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2 Peter 1

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Introduction

In the beginning of our study through 1 Peter, we noted that Peter wrote the letter with the help of Silvanus or Silas.

speaks of Silas as one of the “chief men” in the early church.

Acts 15:22 NKJV
Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.
speaks of Silas as one of the “chief men” in the early church.
And a few verses later in verse 32 we find that he was also a prophet.
Acts 15:32 NKJV
Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.
Acts 15:32
Silvanus is a Roman name and as a Roman citizen he probably came from a well-to-do Jewish family that was able to provide a good education.
It was common for a Jewish couple who were also Roman Citizen's to choose for their children both Jewish and Latin names that sounded similar.
Silvanus is a Roman name and as a Roman citizen he probably came from a well-to-do Jewish family that was able to provide a good education.
It was common for a Jewish Roman Citizen's parents to choose for their child both Jewish and Latin names that sounded similar.
You probably remember Silas from Paul’s missionary journeys following Mark’s abandonment of the mission.
Paul wanted nothing to do with John Mark after he had deserted he and Barnabas during their first missionary journey.
After that, Barnabas wanted John Mark to join them again, but Paul would have nothing to do with it.
It caused Paul and Barnabas to divide.
Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus and Paul took Silas through Syria and Cilicia on his second missionary journey.
Silas first appears in the history of the church as a leader among the brothers at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.
That council met around 49 AD.
refers to Silas as an early leader in the Jerusalem church as well as a man who “risked his life” for the name of the LORD Jesus.
So it is safe to assume that Silas was a very early convert.
Later, after Silas was with Paul on that 2nd missionary journey, he was paired up with Timothy and they later joined Paul in Corinth.
They were with Paul in Corinth when Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians.
And sometime after that we find him with Peter in Rome, from where he aided Peter in writing these letters.

Silas is listed as a co-contributor of three letters of the New Testament … 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 Peter.

says that he also contributed to the letter from the Jerusalem Council to the church in Antioch.

I bring all of this up because 2 Peter is one of the most highly disputed of the New Testament epistles.
The reason being the style of the letter differs so much from it’s predecessor, 1 Peter.
Now, we know that Silas played a large role in the writing of 1 Peter.
It is not known how large a role.
He definitely acted as an amanuensis … a secretary who takes dictation.
amanuensisscribe.
scribe.
But it may have been that Silas acted more as the author with Peter guiding him.
We do get hints of that in the text of 1 Peter … places where the wording sounded a lot like Paul … and Silas was mentored by Paul.
If that was the case and Peter wrote the 2nd letter himself, it would make a lot of sense that this 2nd letter is different in style from the 1st.
But … Did Peter use another secretary for 2 Peter or did he do all the writing himself?
I believe he did use another amanuensis.
In fact, I believe he used Jude.
I believe this to be the case because this letter draws so much from what Jude’s own writing contains.
My view on this is the minority view … most believe that Jude was not used as a scribe in writing this letter.
I think it would pretty cool if Peter and Jude teamed up in that way … but other than the similarities there is no great evidence that this happened.
Anyways, the early church fathers found no good reason to reject 2 Peter as a fraud.
In fact, they debated the validity of the book even then but found that it was authentic.
You see, there were people who would write books under another persons name, knowing that it would attract interest in their book.
These forgeries are called pseudepigrapha.
Many of the so called “lost gospels” are of this ilk … even Silas’ name was used by someone who wrote “The Teachings of Silvanus” which dates to the second half of the second century AD.
The early church fathers were very aware of these forgeries and able to discern what was true from what was a forgery.
And we need to remember that the early church fathers were disciples of the Apostles and disciples of the disciples of the apostles … so they were close to the original sources.
The later letters of the New Testament express a growing awareness of dangers facing the young church.
For instance, in 2 Timothy, the last letter Paul wrote before his death, we find warnings about false teachers and a growing corruption of the church and true doctrine.
Also, in two other late letters, this one and Jude, we have the same strong note of warning.
2 Peter was written just before his death, somewhere in the area of 67 or 68 AD.
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2 Peter was written somewhere in the area of 65 to 68 AD.

We know this because it was written after 1 Peter and before Peter’s own death under the persecution of Nero.

