Peter’s line of things is different from Paul’s. Peter was a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory (see 1 Peter 5:1). Paul was a witness of the glory (Acts 22:14-15), and a partaker of the sufferings (Col. 1:24: Phil. 3:10).
Paul’s theme is the heavenlies: Peter’s theme the wilderness.
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, believers are seen as already in the heavenlies, there blessed with all spiritual blessings.
In the First Epistle of Peter, they are viewed as in the wilderness, strangers and pilgrims, and here also we learn how God is leading His people safely home. Peter wrote to the saints in those countries where Paul most laboured (see chap. 1:1); and in the closing words of his Second Epistle, he speaks of Paul as his “beloved brother” (2 Pet. 3:15-16), and claims for his writings the authority of Scripture. There is no contention between them: no contradiction in their writings. One Spirit guided and inspired both, and we need both equally. Paul lifts us up into the presence of God, and shows us our standing there, while Peter tells us how God is guarding and guiding us safely along the wilderness till we get to heaven.
There are three great lines of truth in God’s Word, especially in the New Testament—
1. Christ Truth. This, John, who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, has been chosen specially to unfold in his Gospel, and his Epistles.
2. Church Truth. This, Paul, who had seen a glorified Christ in heaven, but not a suffering Christ on the Cross, has been specially called to bear witness of, and to minister (Acts 22:15, Eph. 3:5-7).
3. Kingdom Truth. This is what Peter, James, and Jude specially write of.
These several lines of truth correspond with the service of the three families of Levites, who carried the tabernacle through the wilderness.
Merari,—which means “bitterness”—carried the boards, the bars, the sockets: types of the Person of Christ. Cypress wood, His humanity; gold, His Divinity; silver, redemption. This is John’s theme.
Kohath,—which signifies “an assembly,”—carried the holy vessels of the tabernacle, which correspond with Pauline, or Church truth.
Gershon,—“a stranger there,”—carried the curtains and the cords. This corresponds with Peterine, or Kingdom truth. Thus does God now as of old give a portion to each, for He will have all His truth fully revealed, and harmonised.