regard to allowing their children to follow the fashions and to mingle in worldly society simply because they wanted to be like the world. It is impossible for us to be Christlike while we are worldly-minded. We cannot separate ourselves from the world itself; we must remain in the world; but we should separate from its evil practices, its wrong ideas, its sinfulness. We should practice self-denial in everything, in order to have power by living faith in Christ to claim the richest promises given us in His Word.

Example of the Israelites

Just before the firstborn were slain in Egypt, the Lord instructed the Israelites to gather their children into their houses with them, and to strike the lintel and the two side posts of their doors with blood, so that when the destroying angel went through the land, he would recognize the houses thus marked as the dwelling places of Christ’s followers, and pass over them.

Today we must gather our children about us, if we desire to save them from the destructive power of the evil one. The conflict between Christ and Satan will increase in intensity until the end of this earth’s history. We are to have faith in the blood of Christ, in order that we may pass safely through the perilous times just before us.

Let the children receive the blessings of this meeting. If you try to help them by personal labor in your family tents, working with Christlike simplicity, the reviving, reformatory power of God will come into your tents and enable you to pray in faith. Then you can ask for the Lord’s richest blessings to rest upon the little company in your tent.

If we work diligently upon the plan of addition, we shall not be barren in a knowledge of Christ. We should, however, take heed to ourselves, lest we fall because we do not cherish and cultivate the Christian graces. “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” [11 Peter 1:9.] This scripture brings to view those who are in a divided state, those who talk as they please, those who indulge appetite and passionate speech, failing to take themselves in hand. Such persons have no moral strength to carry out the principles that would bring to them, as overcomers, the crown of life. They are like a man who has forgotten that he has been purged from his old sins.

Only Election in Scripture

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” [Verse 10.] This is the only election that is spoken of in the Bible. Your election is dependent on your course of action. If you will to make your election sure, you can do so; if you will to make it uncertain by sinning while professing to be righteous, you can do so. You can become angry, you can be dishonest in trade, you can in other respects follow the course of the ungodly. But will it pay? I ask you, Will it pay? Will you not determine to make your calling and election sure, and not only for yourself, but for your children? Will you not strive to bind up your children with Christ?

If you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, you will never fall; “for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verse 11.] This promise is an eternal life-insurance policy, and it is offered to every one of us.

The apostle continues: “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.” [Verse 12.]

Timbers in Character Building

To those who desire to make their calling and election sure, and to obtain this eternal life-insurance policy, we would say, Remember that you are “labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] God is watching intently to see what kind of timbers parents and children put into their character building.

Kindness and Patience

When the tiller of the soil sows seed, he apparently throws away his grain. Parents may think that in teaching their children the principles of kindness and patience, they are throwing away their time and efforts. But if they are faithful in training their children, they will reap an abundant harvest as surely as will the one who sows good seed in his field.

Home to be Heaven on Earth

Parents, make your home a little heaven on earth. You can do this, if you so choose. You can make home so pleasant and cheerful that it will be the most attractive place on earth to your children. Let them receive all the blessings of the household. You can so relate yourselves to God that His Spirit will abide in your home. Come close to the bleeding side of the Man of Calvary. Those who are partakers with Him in His sufferings will at last be partakers with Him in His glory.

Life-insurance Policy

We are offered an everlasting life-insurance policy that assures us a life which measures with the life of the infinite God. We are to make manifest that we are not working for earthly riches and honor, but for a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. When we have been offered so much, shall we not with every power of the being strive to be overcomers? If such an effort made men and women miserable, if it caused them to feel that they were under condemnation, we could not appeal so strongly to you to take up the cross and follow the Saviour. But we know that the effort to run with patience the race set before you will bring happiness into your face, the sparkle of glad satisfaction into your eyes, and nobility into your soul. In this light look at the Christian’s race. Grasp the hand of the Infinite, reached down to save you. He says, “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” [Isaiah 41:13.] Remember that in God you have a mighty Helper.

Parable of the Talents

In the parable of the talents, the servant who had five talents traded upon them wisely, and in the day of reckoning was able to bring double that number to the master. The one also who had two doubled his talents. But the man who had one talent hid it in a napkin, and buried it in the earth. And when the master returned and reckoned with his servants, the sentence pronounced upon this slothful servant was “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.” [Matthew 25:28.]

