Peter was also an apostle. The word apostle comes from a Greek word which mean “to send.” The apostles were those who were originally sent out by Jesus to spread the gospel to the world. It applied only to those who were specifically sent out by the Lord. Men such as the twelve disciples, Paul, and Barnabas were apostles whose ministry was the foundation for the early church. This second title reveals the need for believers to listen to what Peter has to say. He was not just an old Christian writing a letter, he was one who had been sent specifically by God for the help of the early church.
From our introduction to the letter, we learned that Peter was concerned about the spiritual welfare of these believers who had been scattered throughout modern day Turkey. He knew that false teachers were already turning people away from the truth. So, he wanted to prepare them for what was coming. If you were going to prepare a group of churches to withstand the attacks of false teachers, where would you point them? Peter began by reminding them of what God has done for their salvation. Consider what he says in 2 Peter 1:1-4.
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Our faith came from the Lord Jesus (1).
One of the questions that has been debated by Christians for years has to do with our salvation. What part does man have in his own salvation? Some believe that it is man’s responsibility to respond to the gospel. He somehow has the ability to turn from his sins and believe the gospel. Others believe that man is unable to do that without God’s help. He is hopelessly lost with no ability to change his direction. The more I study the Scriptures, the more I see this second idea. Salvation is completely of the Lord.
Soon after my conversion, if you had asked how I had been saved, I would have told you that I believed on Jesus and God saved me. That would have been a true statement as far as it goes. But it would reveal a lack of understanding as to what happens at salvation. An answer like that focuses on what I did. It is almost like saying that I was the one who saved myself. What it leaves out of the picture is God’s part in salvation.
Think about this. Why did you believe? Was it something that you worked up on your own? Did you wait until you were ready and then make the choice on your own? Or was there more to it than that? Consider what Peter says about our faith in verse one. He describes our faith in terms that seem a bit odd. Our faith is not something that we did. Instead, it is something that we have received. What exactly does that mean?
Our faith is a gift from God. It is something that we have received from him not by our own effort but as a free gift. That may seem a bit much, but consider again what Peter is saying here. In this short introduction, he explains that he and his readers had been given faith through the righteousness of Christ. This faith that we thought we came up with is something we were given. Before we were given this faith, we did not seek after God at all (Rom. 3:11). But after Christ paid the price for our sins, we were given the faith to believe him. That is the only way that we would ever have turned to him because our sinful nature would not allow us to repent and believe. God had to work.
In several other passages, this same thought is expressed by the apostle Paul. In Philippians 1:29, he says “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” At first glance it just seems to be talking about the opportunity for these early believers to suffer for Christ. But it also says that they were given the ability to believe him. The same thought is also expressed in Ephesians 2:8. There Paul says, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” In other words, our faith is a gift which we have received from God.
Peter further describes this faith as “precious.” It is something that we value highly because of its great worth. When you think of your faith not as something you did but as something you were given, you will come away with a greater appreciation for your salvation. Salvation has nothing to do with me. It has all to do with God. “Salvation is of the Lord.”
This great salvation was a gift from God. But the gift included much more than just our faith through Christ’s righteousness.
Grace and peace comes from the Lord Jesus (2).
What do we gain from our new faith in Christ? The first thing we gain is a new relationship with God. Before God’s loving act in saving us, our sin separated us from having any relationship with him. But now through the sinless sacrifice of Christ, we can know the Lord. And that knowledge provides us great benefits.
Knowledge often provides some great benefits for a person. While visiting a salvage yard in Geneva, Ohio, one of the mechanics explained that he could not figure out how to remove the back seat in a Saab 900. He had attempted to remove a part for me the day before I got there and could not find the release lever. So, he just grabbed the bottom of the seat and bent it out of the way! Having owned three of these cars, I had learned this secret from the repair manual. In a matter of seconds, I had pulled the release lever and opened the seat for the man. My knowledge of the car would have been a benefit for this man the day he was working on it.
Our knoweldge of God is much more important than this. But what does our knowledge of God provide for us? It provides us with grace and peace. Grace is the unmerited kindness that God gives to us daily. It is the kind things that he does for us just because we are his children. Peace is the absence of worry. Because of the knowledge we have about Christ, we have no need to worry about the future. We know that because of him our sins are forgiven and we will one day spend eternity with God. There is no need for worry in our lives.
But Peter adds the word multiplied to the equation. The idea is that through our knowledge of God and of the Lord Jesus, this grace and peace is multiplied to us. Have you found that to be true in your life? As you grow in your knowledge of God, you will have greater peace because your understanding of what he has done and is doing. This is also a great blessing.
But how would this have applied to the ones who originally read this letter? These were believers living in desperate times. They were facing persecution from Nero and zealous Jews and were now facing the doctrine of false teachers. They were longing for this grace and peace that could be their own as they meditated on their God and Savior.
Do you have this same kind of grace and peace? Are you growing in your knowledge of him and finding that this multiplies your recognition of his grace to you? Are you more and more at peace because of what he has done? Study the Scriptures with the intent of developing your knowledge of God.
All that we need for a godly life comes from the Lord Jesus (3).
As you think about the life to which we have been called, you may be overwhelmed by the size of the task. We daily face opposition from worldly people. Most people are against a life of godliness and if left to our own strength, their would be no way for us to overcome the world. Peter reminds us that Christ provides everything that we need.
His power enables us. When you think about the words “divine power,” what comes to your mind? Have you considered the immensity of the power at Christ’s disposal? Think of the beginning when He spoke and everything was formed. Think of the waters of the Red Sea being parted. Think of the walls of Jericho falling down. Think of the sick who were healed and the dead who were raised. Then think about your own life. Does God have enough power to meet your needs? He does.
His example encourages us. The Lord Jesus has called us to a life of glory and virtue. That’s another way of describing the Christian life. We are called to have the glorious and virtuous life that Christ led. And his example encourages us in that task. As he is holy, so we strive to be. Whenever we feel like giving in to temptation, we need simply to look at the One who lived without sin and we are encouraged by his example.
Yes, our life will be difficult, but as we keep our eyes on Christ, we will be reminded that we can keep on because he has given us the strength to do it and has given a perfect example to follow.
What promises have been given to us? We have the promise of eternal life, his presence with us, the Holy Spirit living within us, his promise that temptation is escapable, and that he will return some day. These promises are all available to us through the work of Christ. But one of the greatest promises available to us through Christ is that of a changed life.
Peter tells us that through Christ we have become partakers or sharers of the divine nature. Our entire being is no longer bound in sin’s clutches. We no longer are corrupted by our own sinful lusts. We have been changed.
Think about your new life in Christ. What has changed since you became a child of God? If you are a believer, everything is different. The reason for this is that you now have a new nature that is godly. Paul described it well in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” For this we owe everything to Christ, for without him none of this would be possible.
1. Our faith came from the Lord (1).2. Grace and peace comes from knowing the Lord (2).3. Everything we need for the Christian life comes from the Lord (3).4. Our new nature comes from the Lord (4).