When 1 Peter was penned, that persecution was coming.
So, as I always like us to do, let’s look at what was going on in Israel and the Roman Empire when this letter was written.
When 2 Peter was penned, that persecution was happening.
In this letter, Peter refers to his soon death by reminding us of Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s death as recorded in .
(We’ll talk about what was going on in the Ephesian church, and with Timothy as we actually get into the letter.)
Do not read below:
John 21:18–19 NKJV
Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
› Great Fire of Rome Slide
And so Peter writes here:
2 Peter 1:13–15 NKJV
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
Peter had to have written this letter after 1 Peter and before his own death under Nero, which happened between 65 and 68 AD.
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Now, as I always like us to do, let’s look at what was going on in Israel and the Roman Empire when this letter was written.

A great fire devastated Rome in 64 AD but suspiciously left the estates of Nero and his friend Tigellinus unburned.

Many of the residents of Rome suspected Nero was the source of the fire and began to point fingers at him.
The fire had destroyed many of the districts, where, perhaps not so coincidentally, Nero wanted to build a huge palace and park.
The senators of Rome were already at odds with the Emperor, Nero, his erratic behavior and the financial stress that Rome was already under.
This fire added to that.
So, Nero needed a scapegoat.
Christians, adherents to this seemingly strange new belief in a crucified and resurrected Savior fit the bill perfectly.
Not only were their beliefs strange to the people of Rome, but the fire had spared a district that was populated with Christians.
And so Nero accused Christians for the fire and state sponsored persecution against Christians began and escalated.
According to Tacitus, an early-second-century historian who disliked Christians, Nero burned believers alive as torches to light his gardens at night.
He killed other Christians by feeding them to wild animals as the half-time show in the Arena.
In all, Nero murdered thousands of Rome’s Christians.
And Christians saw Nero as a prototype of the antichrist.
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Having cleared out the land he needed for his humongous new palace and grounds, Nero had started bringing workers, soldiers, and slaves into the city.

Not everyone bought into Nero’s ruse and the people of Rome, like the Senate, grew even more upset at Nero.

And for good reason … He was acting more and more crazy.
In a fit of rage, he stomped his wife and her unborn child to death.
At the same time a plot to assassinate Nero was discovered and Nero became even more paranoid.
19 executions and suicides followed, and 13 banishments.
People, including Senators, were executed without any trial or hearing … just on the whim of Nero.
In 66AD, Nero went to participate in the Olympics in Athens … and he didn’t go to watch … he participated in the games.
And he was so feared by all the athletes and judges that he won all the medals … over 1,800 of them in one years worth of competition.
He also performed in the theatres of Greece, imagining himself to be a great thespian.

While he was doing all this, he appointed Vespasian Flavius to deal with a Jewish revolt in Israel.

Vespasian would pull together the 2nd largest army in the history of Rome … more than 60,000 soldiers would march toward Israel.

At the same time, Nero, without realizing it, signed his own death warrant by declaring that Greece would no longer have to pay taxes to Rome.
Of course, this with a food shortage and continued executions enraged the Senate back home.
People were beginning to outright reject Nero’s rule.

In 68 AD, the Senate would condemn Nero to be flogged to death.

Nero heard of this and committed suicide.
His last words were, “What an artist the world loses in me.”
----

Going back again to 66AD, things in Israel were heating up dramatically.

The governor of Judea, Florus, decided to confiscate the Temple treasury for himself.

And this caused riots, protests, and bloodshed.
But what really ignited things was the slaughter of thousands of Jews in Caesarea.
In 66AD, in rebellion to Rome, Jerusalem was declared the new capital of Jerusalem and a provisional government was established.
There was discord among the Jews … 5 Jewish factions were vying for control, and they all declared war on one another.
In fact, over half the population of Israel would be killed by fellow Jews over the next 2 years.
At the same time, Rome was planning a massive invasion of Israel.
It was at this time that, if Barnabas was the author of Hebrews, that book was written
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Christian Jews had been fleeing Israel en masse and by 67AD there were no more Christians there.

Things in Israel had become truly chaotic.

