Today: [2 Peter 1:] God’s Fail Safe for Your Life. In chapter 1 of 2 Peter the promise of God is one of coming to the place in God that we never fail or fall. In Christ, t is invited to participate in a divine process revealed by Peter that we enter into a depth of grace that has profound implications for us in our persons and in the living out of our day to day lives upon the earth.
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[2Pe 1:1-21 KJV] 1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
From the earliest centuries of the church, scholars have expressed doubt concerning its authorship. Origen (an early theologian), Jerome (a compiler of Christian canon) and the historian Eusebius all questioned if Peter had actually written this letter because it differs in style from 1 Peter and seems to allude to events known to have taken place after Peter’s martyrdom in 68 AD. Regardless from ancient times onward believers have venerated 2 Peter without wavering, and no serious contention against its canonicity has ever been raised. Like many other New Testament books its composition, dating, and authorship leave scholarly minds with interesting questions.
The letter is written to Christians throughout Asia Minor and addresses primarily disputes about the coming of Christ and other controversies. There are also thinly veiled quotes undoubtedly from the book of Enoch and acknowledgments of gnostic heresies that were already surfacing even at this early dating. There are also several portions similar in content to the book of Jude, and lastly, this is the only book of the Bible that refers to other canonical writings (in this case those of Paul) as “scripture.”
In verse 1 Peter introduces the letter addressing it to those who have obtained faith in Christ through the New Birth. He emphasizes immediately the knowledge of God through which we as believers obtain the promises relating to salvation from sin and the appropriation of the glory of God and the virtue of the Father in our persons. Through the knowledge of God we are given exceeding great and precious promises, and through that same knowledge we are made partakers of the nature of God and thereby escape the corruption of the world. This then illuminates for us the value of studying the scripture and giving ourselves over to a more in-depth understanding of the things of God.
Many today insist they don’t want anything to do with doctrine but doctrine and understanding of the word of God according to Peter are the means by which we receive all that God has for us in redemption. God places no value on ignorance.
Admonitions to “come as a little child” and to be childlike in our faith are not intended to exempt the believer from devotion to the study of God’s word for according to Peter, in studying God’s word we appropriate the substance of God’s glory, virtue, and divine nature. If something is missing in your life we are to remember that through the knowledge of God we receive all things that pertain to life and to godliness. A deficit in these areas then indicates a need for increased knowledge of God that involves the study of the word to appropriate its promise.
Through the word of God (v. 4) we are given exceeding great and precious promises. These promises are provided for more than just encouragement. They are given that we might be partakers of them and partakers of the nature of God that keeps us from the corruption of the fallen world that surrounds us. Study of the word then is perceived to have an impact on our lives over time. We want God to change things instantaneously without our effort, but here Peter maintains that we are part of the process. We must do our part (giving ourselves over to the word of God), and then God will do His part – release to us the blessings and virtue that are released in the word as we make it a part of ourselves through study and meditation of its content.
Having given ourselves over to the word faith comes (Rom. 10:17). If you want mountain-moving faith, it comes by no other way than studying the word of God. After faith comes, there is a process initiated that we are to engage in and give ourselves over to. Peter says we are to give all diligence to pursue what he lays out for us as a progression of spiritual development. Thus you can have faith only by the word and then having faith we are to give ourselves over to diligence. What is diligence and do you consider yourself a diligent Christian? The word diligence here means to “accomplish with earnest striving.” Are you diligent in God to study his word and give yourself over to His maturing processes? Everyone is diligent about something. Are you for instance more diligent in checking your phone or Facebook than you are to spend time in God’s presence or meditation of his word. Which is more tedious to you, Facebook or scripture?
We are to give all diligence to add:
Virtue to Faith.
Knowledge to Virtue.
Temperance to knowledge.
Patience to temperance.
Godliness to patience.
Brotherly kindness to godliness.
Charity to brotherly kindness.
We could teach at length on any of these. The promise to us (v. 8) is if these things are in you and abound they will make you that you will not be barren nor unfruitful in our understanding and knowledge of God. Lacking these we are not left to ourselves as if we could just opt out because it is not in our nature to be so devoted. If these things are lacking we become blind; we have no spiritual insight, we fall into forgetfulness and the sins of the past rise up to dominate us once again. Thus again Peter calls us to diligence to make our calling and election sure.
We know that we are called. We know that we are elect (or, that God has chosen us). We feel this in our being because we are born again and have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. There is something we must do; however, or failure is the result. Giving your life to Christ is intended to alter your lifestyle, your interests and your pursuits in line with the earnest application of our efforts and use of our time daily to see these virtues Peter mentions to be produced and to thrive in our hearts.
If we heed Peter’s counsel the promise is that we will NEVER FALL or fail to enter into the abundance of the kingdom laid up for us as believers. This is God’s fail-safe then. Peter is purposing in his counsel to vouch to the reader that giving yourself over to what he is emphasizing here will radically change your life and lift you above the roller coaster experience of the average believer of failure, disappointment, and downturn. For this reason, Peter (v. 12) is not negligent to remind us of these things though he expects it is not new information to us that we should so do. Peter is committed as long as there is breath in his body to stir us up to these pursuits because he realizes his time is short. He greatly desires to impart in full to the generation after him all that God has put in him. He charges us (v. 15) that in the aftermath of his inevitable death we are to bring these things often to mind and be diligent in applying ourselves to them in the interests of all that God promises us.
These things are essential (v. 16) because Peter stresses the promises of the gospel were not cooked up by the apostles to generate some mythos that a new religion could be built on. The apostles are telling what they were eyewitnesses of concerning the majesty of Christ. What Jesus received from the Father (v. 17) is imparted to us through the work of redemption. This isn’t a scripture for Peter but a remembrance of witnessing the baptism of Jesus and hearing the voice of the Father confirming His son as a dove settled upon him as a witness of the Holy Spirit that this indeed is the Christ, the son of the living God.
When Peter refers to the voice of God that he witnessed at Jesus’ baptism (v. 19) he describes it as prophecy. Not just a prophecy for Jesus alone but for us as well because no prophecy originating in God is of a private or exclusive interpretation. We need to get this because this is where scripture arises. The letters that make up scripture were always addressed to someone living at the time but now long gone. These were very personal communications, but Peter says while they are personal they are not private nor exclusive. You and I can mix them with faith and in fact even what the Father declared over Jesus at His baptism Peter insists is personal but not private. You can grab hold of that and mix it with faith to experience the same. What a profound statement and what a holy ambition for one to embrace as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was declared to be the Son of God, and that same declaration applies to us as the declared sons of God because of Calvary by which we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ in all things. Amen.
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