John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. To them that have obtained - Not by their own works, but by the free grace of God. Like precious faith with us -The apostles. The faith of those who have not seen, being equally precious with that of those who saw our Lord in the flesh. Through the righteousness - Both active and passive. Of our God and Saviour - It is this alone by which the justice of God is satisfied, and for the sake of which he gives this precious faith.
Verse 2. Through the divine, experimental knowledge of God and of Christ.
Verse 3. As his divine power has given us all things - There is a wonderful cheerfulness in this exordium, which begins with the exhortation itself. That pertain to life and godliness - To the present, natural life, and to the continuance and increase of spiritual life. Through that divine knowledge of him - Of Christ. Who hath called us by - His own glorious power, to eternal glory, as the end; by Christian virtue or fortitude, as the means.
Verse 4. Through which - Glory and fortitude. He hath given us exceeding great, and inconceivably precious promises - Both the promises and the things promised, which follow in their due season, that, sustained and encouraged by the promises, we may obtain all that he has promised. That, having escaped the manifold corruption which is in the world - From that fruitful fountain, evil desire. Ye may become partakers of the divine nature - Being renewed in the image of God, and having communion with them, so as to dwell in God and God in you.
Verse 5. For this very reason - Because God hath given you so great blessings. Giving all diligence - It is a very uncommon word which we render giving. It literally signifies, bringing in by the by, or over and above: implying, that good works the work; yet not unless we are diligent. Our diligence is to follow the gift of God, and is followed by an increase of all his gifts. Add to - And in all the other gifts of God. Superadd the latter, without losing the former. The Greek word properly means lead up, as in dance, one of these after the other, in a beautiful order. Your faith, that "evidence of things not seen," termed before "the knowledge of God and of Christ," the root of all Christian graces. Courage - Whereby ye may conquer all enemies and difficulties, and execute whatever faith dictates. In this most beautiful connexion, each preceding grace leads to the following; each following, tempers and perfects the preceding. They are set down in the order of nature, rather than the order of time. For though every grace bears a relation to every other, yet here they are so nicely ranged, that those which have the closest dependence on each other are placed together. And to your courage knowledge -Wisdom, teaching how to exercise it on all occasions.
Verse 6. And to your knowledge temperance; and to your temperance patience - Bear and forbear; sustain and abstain; deny yourself and take up your cross daily. The more knowledge you have, the more renounce your own will; indulge yourself the less. "Knowledge puffeth up," and the great boasters of knowledge (the Gnostics) were those that "turned the grace of God into wantonness." But see that your knowledge be attended with temperance. Christian temperance implies the voluntary abstaining from all pleasure which does not lead to God. It extends to all things inward and outward: the due government of every thought, as well as affection. "It is using the world," so to use all outward, and so to restrain all inward things, that they may become a means of what is spiritual; a scaling ladder to ascend to what is above. Intemperance is to abuse the world. He that uses anything below, looking no higher, and getting no farther, is intemperate. He that uses the creature only so as to attain to more of the Creator, is alone temperate, and walks as Christ himself walked. And to patience godliness -Its proper support: a continual sense of God's presence and providence, and a filial fear of, and confidence in, him; otherwise your patience may be pride, surliness, stoicism; but not Christianity.
Verse 7. And to godliness brotherly kindness - No sullenness, sternness, moroseness: "sour godliness," so called, is of the devil. Of Christian godliness it may always be said, "Mild, sweet, serene, and tender is her mood, Nor grave with sternness, nor with lightness free: Against example resolutely good, Fervent in zeal, and warm in charity." And to brotherly kindness love - The pure and perfect love of God and of all mankind. The apostle here makes an advance upon the preceding article, brotherly kindness, which seems only to relate to the love of Christians toward one another.
