‘For if ye do these things ye shall never fall’, 2 Pet. 1. 10.
It is instructive that Peter should write these words. He was someone who knew, from personal experience, what it was to fall. He had made rash comments and claims, only to find that which he had claimed to be absent in the hour of crisis. Who could forget Peter’s declaration, ‘If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise’, Mark 14. 31? Alas, Peter had not just denied the Lord once, but three times, and that with oaths and curses, v. 71. For many, that would have been the last of Peter. Such a spectacular fall would have meant that, in their minds, his useful spiritual life was finished.
As we read the words of our text, it is obvious that Peter was restored. His fall was not as irrevocable as some might have thought. That is why he now writes, ‘Ye shall never fall’. We all fail. As long as we are still in this mortal body we are conscious of the propensity to sin. However, we can take courage from Peter, failure need not be final. Confession can bring forgiveness and cleansing.
In addition to the responsibility that lies with the individual who fails, there is also the need of a specific ministry. Paul wrote to the Galatians, ‘If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness’, 6. 1. Those that, like Peter, have experienced failure may be equipped for such a task. They have been in that same position but, in meekness, it is hoped that they have moved on and grown in Christ.
But there is an aspect of ministry here which Peter needed and the Lord provided. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘Ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow’, 2 Cor. 2. 7. This is true restoration. The forgiveness espoused is not theoretical but genuinely conveyed in the comfort that is demonstrated. Where there is true repentance there is deep sorrow. How important that where there is true forgiveness there should be genuine comfort to restore the believer who has fallen!
Commencing this new year of the magazine, we are encouraged to see material from authors that continue to supply us with food for the people of God. It is also good to see new writers prepared to support the work, providing heart-warming and challenging ministry. The new expositional series for the centre pages continues with an exposition of the first chapter of First John. There is also very practical and timely ministry on developing the spiritual potential of a new generation as well as a short article on the exacting nature of the ‘school of pain’. May the Lord be pleased to bless the magazine to His people and use it for the furtherance of His work and to His glory!