Although the word “precious” is used many times in the Bible, there are two aspects that need to be of special importance to us. Firstly, in the sermon I preached for today I referred to the fact that God views His Son Jesus Christ as “precious”. This comes up in Peter’s use of the “stone” imagery in 1 Peter 2:4, 6 and 7. Jesus is the Living Stone and we are also living stones because of Him. Therefore, if the Father sees the Son as precious … and we are in the Son … then He sees us as precious too. The second is very different as Peter uses the word “precious” in his second letter:
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Before I develop my point, it’s good to stop and remind ourselves who the Lord Jesus Christ is. Verse 1 says … “our God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Always remember that God is One … He is our God and Saviour. This reminds us that we ought not to think of Jesus, the man from Nazareth as just a man. When thinking about Jesus it is vitally important to remember that He is the Godman. He is God incarnate. He is God who came to planet earth, born into humanity through the virgin Mary via the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit … having no human father, He was sinless in birth and sinless in life and sinless in death. Because the incarnation was God’s Rescue Mission to our earth, He took upon Himself certain limitations whilst here, yet He never stopped being God. And as God, perfect in holiness, He presented Himself as the Sacrificial Lamb to be a Substitute in the place of the elect of God. In doing so, He became Saviour … for that is what He is for His people. Jesus being sinless and righteous is able to give His people something … “who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours”.
There are three interesting concepts here:
The word faith here is not used as in a “Body of Doctrine” such as we find in the Apostles or Nicene Creeds. “Faith” here is not used as in the collective ingredients one believes in … as in a summary of Christian Doctrinal facts that constitute Christian Faith. Rather, the word “faith” used here refers to commitment to Jesus for salvation. It is the ability or capacity to trust God totally for salvation. It is faith or trust in Jesus Christ as God and Savior!
This word is interesting because it shows that no one can earn or deserve faith for salvation. It is received … as in given by God to the individual, enabling trust for salvation. Although a passage often used … Ephesians 2 helps us understand “received”!
Eph 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Grace for salvation is God’s gift to you … but faith as the agency is also a gift from God. He gives you grace to be saved but this grace needs to be appropriated through faith … and God gives you faith to receive His grace. This is what Peter is saying by using the word “received”. The very important point here is that faith is not something you do! Faith is received or given from the good hand of God so that belief might occur because of grace.
“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours”. Why is this faith precious?
Firstly, because it is God designed. God crafted the various ingredients that together are active saving faith. It is spiritual not human. It is dynamic not academic. It is life transforming not life enhancing. Its character is eternal not temporal.
Secondly, because it does not discriminate, meaning that there is no distinction between believers. Such faith is not given to (received by) the wealthy, the educated, the upper class or the healthy at the exclusion of the poor, uneducated, lower class or sickly. God does not look at the outward appearance and favour this one or that one. God looks at the heart … for in the heart all outward glamour and earthly achievements are discarded and the real you is seen. No one can come saying certain people are excluded from saving faith because the Scriptures are clear when they say:
Rev 5:9 “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
In Glory Land, there will be souls from “every tribe and language and people and nation.”
That is how precious saving faith is!
But there is another aspect to the preciousness of saving faith that often might be overlooked or forgotten about. Every soul from “every tribe and language and people and nation” has been chosen by God … and chosen for a purpose. What is interesting and fascinating is that the complete crafting of full salvation for lost, sinful souls is saturated with divine architecture. The design was not only put into action before creation … the targets of this design were chosen before creation to resemble the Lord Jesus Christ in holiness, blamelessness and righteousness. See:
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
Dear Glorious Lord, You are so amazing, so thoughtful and so kind. We did not and do not deserve such mercy and love, yet You sovereignly chose us and we bow in adoration, worship and thanksgiving because of You divine purposes that has so favoured us. Graciously help us to be Your worthy servants through Jesus. Amen.