Verse 8. For these being really in you - Added to your faith. And abounding - Increasing more and more, otherwise we fall short. Make you neither slothful nor unfruitful - Do not suffer you to be faint in your mind, or without fruit in your lives. If there is less faithfulness, less care and watchfulness, since we were pardoned, than there was before, and less diligence, less outward obedience, than when we were seeking remission of sin, we are both slothful and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ, that is, in the faith, which then cannot work by love.
Verse 9. But he that wanteth these - That does not add them to his faith. Is blind - The eyes of his understanding are again closed. He cannot see God, or his pardoning love. He has lost the evidence of things not seen. Not able to see afar off -Literally, purblind. He has lost sight of the precious promises: perfect love and heaven are equally out of his sight. Nay, he cannot now see what himself once enjoyed. Having, as it were, forgot the purification from his former sins - Scarce knowing what he himself then felt, when his sins were forgiven.
Verse 10. Wherefore - Considering the miserable state of these apostates. Brethren - St. Peter nowhere uses this appellation in either of his epistles, but in this important exhortation. Be the more diligent - By courage, knowledge, temperance, &c. To make your calling and election firm - God hath called you by his word and his Spirit; he hath elected you, separated you from the world, through sanctification of the Spirit. O cast not away these inestimable benefits! If ye are thus diligent to make your election firm, ye shall never finally fall.
Verse 11. For if ye do so, an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom - Ye shall go in full triumph to glory.
Verse 12. Wherefore - Since everlasting destruction attends your sloth, everlasting glory your diligence, I will not neglect always to remind you of these things - Therefore he wrote another, so soon after the former, epistle. Though ye are established in the present truth - That truth which I am now declaring.
Verse 13. In this tabernacle - Or tent. How short is our abode in the body! How easily does a believer pass out of it!
Verse 14. Even as the Lord Jesus showed me - In the manner which had foretold, John 21:18, &c. It is not improbable, he had also showed him that the time was now drawing nigh.
Verse 15. That ye may be able - By having this epistle among you.
Verse 16. These things are worthy to be always had in remembrance For they are not cunningly devised fables - Like those common among the heathens. While we made known to you the power and coming -That is, the powerful coming of Christ in glory. But if what they advanced of Christ was not true, if it was of their own invention, then to impose such a lie on the world as it was, in the very nature of things, above all human power to defend, and to do this at the expense of life and all things only to enrage the whole world, Jews and gentiles, against them, was no cunning, but was the greatest folly that men could have been guilty of. But were eyewitnesses of his majesty - At his transfiguration, which was a specimen of his glory at the last day.
Verse 17. For he received divine honour and inexpressible glory - Shining from heaven above the brightness of the sun. When there came such a voice from the excellent glory - That is, from God the Father. Matthew 17:5.
Verse 18. And we - Peter, James, and John. St. John was still alive. Being with him in the holy mount - Made so by that glorious manifestation, as mount Horeb was of old, Exodus 3:4,5.
Verse 19. And we - St. Peter here speaks in the name of all Christians. Have the word of prophecy - The words of Moses, Isaiah, and all the prophets, are one and the same word, every way consistent with itself. St. Peter does not cite any particular passage, but speaks of their entire testimony. More confirmed - By that display of his glorious majesty. To which word ye do well that ye take heed, as to a lamp which shone in a dark place - Wherein there was neither light nor window. Such anciently was the whole world, except that little spot where this lamp shone. Till the day should dawn - Till the full light of the gospel should break through the darkness. As is the difference between the light of a lamp and that of the day, such is that between the light of the Old Testament and of the New. And the morning star - Jesus Christ, Revelation 22:16. Arise in your hearts - Be revealed in you.
Verse 20. Ye do well, as knowing this, that no scripture prophecy is of private interpretation - It is not any man's own word. It is God, not the prophet himself, who thereby interprets things till then unknown.
Verse 21. For prophecy came not of old by the will of man - Of any mere man whatever. But the holy men of God - Devoted to him, and set apart by him for that purpose, spake and wrote. Being moved - Literally, carried. They were purely passive therein.
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