Israel was turned upside down with violence.
Rome was clamping down and zealots were stirring up trouble.
Most of Israel was overtaken by Vespasian’s army and Jerusalem was surrounded.
The siege of Jerusalem had begun.
Titus Flavius had joined his father, Vespasian and his enormous army.
In a few short years Jerusalem would be taken and the Temple destroyed.
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The Apostle Paul, had been arrested and imprisoned in Rome.
He would soon be taken outside the city and beheaded.
Peter would also soon be killed by Rome.
The early church father Clement wrote to the Corinthians around the end of the 1st century AD.
In his writing to them he stated that Peter endured hardship and died as a Martyr.
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And the early church historian Eusebius confirms what Clement wrote, but added the detail that Peter was crucified upside-down
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More specifically to this 2nd letter of Peter’s … remember that in 1 Peter he warned his readers of a great increase in persecution that he knew would be coming soon.

Now, you should remember from our study through 1 Peter that Peter warned his readers of a great increase in persecution that he knew would be coming soon.

So, 1 Peter dealt with dangers from outside of the church.
Now, 2 Peter deals with dangers from inside the church.
2 Peter deals with the emergence of false teachers, and of false teaching, as does Jude’s letter.
Normally, 2 Peter and Jude might be studied sequentially.
the emergence of false teachers, and of false teaching.
But we are going through the Bible as it is laid out, which means we will first hit 1,2, and 3 John before hitting Jude … and then, of course, Revelation.
It is especially good for Christians these days to have a knowledge of 1 Peter given what is going on in Christianity.
Heretics and heresies are becoming very common and very popular … and commonly accepted by many Christians.
And these false teachers with their false doctrines are corrupting the simplicity that is Christ and tricking Christians into adopting a merit based theology.
We need to be able to recognize false teachers, and not be shy about calling them out … and be able to recognize true doctrine verses man-made.
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And if anybody in the early church knew the importance of being alert, it was the Apostle Peter.
As we observed in the final chapter of 1 Peter, in earlier years, he had a tendency to underestimate danger and to overlook Jesus’ warnings.
He rushed ahead when he should have waited.
He slept when he should have prayed.
He talked when he should have listened.
He was a courageous, no doubt.
But he was also reckless and found himself “sifted” by Satan.
However, Peter learned from his mistakes and in this letter he desires to “fill us in” and what he has learned.
We will find in this letter an emphasis on the knowledge of God.
We find this hinted at very early on in the letter … verse 2, in fact:
2 Peter 1:2 NKJV
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
In fact, in this first chapter we’ll see “knowledge” used 5 times.
The word “knowledge” occurs in various forms in the Greek text with certain subtleties attached, which we’ll comment on as we get there.
Overall, however, Peter does not use the word to mean ONLY an intellectual understanding of some truth.
He uses it to mean “A living participation in the truth.”
This is the sense that our Lord used it in His prayer to the Father in .
John 17:3 NKJV
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
—“This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (italics mine).
Peter opened his letter with a description of the Christian life. Before he described the counterfeits, he described the true believers. The best way to detect falsehood is to understand the characteristics of the truth. Peter made three important affirmations about the true Christian life.
The Christian Life Begins with Faith ()
Peter called it “like precious faith.” It means that our standing with the Lord today is the same as that of the Apostles centuries ago. They had no special advantage over us simply because they were privileged to walk with Christ, see Him with their own eyes, and share in His miracles. It is not necessary to see the Lord with our human eyes in order to love Him, trust Him, and share His glory ().
I guess that is enough introduction for us.
Let’s pray and dig in.
Prayer: Lord, as we embark to study your Word, we ask that our hearts would be open to receive all that You have to say to us. We desire to be hearers and doers and for You to lead us in Your ways. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

v1-2

As I said earlier, Peter is going to deal with dangers within the church in this letter … false teachers, false doctrines … basically counterfeits.

But before Peter described the counterfeits, he described the true believers.

