John and Paul Compared; Christian Life; the Lord's Ways With Peter; Philippians

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
* * * As to the Epistle to the Philippians (in reading you may judge of this), the Christian life recognizes nothing but the fruit of resurrection, because we ought to walk according to the Spirit, and never according to the flesh. God is faithful, not to suffer us to be tempted beyond our strength. The Christian is considered as walking always according to the Spirit, and reckoning himself dead to sin, but alive to God. Then there is, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." If we pretend to the absence of the flesh, or that we have not to take any notice of it, or if we pretend that we have not to judge ourselves inwardly, we are mistaken; and, even if we are sincere, there remains a mass of subtle things unjudged, and the general state of the soul is below the true effect of the light of God. But the strength of God is with us, to make us walk in communion with Himself.
As to the passage in John 21:1818Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. (John 21:18), I do not think that the Lord points out in Peter an evil will. He had desired, that is to say, of his own will, to follow the Lord. He had to learn his powerlessness, because there was will in him, human strength; but at the end of his life it would not be so; another would gird him, and he should go where he would not. There is no question here of an evil will, but it would not be his will which would gird him, or cause him to die. He could, without doubt, bless God for it; but he did not seek to suffer. I am the more convinced that this is the sense, because the Lord adds, "This he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God." What Peter had to learn at that time, and what the Lord taught, was that the will of man could effect nothing in the pathway of life through death, and that is the only way of life.
November 10th, 1858.