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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 72 - 2 Peter 1:10, 11 - The Abundant Entrance Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius

Index

LXXII.

 

The Abundant Entrance.

 

     "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."-2 Peter 1:10, 11.

 

 

     'Forward' is the Christian's battle-cry. Progress is to be his aim. His life is to be one of advancement and thorough earnestness. He is saved that he may work, and that he may win. The barrenness, the lack of graces, the blindness, the shortsightedness, the forgetting that he was purged from his old sins, to which the apostle refers, are totally unbecoming his profession and name. He was called to something very different,-not to go back or remain on his first level, but to rise higher and higher. Then, in the 10th and 11th verses we have such truths as these,-

     I. The summons to earnestness.-'Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.' Every word here has meaning. 'Wherefore,'-that is, seeing such are your snares and dangers. 'The rather,'-that is, instead of going back or remaining barren, do the opposite; start right on in the onward and upward course. 'Give diligence,'-that is, rouse yourselves to earnestness and zeal. 'To make your calling and election sure,'-that is, to confirm what you already possess; not to strive after something unknown and uncertain, but to carry on to the end the certainty with which you have begun. Ye have been called. Confirm your calling by bringing forth its fruits. Ye have been chosen. Confirm your election by like fruits. See how the apostle sets 'calling' at the beginning of a saint's course,-1 Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:9; and election as the great source of all,-Romans 11:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:4. Thus it is that the calling and the choosing are assumed as past and ascertained; and just because they are so we are exhorted to hold them firm. Our calling took place at our believing. Then we were 'apprehended of Christ;' and this calling was the result of our having been chosen of the Father. When we believed, these were brought out as truths or facts which our after life was to make good. In verifying and exhibiting these we are to 'give diligence,'-that is, (1) to lose no time; (2) to spare no effort; (3.) to grudge no sacrifice. The thing itself is far too momentous, its issues too vast and infinite, to trifle with. No room for sloth or ease, or delay or heedlessness. In all this what a rebuke,-

     (1.) To the hollow religion of the present day!-In how many cases do we find a mere externalism; all within hollow,-a shell without a kernel; a body without a soul; a temple without a worshipper or a living voice; all hollow,-mere air and emptiness, or, at best, heartless sounds and echoes; religious machinery kept going either by an uneasy conscience or by the desire of a good name!

     But this hollow religion benefits no one; it fills no soul; it comforts and gladdens none.

     (2.) To the easy-minded religion of the day!-Superficial, easy, often light and flippant, is the style of religious feeling and talk among many. Words, forms, bustle,-these make up religion with multitudes: a religion easily acquired and put on, easily carried out; without struggles and conflicts; without fire and fervor; without sacrifices and self-denial; a religion of ease, levity, selfishness, compromise; a religion of velvet, not of sackcloth; little prayer; no strong crying and tears; no 'O wretched man that I am!' no self-consecration, and no solemnity; poor and second-rate; without decision, or daring, or influence.

     (3.) To the uncertain religion of the day!-For how much of religion amongst us is only a groping after the light, not a walking in it! and, being so, its possessors are heartless and feeble-minded, not knowing whose they are and whom they serve.

     II. The promise of steadfastness.-'If ye do these things (verse 5 and 6), ye shall never fall.' Our pressing forward will prevent our falling. Progress alone can keep us erect. If we try to stand still, we fall. Press forward, and we shall stand. God will, no doubt, keep His chosen ones secure; none shall pluck them out of His hand. Yet not on that account are they the less exposed to subtle snares and fierce assaults. God's secret purpose is not their rule, nor is it to enter into their calculation as a reason for exposing themselves to peril. God will keep us, but He does so by keeping us advancing. We shall often be on the point of falling; we shall meet with many things tending to overthrow us; but 'if we do these things, we shall never fall.' The word is more properly 'stumble' (Romans 11:2; James 2:10, 3:2). Learn, then, (1) God's desire and purpose concerning us, viz, that we should never fall; (2) God's means for this, viz, pressing on in holiness and good works; (3) God's warning to us, viz. 'If ye do not do these things, ye shall fall.' Our danger of stumbling or falling is great. Our course is that of a wheel set in motion,-nothing but rapidity and continuousness of motion can keep it from falling. The moment we begin to say, 'I am rich,' we are on the point of stumbling. Let us forget the things behind, and press on to what lies before.

     III. The glorious recompense.-'So the entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' Here we are kept from falling; hereafter we shall inherit the kingdom. Let us consider, then, these eternal results,-the rewards to the victor, to him who reaches the goal. For the promises are all 'to him that overcometh.'

     (1.) The kingdom.-It is not merely pardon and deliverance, it is a kingdom and an inheritance that are set before us. We are kings and priests now; the actual reigning will come ere long. It is on Christ's throne that we are to sit; it is Christ's crown that we are to wear. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. The kingdom is everlasting; it cannot be moved. Unlike the vanishing monarchies of earth, it stands forever.

     (2.) The entrance.-The right of entrance is secured to us now, on believing God's testimony to Christ; the actual entrance is when Christ returns. Our right of entrance connects itself with Christ's first coming, our actual entrance with His second. He comes with His many crowns to share them with his Church.

     (3.) The abundant entrance.-It is not bare admission; it is not the being 'saved so as by fire.' It is beyond all these. It is like a vessel entering the harbor full sail and with all its colors flying, not broken, torn, and half a wreck. It is like a king coming in royal array, with his splendid retinue; not a stranger, unknown, suspected, and only admitted after examination of his passport.

     (4.) The ministration of the entrance.-The word minister is the same as in the 5th verse: 'As ye add (or minister) grace to grace, so shall the Lord add (or minister) to you the entrance into the kingdom.' It is God Himself who ministers the entrance, who throws wide open the gates, who gives the full and blessed welcome, the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The entrance depends on our being found in Christ; the abundance of it, on our progress and fruit here. Barrenness and unfruitfulness will mar the entrance; it will not keep us out, but it will diminish the weight and glory of our crown.

     Let us aim high. Let us press forward. It is for a kingdom. Let us not sleep, nor loiter, nor be barren, nor be useless Christians. Let us mount up, add grace to grace, that, when the Lord comes, we may have an abundant entrance.