That is because the best way for us to detect falsehood is for us to understand the characteristics of the truth.
So, looking to the middle of verse 1, we start with faith … as Peter describes it “obtained” and “like precious.”
First of all, faith here is πίστις pistis and it has it’s usual meaning: the act of believing.
The Greek word λαγχάνω lanchanō here translated “obtained” means “obtained by lot according to divine will.”
As the verse expresses, “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Also it is “like precious” which is one Greek word ἰσότιμος isotimos meaning “equally significant or valuable.”
In other words, the standing with the Lord of those Peter was directly writing to as well as us today is the same as that of the Apostles centuries ago.
Absolutely the Apostles were privileged to have been able to see, feel, and hear Christ in person.
But that did not give them a special faith above our own or some advantage over us.
As Peter stated in his first letter, it is not necessary to see the Lord with our human eyes in order to love Him, trust Him, and share His glory.
Peter wrote:
1 Peter 1:8 NKJV
whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:8–9 NKJV
whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
That Person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour. From the very outset of his letter, Peter affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ. “God” and “our Saviour” are not two different Persons; they describe one Person, Jesus Christ. Paul used a similar expression in and 3:4.

Peter wants to assure his readers that they have a status in the church that is fully equal to that of himself and the other apostles and church leaders.

Peter wants to assure these Gentile Christians that they have a status in the new covenant community of believers fully equal to that of himself and other Jewish Christians. By breaking through all ethnic barriers, the gospel message has enabled Gentiles, who were at one time “foreigners to the covenants of the promise” (), to believe in Jesus Christ and so be saved from their sins. Gentile Christians are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of heaven.
There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of heaven.
Peter considered this to be an important assurance for Christians to hear so that they could take confidence in their full status as God’s children.
Otherwise, the false teachers could sow doubt in their minds and make them think they had to merit their status.
That Person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour. From the very outset of his letter, Peter affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ. “God” and “our Saviour” are not two different Persons; they describe one Person, Jesus Christ. Paul used a similar expression in and 3:4.
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Notice also that quickly in the beginning of this letter, Peter affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ.

That Person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour. From the very outset of his letter, Peter affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ. “God” and “our Saviour” are not two different Persons; they describe one Person, Jesus Christ. Paul used a similar expression in and 3:4.

“God” and “our Savior” here do not refer to different Persons of the godhead but instead describe one Person, Jesus Christ.

And so here, we have one of the few verses in the New Testament where Jesus is explicitly called “God.”
Here, therefore, we have one of the few verses in the New Testament where Jesus is explicitly called “God.”
Paul used similar expressions when he said, “God our Savior” in and also later in .
Paul used similar expressions when he said, “God our Savior” in and also later in .
Do not read below:
In their vocabulary, it meant “deliverance from trouble,” particularly “deliverance from the enemy.”
Titus 2:10 NKJV
not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
Peter reminded his readers that Jesus Christ is the Saviour by repeating this exalted title in ; ; , . A savior is “one who brings salvation,” and the word salvation was familiar to the people of that day. In their vocabulary, it meant “deliverance from trouble,” particularly “deliverance from the enemy.” It also carried the idea of “health and safety.” A physician was looked on as a savior because he helped deliver the body from pain and limitations. A victorious general was a savior because he delivered the people from defeat. Even a wise official was a savior because he kept the nation in order and delivered it from confusion and decay.
Titus 3:4 NKJV
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
It also carried the idea of “health and safety.” A physician was looked on as a savior because he helped deliver the body from pain and limitations. A victorious general was a savior because he delivered the people from defeat. Even a wise official was a savior because he kept the nation in order and delivered it from confusion and decay.
It requires little insight to see how the title “Saviour” applies to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is, indeed, the Great Physician who heals the heart from the sickness of sin. He is the victorious Conqueror who has defeated our enemies—sin, death, Satan, and hell—and is leading us in triumph (). He is “God and our Saviour” (), “our Lord and Saviour” (), and “the Lord and Saviour” (). In order to be our Saviour, He had to give His life on the cross and die for the sins of the world.
He is our God … it’s the Greek word θεός theos which speaks of the One Supreme Supernatural being, Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
This is not Peter saying that Jesus Christ has taken the place of Jehovah, God.
Instead, it points to the fact that Jesus, along with the Father, (and the Holy Spirit) is God.
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Now, looking at verse 2, we recognize a salutation that is frequently in the New Testament letters.

