2 Peter 1:2 :Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
Don’t overlook the introductions of letters in the Bible. While we may zone out the opening remarks of speakers or announcements in public settings or writings today, the first century culture that Peter writes in jumps “right out of the gate.” In every letter, no matter how messed up the church, amidst his rebukes, the apostles always encouraged them in the grace and peace of God in Christ.
Grace is a Greek greeting and peace is a Jewish greeting. But this is exactly what the Gospel is! The gospel gives us a change in status (justified sinner) and a change in nature (broken sinner becoming like Jesus). Both are by grace. And the best news of the gospel—our peace, anchor and hope, is not that we know the Lord, but that he knows us.
Grace and peace experienced in knowledge. Paul reminded us: ""Grace to you and peace from God our Father"" (Galatians 1:3). Unlike the Qur’an, which teaches qualified grace and peace, earned by us. If I'm talking myself into grace and peace, then I'm still listening to myself, believing myself. The gospel calls me to believe God’s finished work in Jesus Christ. It is finished. Death is done. Christ has won!
True and enduring passion comes from a personal and intimate knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Believing the gospel as you go to bed is like crawling in between the sheets of God's grace and peace. Sleep well, my friends.
Father, grant peace to those who when the day ends and dark falls, anxieties rise and fears multiply. When your sovereignty and our frailty collide today, may the result be glory for you and peace for us. We pray that you would increase our knowledge of your grace and peace. Remind us through your Spirit the need for the Gospel. We know that only in Christ and Christ alone are we forgiven. Jesus, we will rest well tonight in your sleepless care and unwavering love. Why did we ever look elsewhere for peace? In your name – Jesus’ name – amen.
2 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Peter has reminded his readers of their identify in Christ (1:1) and greeted them acceptingly in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (1:2).
As we enter verse three, he transitions to tell us that there is nothing cheap, second-rate in Jesus. Only the lofty, the glorious. And, what’s more, nothing degrading in Christ, nothing to filter out. Wherever the gospel goes, standards rise, dignity grows, and humaneness appears.
Yes, it really is true, you right now have everything you need for life and godliness. So much for my whining and excuses! This is the Gospel math: Divine compassion plus divine power equals abundant provision. In fact, God commands you to wage war with every sin every day and then He fights on your behalf with omnipotent divine power even when you don’t have the sense to do so (2 10:4).
So, if you have failed in sin and need to repent, do so (Psalm 51)!. But, as God’s child, your life has been raised from the dead and invaded by the divine power and mercy of the triune God. My hope in 2017: ""Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory"" (Psalm 115:1). With unmistakable divine power!
Today, then, will you live like you really do believe that you've been given everything you need for life and godliness?
Father, may the gospel come with power tomorrow; convicting us of sin and convincing us of grace. Reveal Jesus clearly, Lord! Forgive me when I use the doctrine of justification to beat up legalists more than I submit to its power to change ME. Today, Father, by the power of the gospel, may we think rightly, see clearly, and love sacrificially, all to your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:4 :Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
God gave us his promises so we can share in his divine nature (become like Jesus), not program him like a computer. Remember: God is in control (Psalm 115:3)! We don't ""put God in control"" of our lives, he put himself in control of our lives—by his grace, he conquers and we submit. We don't claim the promises of God, they claim us. And that’s why we need “Fill in the blank”: “_________________ doesn't belong to me, is not in my sovereign control, belongs to God, and exists for His glory not mine.”
This group of Christians Peter wrote to was undergoing fiery trials and persecution (as we most Christians at the time). After disaster, loss, injustice, and pain, all that changes are that the unchanging promises of God become more precious. I mean, if you escaped what I escaped (God’s wrath), you'd be in church getting praised up, too. God has removed our corrupt and hostile hearts of stone and replaced them with new hearts of living and responsive flesh (Ezek. 36:26).
Are you finding certain biblical promises extremely precious and encouraging? Which ones?
Father, so humble us with our sin, and gladden us with your grace, that loving others will be our greatest delight. It's possible to love a theology of grace and hate legalists more than we love Jesus and hate sin. Father, show us the difference. Remind us that in Christ the great and precious promises are ours in Christ Jesus. All by grace. All by sovereign love. All by your hand. Thank you, Lord! We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:5 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;"
When we do Bible study, it is always important to look at the connecting words. In verse five, you see the word “for.” Based on everything in verses one to four, Peter now gives them very practical advice. Not that the theology he mentioned wasn’t practical—theology is the most practical we have!—he just takes it a different way.
""Make every effort"" (2 Peter 1:5). Have we made every effort? Or are we holding out?
The gospel of grace does not exclude effort. The biblical gospel inspires it.
God is only change-agent in in our salvation. It is God himself that causes us to be born again (2 Peter 1:3). The moment we add personal merit to faith, salvation becomes a thing to be earned, God becomes man's debtor and men can boast before Him.
And, although God alone is the one who saves and converts us, that doesn’t absolve us from growing in the grace and knowledge of His Son (2 Peter 3:18; James 2). We must grow in godliness. But it all begins with faith.
We don’t have power apart from ourselves to do this (2 Peter 1:3-4). Again, that is all of God. Yet, we must cast ourselves on his mercy. God himself makes us holy (Eze. 36:25). This is why Peter starts out with faith. If we aren’t truly saved by faith alone in Christ alone by his grace alone, we can’t do anything else listed. And notice that love is listed last in this list in verse eight.
We can no more sanctify ourselves, than we can justify ourselves, or certainly, glorify ourselves. All of grace. Any gospel that doesn't have the power to sanctify us doesn't have the authority to justify us. Thank God He has done this all for us in Jesus Christ!
