The Like (Same) Precious Faith
Albert E. Farley
The apostle Peter wrote his second letter “to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1. This is the faith which all of us ought to seek to obtain and is the subject of this study.
When our Lord prayed on the evening before He was crucified, He prayed that this “like precious faith” would be obtained by all who would hear the preaching and teaching of the apostles. “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me.” John 17: 17-23
The religions of the world are broken and fragmented into hundreds of different faiths, sects, parties, denominations, etc. All of these cannot be the “like precious faith” of 2 Peter 1:1. All of them may be wrong but all of them cannot be right. How can we know? How can we know whether we have obtained the like precious faith of the apostles of Christ? The only way we can know is through knowledge! As we read Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we are struck by the number of references He made to God’s Word and to the words of the apostles. Knowledge! Knowledge of the Word of God is the key to having the “like precious faith.” What we believe, obey, practice, and teach must be established by and upon the Holy Word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17.
A local denomination is making a serious claim on its outside sign: “We do not change God’s Word; it changes us.” This is a noble sign, but they are not doing what it claims. They have changed the name of the church; they wear a denominational name; they preach salvation by faith only; they have changed baptism into sprinkling (including infants); they have changed the government of the church; they have introduced instruments into their worship; they do not take the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day; etc. Their faith is not the same precious faith of the apostles and of the New Testament of Christ. They have changed God’s Word to suit themselves.
In Peter’s second letter, he verified this basic and fundamental necessity of walking by faith. He said his readers had obtained their “like precious faith … in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ.” (1:1) Through what did Peter say that God had given them all things pertaining to life and godliness? “Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (1:4) In Romans 1:16, 17, Paul said the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The preaching of the gospel reveals the righteousness of God by which we obtain “like precious faith!”
In Ephesians 4:1-4, we are commanded to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. Paul commanded his readers to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He said, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Religious denominations cannot stand in the light of these words.
When Jude wrote his short letter to those who had been sanctified by God, preserved in Christ, and called by the gospel, he said, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (3). Note that the salvation in Christ is the “common” salvation – belonging to all of who are in Christ. Christians are commanded to engage in intensive combat for the like precious faith that has been once (for all time) delivered unto them. This, by the grace of God, we do in word and deed – with meekness and fear. Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 3:15.
Dear friends, have you obtained this most precious faith? The churches of Christ commend this faith to you. We invite you to come with us as we go back to the Bible and do Bible things in Bible ways for Bible reasons.
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