“Grace” and “peace” appear frequently in these New Testament salutations. But only here in a New Testament letter opening do we find a prayer that “knowledge” might be “yours in abundance.” “Knowledge” is a key idea in the letter.

But only here do we find the prayer that grace and peace be “multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

“Grace” and “peace” appear frequently in these New Testament salutations. But only here in a New Testament letter opening do we find a prayer that “knowledge” might be “yours in abundance.” “Knowledge” is a key idea in the letter.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
And as we observed earlier, “knowledge” is a key idea in the letter.
But remember that Peter uses knowledge to mean “A living participation in the truth.”
This active knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, Peter will contend is the foundation for the Christian’s experience.
In a similar vein, in chapter 2, he claims that the fate of the false teachers’ is all the more serious because they had come to know Christ but had then turned away from that knowledge.
In a similar vein, he claims that the false teachers’ fate will be all the more serious because they had come to know Christ but had then turned away from that knowledge (2:20–21).
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Our Lord Jesus Christ has three “spiritual commodities” that can be secured from nobody else: righteousness, grace, and peace. When you trust Him as your Saviour, His righteousness becomes your righteousness and you are given a right standing before God (). You could never earn this righteousness; it is the gift of God to those who believe. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” ().

Now, 3 more words to consider in these first 3 verses … (a) righteousness (of Christ), (b) grace, and (c) peace.

The RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ is very important to us.
That is because when we trust in Him as Lord and Savior, His righteousness becomes our righteousness and we are given a right standing before God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
You could never earn or merit this righteousness; it is the gift of God to those who believe.
As Paul wrote to Titus:
Titus 3:5 NKJV
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Titus
The next word is GRACE.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” ().
Very often we confuse God’s grace and God’s mercy.
The meanings behind these 2 things are similar, yet they are not the same.
Mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve … deliverance from judgment.
Grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it … extending kindness to the unworthy.
Mercy is deliverance from judgment.
In chapter 5 of his first letter, Peter says that Our God is “The God of all grace.”
Do not read below:
God in His mercy does not give us what we do deserve; God in His grace gives us what we don’t deserve. Our God is “the God of all grace” (), and He channels that grace to us through Jesus Christ ().
1 Peter 5:10 NKJV
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
And God channels that grace to us through Jesus Christ.
We find this expressed in the first few paragraphs of John’s Gospel when he wrote, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”
).
Do not read below:
John 1:16 NKJV
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
John 1:14–16 NKJV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
And that brings us to the third word … peace.
The result of this experience is peace, peace with God () and the peace of God (). In fact, God’s grace and peace are “multiplied” toward us as we walk with Him and trust His promises.
The result of this experience of receiving God’s grace through Jesus Christ is peace … peace with God () and the peace of God ().
Paul wrote in Romans 5:
Romans 5:1 NKJV
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
And , we are told that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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“Grace and peace” is a salutation that is frequently in the New Testament letters.

In fact, God’s grace and peace are “multiplied” toward us as we walk with Him and trust His promises.

But only here do we find the prayer that grace and peace be “multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

And as we observed earlier, “knowledge” is a key idea in the letter.
But remember that Peter uses knowledge to mean “A living participation in the truth.”
This active knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord, Peter will contend is the foundation for the Christian’s experience.
And, in chapter 2, he claims that the fate of the false teachers’ is all the more serious because they had come to know Christ but had then turned away from that knowledge.

v3

The Christian life begins with saving faith, faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

But when you know Jesus Christ personally, you also experience God’s power, and this power produces “life and godliness.”