Father, thank you for hiding our lives in Jesus. May we openly live out the radical implications of so great a salvation. No condemnation for our sin, no separation from God's love, no end to Christ's grace... Father, thank you for so great a salvation. We stand humbled today—no matter what we are facing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:6 "And knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness"
I doubt that future historians will look back and say that we were a generation distorted by excessive self-control. Self-control comes through self-examination. Proverbs 25:28 reminds us:
“A man without self-control is in greater danger than the people around him.”
Don’t forget that the Apostle Paul, while in a Roman jail awaiting an audience with Caesar, “reasoned about righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment, & [Governor] Felix was alarmed"" (Acts 24:25). And don’t forget the fruit of the Spirit is “self-control” (Galatians 5:23).
Why would Peter include self-control on this list, do you think? Because self-control is a reaction to what you believe to be at stake. Life is based on what you believe to be true and valuable. And I mean—really believe.
So, biblically speaking, self-control is the ability to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing. For so many in our day and so many in Peter’s day, this is a needed word because with much knowledge often comes little self-control. Consider how many leaders, whether of many or few, trust their “expertise” rather than the counsel of trusted advisors. The end result is often disastrous and tragic.
You see, the biblical Christian faith requires humility. Knowledge puffs up, etc. Those awesome in the sight of the world see little need for Christ. Nothing but the pure knowledge of God can teach us humility. If a growing confidence in theological knowledge doesn't result in a corresponding humility then I haven't learned much.
Has your love for the knowledge of the things of God grown? Great! But…has your humility before God and others grown as well? Penetrating self-knowledge that drives you in humility to the cross of Jesus is always the result of the operation of God's grace.
Father, so humble us with our sin, and gladden us with your grace, that loving others will be our greatest delight., Help us choose being humble over being vindicated today. Remind us that all the knowledge we possess of you is but a drop in the bucket of who you are. Help us to be okay not knowing everything, but, at the same time, let us not be content to be passive. May humility, Father, just as your Son showed on the cross for our sin, be our banner today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:7 "And godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."
The old hymn says: “They will know we are Christians by our love.” But, today, it seems the mantra has change: “They will know we are Christians by our social media posts and bumper stickers.”
It's not just a campfire or ""retreat"" song, friends. As Christians, we don't merely tolerate people, we love them as Christ has loved us.
How to be sure you love Christians. ""We know we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commands"" (1 John 5:2). Christians show love because we know love (John 15:12).
If God has commanded that his blessing will be located amid brotherly harmony, then let's remove every barrier to our harmony (Psalm 133)!
That’s the crux of what Peter is getting at here. Pretending to be godly and the expense of godliness is a horrible trade...secret sin is idiocy!
You say, “Darin, I could never do this!” Everything you need for the godliness and service is found in prayer. You have no lack in Christ, but what you fail to take by prayer! And we rejoice, but what is this compared to the billions without Christ? Oh, for greater faith and godliness. Our sin is our only hindrance! Every moment given to communion, greater godliness, and petition will reap untold benefits throughout the rest of the day.
By God’s grace and Spirit, train yourself for the purpose of godliness. Invest your time and energy in Christ-likeness that you might be a useful instrument. But, remember: Do so out of a love for the God who saved you from eternal wrath and a love for your brothers and sisters who will spend eternity with you!
Father, grant us the enormous gift of godly sorrow when we sin; and keep us far, far away from worldly sorrow, which only produces death. Holy Spirit, grant me godly sorrow, quick repentances, Jesus' joy, and hands of mercy for this day. Grant us the gifts of godly sorrow for our sins, and holy joy for our righteousness in Christ. As grow in Christ, guard the unity of our churches, our families, and our faith. Let not pride come before a fall. We pray you unite all Christians together in love—all that is divine and by grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Peter 1:8 "For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Wouldn’t you agree that much of life is really understanding who you are? We have been watching some old documentaries lately in our house about people who have on-set amnesia. These folks literally wake up and don’t know who they are, where they are, or anything about their history. It is such a sad state.
As Christians, if we don’t know who we are to be, we will never know who God wants us to be, and what He has called us to do.
Could what Peter is proposing here actually be true? Is it possible that there are those among the ranks of true Christians that are saved but are ineffective and unfruitful?
Yes, it is very possible! Perhaps there are financial problems. Maybe there is a deep resentment toward another Christian. Just perhaps there is a deep addiction only you and someone else know about. And all these things lead you to a spiritual life in Christ that is just, well “blah.”
Why are they ineffective? Because they have forgotten that they have been forgiven of all their sin!
The bottom line is this: If we forget who we in Jesus Christ, we will stop chasing after what belongs to us in Christ.
It is an issue of identity. You and I are short-sighted when it comes to who we are in Christ. We forget what we have been blessed with in Christ. And, thus, we try to replace our identity of things in this world, not of things above (Col. 3:2).
Nothing but Christ should be our identity. Not our job, marriage, kids, parenting style, Bible cover, physique, desires, wants, etc. etc. Each of these wants to be a lower-case “messiah,” but none of them can overtake the upper-case true Messiah.
O Lord, expose the darkness fully in us! And help us to remember! “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Eph. 5:11.
Father, if we forget Jesus today, he won't forget us. He's always remembering us and remembering us, land literally putting us back together. Protect, O Lord, from being anemic with our true identity in you. Help us not to confuse the things of this world with eternal things—the most important things. Yet, we praise you, Father, even in the moments (and hours) we may forget you today--even then, you will be greatly delighting in us. Glory! In Jesus’ name. Amen.