Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Peter 1:3 - 1:3

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Peter 1:3 - 1:3

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2Pe_1:3. His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.

THE Lord Jesus Christ, as Mediator, procures for us all blessings from God: but, as God, he authoritatively imparts them. It is of him that the Apostle speaks, when he says, “His divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” But the words which follow my text are of more doubtful interpretation. Some understand them as importing, that these things are given for the acknowledgment of God, who has called us by the mighty working of his power. This rendering of the words is so extremely different from that which our translators have given us, and at the same time is maintained by so many persons of eminence, that I have chosen rather to wave the consideration of them altogether, than to determine which of the two is the more correct: though I cannot but say, that I prefer the sense that is given us in our authorized translation. The words before us convey a most important truth, which I shall endeavour to illustrate. The Lord Jesus has indeed given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,

I.       In a way of general provision—

In his blessed word, he has given to us, and to the whole world,

1.       Instructions—

[There is nothing needful for us to know, but it may be found in the Scriptures of truth. There we are informed how a sinner may be reconciled to his offended God — — — There we see how we may obtain a new nature, and be renewed after the image of our God in righteousness and true holiness — — — There we are told how we may walk so as to please and honour God — — — Nothing is omitted there, which can conduce, either to our obtaining of life, or to our possessing of vital godliness. And whatever has been added by man, has a tendency rather to counteract than forward our eternal interests — — —]

2.       Promises—

[These are “exceeding great and precious,” and comprehend every thing which our necessities require. Place us in any situation that can possibly be imagined, and there will be found a promise directly applicable to our state. Nor is any thing required of us, in order to obtain an interest in these promises: if only we have a desire after the things promised, and a willingness to receive them as the free gift of God for Christ’s sake, they become ours, and shall be fulfilled to us: and by them we shall be made partakers of that very godliness which might be supposed to be a necessary pre-requisite for an interest in them. We are not first to cleanse ourselves from sin, and then lay hold on the promises; but first to take the promises, and then, by their influence, to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness, both of flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.”]

3.       Examples—

[The force of example is pre-eminently great, as affording us both direction and encouragement. And there is no grace which we can be called to exercise, but we have it exhibited and embodied in some bright pattern that is set before us. As for faith, the first leading grace from which almost all others flow, the examples of it are innumerable; and the powers which it possesses to elevate the soul are displayed in the strongest colours. Would we wish to know the precise operations of patience and meekness? the lives of Job and of Moses afford us most distinguished patterns. Would we behold fidelity, devotion, and the constraining influence of love? Elijah, David, Paul, say to us, ‘Be followers of us, and ye shall attain these graces in perfection.’ Such examples as these, not to mention any others of a different kind, which are “set forth for our admonition,” serve to explain the precepts, and to shew us what measure of godliness we should aspire after, and may hope to attain. So that nothing is wanting to us, that can by any means help us forward in the divine life.]

But the Lord Jesus Christ has, to his obedient followers, given all things also,

II.      In a way of special communication—

The instructions, promises, examples, which are contained in the Holy Scriptures, are common to all; but to his peculiar people the Lord Jesus Christ has given graces, which, by his divine power, he has wrought in their souls. On them he has bestowed,

1.       The gift of faith—

[This grace is essential to the welfare of every child of man; for it is through it alone that either life or godliness can be brought into the soul. But he enables his people to come to him, and lay hold on him, and to embrace his promises; and to draw forth out of his fulness all needful supplies, both of grace and peace. In their minds he works a conviction, that they have nothing in themselves to recommend them to God, and can do nothing whereby to obtain an interest in his favour. To them he makes himself known, as “the way, the truth, and the life;” and he brings them to “live altogether by faith in Him, who has loved them, and given himself for them.”]

2.       The assistances of his grace—

[“Without him they can do nothing:” but “through strength communicated by him, they are enabled to do all things.” Have they to conflict with Satan, and withstand his assaults? They go forth in the strength of Christ, and are made “more than conquerors:” not all the powers of darkness can stand before them. Have they to sustain the heaviest afflictions ? Through Christ they are enabled to “glory in tribulations;” and to “take pleasure in every species of distress for his sake,” under a full assurance that “his strength shall be made perfect through their weakness;” and that “he shall be magnified in their body, whether by life or death.” Whatever they have either to do or suffer, “his grace his sufficient for them;” and his divine power “makes them perfect in every good work to do his will, working in them that which is wellpleasing in his sight.”]

3.       The consolations of his Spirit—

[These are of prime necessity in the divine life; for “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Without the light of God’s countenance lifted up upon us, our “hands will hang down, our knees be feeble, and our hearts faint.” But he will send to his people the Comforter, according to his word, to be in them “a Spirit of adoption,” “a witness of their relation to him,” and “an earnest of their eternal inheritance.” This will support them under all their trials, and animate them in all their conflicts, and bear them up above all the concerns of time and sense. With “his love shed abroad in their hearts,” nothing will move them: “nor will they count their lives dear unto them, if only they may but fulfil his will, and finish their course with joy.”]


1.       Let us inquire whether these blessings have indeed been conferred on us—

[As possessing the Book of Revelation, we have free access to all the benefits contained in it. But have we availed ourselves of this liberty, so as to have become partakers of the blessings themselves ? How many are there who name the name of Christ, and yet have never received any thing from him but the name! Look ye well to this matter, my dear brethren; for, if ye be not brought to live by him, and for him, and to him, it were better that ye had never heard the Gospel at all; yea, and better that Christ himself had never come into the world.]

2.       Endeavour to make a just improvement of them—

[If we are responsible to God for the offers of salvation, which are given to the whole world, much more are we for those special communications which are made only to God’s peculiar people. Have you light in your understandings? follow it with holy assiduity, and with a tender conscience; never “hiding it under a bushel,” or “shutting it up in unrighteousness.” Have you good desires in your hearts? Labour to carry them into effect; and rest not till you have attained the object for which they were given. Let every grace “have its perfect work in you, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”]

3.       Impart liberally to others what the Lord Jesus has so liberally conferred on you—

[It is not for yourselves only that Christ has bestowed on you such blessings; but that you may be instruments in his hands to impart them to others. Have you the Holy Scriptures? Put them, if possible, into the hands of every child of man. Are you instructed in the knowledge of them ? Send out missionaries into the world, to instruct the heathen, and to bring your Jewish brethren to the knowledge of that Saviour whom their fathers crucified. Endeavour, too, that the rising generation be imbued with the principles of our holy religion, and be made partakers of all the benefits which you yourselves enjoy [Note: If this subject be treated with a view to the advancement of a Bible Society, Mission Society, Jews’ Society, or Charity or Sunday Schools, the appropriate idea here touched upon must be amplified and enforced.] — — — “Freely we have received; freely give:” and let every blessing that ye possess be regarded as a talent to be improved for the Lord, and to be accounted for to him at his judgment-seat.]