Life-Study of 2 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall review 1:5-11.
In verse 5 Peter says, “And for this very reason also, adding all diligence, supply bountifully in your faith virtue, and in virtue knowledge.” The word “virtue” refers to the virtue mentioned in verse 3, where Peter speaks of the One who has “called us to His own glory and virtue.” Furthermore, this virtue is related to the divine nature (v. 4), which denotes the different aspects of the riches of what God is. The virtue in verses 3 and 5 is the issue of the experience of the divine nature, the enjoyment of the divine nature, in verse 4. When we partake of the divine nature, the different aspects of the riches of what God is, these riches become our virtues. For example, God is love, light, holiness, righteousness, and kindness. All these are God’s attributes. Each divine attribute is also a virtue. When we enjoy what God is, we enjoy His holiness. Then this holiness becomes a virtue in us and with us. The principle is the same with the enjoyment of other divine attributes.
The essence or element of virtue is contained in faith as a seed. This seed is actually Christ Himself, and Christ is God in all that He is. Because all that God is, is in Christ, Christ is the embodiment of what God is. This Christ has become our inheritance. The response to, or reflection of, this embodiment within us is faith. Faith, then, is also our inheritance. Within faith as a seed are included all the divine attributes, all the riches of what God is. Because we have this seed of faith with the divine nature, we must go on to develop this seed. The first thing that comes forth in this development is virtue. Therefore, virtue is the result of enjoying the divine nature, the result of enjoying what God is.
In verse 5 Peter says that in our virtue we need to develop knowledge. Virtue requires the bountiful supply of the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (vv. 2, 3, 8) regarding the things related to the divine life and godliness and to the partaking of the divine nature.
We may have a great deal of knowledge, but our knowledge may be shallow and superficial. We may not know life or know what like precious faith is. Moreover, we may not know anything regarding the divine nature, and we may even oppose it when it is pointed out from the Bible that believers may become partakers of the divine nature. Those with a superficial knowledge also may not know that godliness is the expression of God, that Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God, and that Christ today is the life-giving Spirit. To lack the knowledge of such matters is to be short of the knowledge of the depths of the truth in the Bible.
Some believers have been hindered or even spoiled by superficial knowledge. They may be fundamental in their doctrine, but they may be fundamental in a superficial way. Superficial fundamentalism may actually be a kind of “drug” that can dull the spiritual senses. A good number of Christians have been “drugged” by the influence of a superficial fundamentalism. For this reason, it is very difficult to speak with them about having Christ as our food and enjoyment. If you tell them that we can eat Christ, digest Christ, and assimilate Him so that He becomes the constituent of our being, they would say that such a teaching is heretical. They may react and say, “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is on the throne in heaven. How can we eat Him, and how can He become the constituent of our being?” They may even consider scriptural teachings such as these to be blasphemous.
Some with superficial knowledge also oppose the matter of mingling. The word “mingling” is used in the Old Testament. Leviticus 2 speaks of the mingling of oil with fine flour to make the meal offering. The concept of mingling, therefore, is surely according to the Scriptures.
Furthermore, in John 6 the Lord Jesus says that He is the bread, the living bread that came down from heaven to give life to the world, and that whoever eats Him will also live because of Him. Consider what happens to the food we eat. The food is digested, assimilated, and eventually mingled with our fibers and cells. Is it not true, then, that eating implies mingling? The digestion and assimilation of the food we eat definitely involves mingling. The food we eat is mingled with our very constitution. In the same principle, when we eat the Lord as the bread of life and digest and assimilate Him in our spiritual being, He is mingled with us and we with Him. However, certain Christians do not have this knowledge, which is a knowledge of the depths of biblical truth.
The knowledge spoken of in 1:5 is the full knowledge of God and of our Lord. We need a full knowledge not of the unprocessed God, the “raw” God, but of the processed God. The expression “processed God” refers to the God who became a man through incarnation, who lived on earth for thirty-three and a half years, who died on the cross and was buried, who was resurrected, and who has ascended to the heavens. Incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension are all a part of a long process. Because Christ has passed through such a process, no longer is He merely God with the element of divinity; He is also man with the element of humanity. Our Lord is both God and man. He has both the divine nature and the human nature. Moreover, He also includes the elements of human living, His all-inclusive death, and His life-imparting resurrection. Such a word concerning the processed God may sound alien or strange to those who have only a superficial knowledge of the Word. But according to what Peter says in 1:5, we need to supply bountifully in our virtue the full knowledge of God.
If believers do not have the proper knowledge, how can they have the development described in 1:5-7? It is not possible to have this development apart from the full knowledge of God. With some believers there is hardly any development. They may not even have a full realization concerning the like precious faith, not knowing that this faith is the all-inclusive seed within them. They have never heard this kind of teaching. Their knowledge is not on this line, but is related instead to a superficial religious understanding.
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