“All things that pertain to life and godliness” hints at spiritual maturity given to us by God’s divine power.
And, yes, there is much spiritual growth in the life of a believer from the moment of salvation to the day he is with the LORD.
But the other side of this is that God gives us everything we need in order to live godly lives.
As the Bible says in , “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Do not read below:
The unsaved sinner is dead and only Christ can raise him from the dead.
Ephesians 2:1–3 NKJV
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
John 5:24 NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
The unsaved sinner is dead.
Only Christ can raise him from the dead.
And when you are born into the family of God by faith in Christ, you are born complete.
Look at that phrase … “All things that pertain to life and godliness.”
The word “pertain” is not original to the text, but was added by scribes to add clarity.
It’s a vestige of a middle english word that meant “belonging to.”
An more literal (and modern) version of this verse still adds a word for clarity but more appropriately for our times adds the word, “necessary.”
2 Peter 1:3 LEB
because his divine power has bestowed on us all things that are necessary for life and godliness, through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence of character,
The phrase, “all things that are necessary for life and godliness” hints at spiritual maturity given to us by God’s divine power.
It hints at spiritual maturity given to us by God’s divine power.
And, yes, there is much spiritual growth in the life of a believer from the moment of salvation to the day he is with the LORD.
We’ve talked before about the doctrine of progressive sanctification … that because positionally, we have been set apart to the family of God, we are to be increasingly set apart in our daily lives.
Because we have been set apart we are to be increasingly set apart in our daily lives
Positionally, no believer is more sanctified than any other believer.
And we don’t do that on our own.
An early commentator on this letter from the 11th century, Theophylact of Ohrid, wrote of this verse, “God gives us everything we need in order to live godly lives.”
And, of course, this might remind us of what the Bible says in “You are complete in Him.”
Do not read below:
Colossians 2:10 NKJV
and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

God gives you everything you will ever need “for life and godliness.”

God gives you everything you will ever need “for life and godliness.”

Nothing has to be added.

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This is important to what Peter will say later in this letter … in that the false teachers claimed they had “special doctrines” that would add something to the lives of Peter’s readers.

Does that sound anything like the myriad of Christian books today?
The false teachers claimed that they had a “special doctrine” that would add something to the lives of Peter’s readers, but Peter knew that nothing could be added.

Peter, however, knew that nothing could be added.

That’s not to say there is no growing that takes place … spiritual growth as we live out our lives in Christ.
But everything has been provided to the believer by God to do that.
God never has to call back any of His “models” because something is lacking or faulty.
Just as a baby has a definite genetic structure that determines how he will grow, so the believer is “genetically structured” to experience “glory and virtue.”
One day the believer will be like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:
Romans 8:29 NKJV
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
And what was written in 1 John 3:
1 John 3:2 NKJV
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
In chapter 5 of 1 Peter we read that we have been “called … to His eternal glory,” and we shall share that glory when Jesus Christ returns and takes His people to heaven.
Do not read below:
1 Peter 5:10 NKJV
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
But in 1 Peter, he also wrote that we have been saved so that we might, “Proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Do not read below:
1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
When we are with the LORD, we will be like our Lord Jesus.
we are also “called … to virtue.”
“show forth the praises [virtues] of Him who hath called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” ().
We should not wait until we get to heaven to become like Jesus Christ! In our character and conduct, we should reveal His beauty and grace today.
But, for now, in our character and conduct, we should reveal His wonder and grace to the world through the testimony of our lives.

v4

God has given us all that is necessary for life and godliness.

He has also given us His Word by which we may develop this life and godliness.

