2 Peter 1:9 MEANING

2 Peter 1:9
(9) But he that lacketh.--Rather, for he that lacketh. Geneva and Rheims have "for." The "for" introduces the second reason for the exhortation to furnish forth all these graces--viz., the evil of not having them. The Greek implies absence of possession in any degree, not merely absence of permanent possession. (See first Note on 2 Peter 1:8.)

Is blind.--We might have expected "will be idle and unfruitful, &c.," but the writer is not content with merely emphasizing what has just been said, after the manner of St. John (e.g., 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 1:5; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:27-28; 1 John 4:2-3; 1 John 4:6); he puts the case in a new way, with a new metaphor equally, applicable to the subject of knowledge. Note that he does not say "will be blind," but" is blind." The very fact of his possessing none of these graces shows that he has no eye for them.

Cannot see afar off.--The Greek word means literally closing the eyes; and the point seems to be, not wilful shutting of the eyes (those who won't see), but involuntary and partial closing, as in the case of short-sighted people; in a spiritual sense, those who have only a very hazy apprehension of the objects of belief and of the bearing which their beliefs should have on their conduct. There is, therefore, no anti-climax, a weak expression following a strong one, but a simple explanation, a more definite term following a general one; it explains what kind of blindness is meant. The special kind of short-sightedness here indicated is that of one who just sees that he is a member of a Christian community, but perceives neither the kind of life that one who has been purged from heathen enormities is bound to lead, nor the kind of life which alone can win an entrance into Christ's kingdom. The shortsightedness of not being able to see beyond this present world is probably not expressed here.

And hath forgotten.--Literally, having received or incurred forgetfulness--a unique expression in the New Testament. The phrase does not necessarily imply that the forgetfulness is voluntary; it is the inevitable result of wilful neglect--the neglect to cultivate Christian virtues. The forgetfulness is not the cause of the shortsightedness, but a phase of it.

His old sins.--Those committed before he was "purged" in baptism (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 3:21).

Verse 9. - But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off; literally, for he to whom these things are not present is blind, short-sighted. We cannot attain to the knowledge of Christ without these graces, for he who has them not is blind, or, at the best, short-sighted, like one who blinks with his eyes when he tries to see distant objects, and cannot bear the full light of day. Such a man can only see the things which lie close around him - earth and earthly things; he cannot lift up his eyes by faith and behold "the land that is very far off;" he cannot "see the King in his beauty" (Isaiah 33:17). The word for "short-sighted" (μυωπάζων) occurs only here in the New Testament. And hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; literally, having incurred forgetfulness of the cleansing from his old sins. St. Peter is apparently thinking of the one baptism for the remission of sin. Ananias had said to Saul, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins" (Acts 22:16); St. Peter himself had said, in his first great sermon, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Those who do not realize in the religious life that death unto sin of which holy baptism is the sign and the beginning, incur forgetfulness of the cleansing from sin which they then received; they do not use the grace once given for the attainment of those higher graces of which St. Peter has been speaking. The one talent once entrusted to them must be taken from them; they are idle and unfruitful, and cannot reach unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (comp. 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 3:21).

1:1-11 Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as really as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith justified in the sight of God. Faith worketh godliness, and produces effects which no other grace in the soul can do. In Christ all fulness dwells, and pardon, peace, grace, and knowledge, and new principles, are thus given through the Holy Spirit. The promises to those who are partakers of a Divine nature, will cause us to inquire whether we are really renewed in the spirit of our minds; let us turn all these promises into prayers for the transforming and purifying grace of the Holy Spirit. The believer must add knowledge to his virtue, increasing acquaintance with the whole truth and will of God. We must add temperance to knowledge; moderation about worldly things; and add to temperance, patience, or cheerful submission to the will of God. Tribulation worketh patience, whereby we bear all calamities and crosses with silence and submission. To patience we must add godliness: this includes the holy affections and dispositions found in the true worshipper of God; with tender affection to all fellow Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travellers to the same country, heirs of the same inheritance. Wherefore let Christians labour to attain assurance of their calling, and of their election, by believing and well-doing; and thus carefully to endeavour, is a firm argument of the grace and mercy of God, upholding them so that they shall not utterly fall. Those who are diligent in the work of religion, shall have a triumphant entrance into that everlasting kingdom where Christ reigns, and they shall reign with him for ever and ever; and it is in the practice of every good work that we are to expect entrance to heaven.But he that lacketh these things,.... Or in, and with whom, they are not; that is, these virtues, as the Arabic version reads, as faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity; where the principles of those things are not, and they are not exercised and performed, such an one

is blind: let him boast ever so much of his light and knowledge, and value himself upon it, and expect to be saved by it, let him live as he will; for he has no true knowledge of God, as in Christ, as the God of all grace, as his covenant God and Father; nor does he know what it is to have communion with him in Christ; he only professes to know him in words, while in works he denies him; nor has he any right knowledge of Christ, only notional and general, not spiritual, experimental, particular, and practical; he does not see the Son, so as truly to believe in him; he has no true sight of his beauty, suitableness, and fulness, and of him for himself; nor any experience of the work of the Spirit of God upon his heart, whom he neither receives, sees, nor knows spiritually, any more than the world itself does; nor does he see the plague of his own heart, the corruptions of his nature, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin; nor has he any true spiritual light into the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, only a form of godliness, without the power of it: and therefore, whatever natural understanding of things he has, he is spiritually blind,

and cannot see afar off: at least, not the good land that is afar off, the kingdom of heaven; the invisible glories of the other world; things that are not seen, which are eternal, which one that has true faith has a glimpse and sight of; nor Christ, who is in heaven at the right hand of God, and the things of Christ, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, carried within the vail; nor even what is within himself, the sins of his heart, the pollution of his nature, and the evil that dwells there; he sees not that he is poor, and wretched, and miserable, but fancies himself to be rich, and in need of nothing; he sees nothing but outward things, the things of time and sense, worldly and earthly things, which are near him, and all around him, which he minds, on which his heart is set, and he pursues with rigour. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "trying with the hand", as blind men do, feeling and groping to find the way; see Acts 17:27,

and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; not by baptism, from the sins committed before it, for that does not purge from any sins, old or new, but that which it leads the faith of believers to, for pardon and cleansing, even the blood of Christ; but this also, and purification by it, is not meant here, though generally interpreters give this as the sense, and understanding it of the sin of ingratitude in such a person, who had received so great a benefit by Christ, and was unmindful of it; since it cannot be thought that one so described as above should ever have had his conscience purged by the blood of Christ from his old sins, or those before conversion, unless it be by profession; and then the sense is, that he has forgotten that he once professed to have been purged from all his sins by Christ; which, if he had, would have made him zealous of good works, and put him upon glorifying Christ both in body and spirit. The Ethiopic version renders it, "and he hath forgot to purge himself from old sins"; which he would have been concerned for, had he had a true and spiritual knowledge of Christ, and his Gospel, and an application of the exceeding great and precious promises of it, or had been made a partaker of the divine nature through them; see 2 Corinthians 7:1, but the words are better rendered agreeably to the original text, "and hath forgotten the purification of his old, or former sins"; or "sins of old"; as they are rendered by the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; that is, he does not consider, nor think of it, that he was a sinner of old, a sinner in Adam, that he was conceived and shapen in sin, and went astray, and was called a transgressor from the womb; he does not think that he stands in any need of being purged from former sins; and is entirely unmindful of, and neglects, the purification of them by the blood of Christ.

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