Brethren and sisters, what are you doing to prepare yourselves for a home in glory? Do you realize that to everyone is given his work? God has not given all the same work. Some have a greater number of talents than others. Those who have five talents should faithfully trade upon them. To those who have two talents the Lord says, “Trade upon your talents, using and improving them to My glory.” We are to use our talents according to our several abilities.

Remember that you have at least one talent. Resolve by the grace of God to use your talent wisely, and see whether you can gain another one. Thank God that He has manifested His great love to you by entrusting you even with one talent. By word and action show that you appreciate this gift, and that you regard it as a treasure greater in value than anything else you possess. Put your talent out to the exchangers. If you use it faithfully, you will gain another talent; and by a faithful use of these two talents, you will gain two more.

One Talent

If you have received only one talent, instead of burying it, say, “I have but one talent, and I must make the most of it. I will be faithful in the little things, because the Word declares, ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’ [Luke 16:10.] I must use to the very best advantage that which is given me. I must not waste one jot or tittle of my powers in the gratification of appetite or pride of appearance. In my family I must be a faithful teacher, training my children for the future, immortal life. I must teach them to be honest and truthful, kind and patient. I myself must be all that I desire my children to be; for in speaking of His disciples, Christ said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified.’ [John 17:19.]”

If you have buried in the earth the one talent that God entrusted to you, I beseech you to improve it before He inquires, What have you done with the talent that I gave you?

The Talent of Means

Often the talent of means is buried. Money lying unused in banks is regarded by the Lord as a buried talent. God wants His followers to use the talent of means in His service. We should do our part to carry forward the different lines of work in all parts of the earth. A great work is to be done in the cities. Camp meetings are to be held in many places. Those who have the talent of means may multiply it by using it to the work of giving to the world the message of truth for this time. When through the instrumentality of our one talent someone is brought into the truth, that one talent is doubled. And when this person brings others into the truth, there is still further increase of talents.

To him who uses aright his one talent, the Master will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” [Matthew 25:21, 23.] The well-doer is not rewarded in proportion to the number of his entrusted talents, but in proportion to the use made of that which he has, and the motive which prompts his action.

I tell you these things in order that you may individually feel that God desires to use you in His service. There is a place for you to fill in this world. If you fill this place faithfully, the Lord of heaven will work in your behalf, and you will see of the salvation of God. This is what we are so anxious for everyone to see.

In Isaiah 57:15 we read: “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” This scripture describes the man whom God approves.

Christ is coming soon. He declared that when there would be wars and rumors of wars, when there would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, we might know that the time of His second appearing is near. “When these things begin to come to pass,” He declared, “then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” [Luke 21:28.]

Parable of the Fig Tree

Christ represented this time by the parable of the fig tree. “Behold the fig tree,” He said, “and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.” [Luke 21:29, 30.] The wickedness, the turmoil, the disturbances on every side, should be regarded by us as signs that the day of God is at hand.

We are standing on the verge of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. It is high time to tell the people that Christ is coming. Let us warn them, visiting them at their homes, and talking and praying with them personally. By such efforts we shall win souls to Christ. If we come to God in faith, He will give us power and grace for every duty.

Practice Economy

Let those who profess to believe present truth practice economy. God has use for every dollar that can be given to advance His work in the earth. The cities throughout America are to be worked. The Southern field in all its barrenness is staring us in the face. Who feels a burden to go there to labor? Perhaps you are inclined to find fault with those who are there; but can you not go there yourself to see what you can do in working wisely for souls ready to perish?

Criticism and Fault Finding

We have only touched upon this subject, and now we leave it with you. We greatly desire to have everyone go to work. Cease to criticize and find fault. If anyone has aught against his brother, let him go to him in the spirit of Christ and settle the difficulty. Before the power of the Holy Ghost rested upon the disciples, they spent ten days before God in prayer and fasting and confession of sin. After they had come into unity, the heavens were opened, the glory of God was revealed, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they went forth to proclaim the gospel with power, and under the influence of the Spirit five thousand were converted in one day.

Let us begin to look at these things as they are. The saving knowledge of the power of God should go forth from us as a lamp that burneth. Our tapers should be kindled from the divine altar.


One reason that there are not more conversions now is because you yourselves need to be converted. Just as soon as you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you will see of the salvation of God. Let the breaking-up plow do its work in the heart. We desire to see everyone drawing strength from Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. May God help you. May He cleanse you from all unrighteousness, and let His light shine upon you. May we see the salvation of God . . . .

[Sermon at Petaluma, California, California Conference Camp Meeting, Sabbath, June 7, 1902.] Manuscript 77, 1902.

To be continued . . .