These promises are not only great (megas) … they are exceedingly great μέγιστος megistos which is the superlative of megas … meaning super great or magnificent.
These promises are exceedingly great because they come from an exceedingly great God.
And they lead to an exceedingly great life.
And, of course, they are also precious … because their value is beyond calculation.
Can you imagine if the Word of God was lost to us … and yet there is no need because He has preserved His Word through thousands of years for us.
Indeed, the Word of God testifies within itself and by it’s own divine preservation that it is eternal.
In his first letter, Peter wrote, “The Word of the Lord is eternal”
Do not read below:
1 Peter 1:25 NKJV
But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
And the Old Testament also speaks many times of the eternality of God’s Word.
This is good news because the Word of God is irreplaceable to the child of God.
If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it.
When the sinner believes on Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to pass on the life and nature of God within.
If we lost the Word of God, there would be no way to replace it.
Peter must have liked the word precious, for he wrote about the “precious faith” (; cf. ), the “precious promises” (), the “precious blood” (), the precious stone (, ), and the precious Saviour ().
When the sinner believes on Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to impart the life and nature of God within. A baby shares the nature of its parents, and a person born of God shares the divine nature of God. The lost sinner is dead, but the Christian is alive because he shares the divine nature. The lost sinner is decaying because of his corrupt nature, but the Christian can experience a dynamic life of godliness because he has God’s divine nature within. Mankind is under the bondage of corruption (), but the believer shares the freedom and growth that is a part of possessing the divine nature.
In sharing by faith in God’s nature, we measure divine truths in accordance with the magnificence of God’s own testimony of Himself
and in sharing by faith in God’s nature, we measure divine truths in accordance with the magnificence of God’s own testimony of himself
When God blesses us, he changes who we are … whatever we were by nature is transformed by the gift of his Holy Spirit
The lost sinner is dead, but the Christian is alive because he shares the divine nature. The lost sinner is decaying because of his corrupt nature, but the Christian can experience a dynamic life of godliness because he has God’s divine nature within. Mankind is under the bondage of corruption (), but the believer shares the freedom and growth that is a part of possessing the divine nature.
In other words, the lost sinner is dead, but the Christian is alive because he shares the divine nature.
Paul wrote to the Colossians:
Colossians 2:13 NKJV
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
While mankind is under the bondage of corruption, the believer shares the freedom and growth that is a part of possessing the divine nature.
The lost sinner is decaying because of his corrupt nature, but the Christian can experience a dynamic life of godliness because he has God’s divine nature within. Mankind is under the bondage of corruption (), but the believer shares the freedom and growth that is a part of possessing the divine nature.
Romans 8:21 NKJV
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Romans 8:21 NKJV
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
In other words, nature determines appetite.
Nature determines appetite. The pig wants slop and the dog will even eat its own vomit (), but the sheep desires green pastures. Nature also determines behavior. An eagle flies because it has an eagle’s nature and a dolphin swims because that is the nature of the dolphin. Nature determines environment: squirrels climb trees, moles burrow underground, and trout swim in the water. Nature also determines association: lions travel in prides, sheep in flocks, and fish in schools.
The pig wants slop.
And Peter will say in chapter 2 that the dog will even eat its own vomit.
Do not read below:
2 Peter 2:22 NKJV
But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
But the greater point is that the sheep desires green pastures.
It is self evident that nature determines behavior.
Nature also determines behavior.
Pigs do what pigs do.
Dogs do what dogs do.
Eagles do what eagles do.
Sheep do what sheep do.
It’s their nature.
But lets also not forget that nature determines environment.
Eagles live in nests.
Pigs don’t usually climb trees, but squirrels do.
And you will find fish doing fishy things in the water.
But nature also determines who you spend time with.
You will find ravens traveling together in a murder.
Lions hang out together in prides.
Sheep flock together.
Fish are found in schools.
And what I’m getting at is this … if nature dictates appetite, and we have God’s nature within us, then we ought to have an appetite for that which is of God.
And our behavior ought to be like that of the Father.
And we ought to want to be in the kind of “spiritual environment” that is suited to our nature.
We ought to associate with that which is true to our nature … “not being unequally yoked” so that we can live a God honoring, fruit bearing, godly life.
You see … part of this has to do with understanding salvation.
Many Christians think of salvation as “eternal life.”
But everyone will live forever … some in heaven and some suffering horribly for their sins in hell.
So, that’s not salvation.
Essentially, salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering.
But salvation concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance … and in that way it concerns eternal destiny.
To understand salvation you need to understand what you are saved from.
In the Christian doctrine of salvation, we are saved from “wrath.”
Romans 5:9 NKJV
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
The wrath we are saved from is God’s judgment of sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians
(; ).
Our sin has separated us from God.
And the Bible tells us in that the consequence of sin is death.
Do not read below:
Romans 6:23 NKJV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The world is under wrath … and so, under the judgment of God.
But the believer is saved out of that judgment.
Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves the removal of sin.
God performs the removal of sin through His Son Jesus Christ.

And to those He saves, He also passes His divine nature.

And that is important to us at this very moment because we possess this divine nature, we have “completely escaped” the defilement and decay in this present evil world.
If we feed the new nature the nourishment of the Word, then we will have little interest in the garbage of the world.
If we feed the new nature the nourishment of the Word, then we will have little interest in the garbage of the world.
But if, as Paul says, we “make provision for the flesh” (), our sinful nature will lust after what Peter calls later in this chapter, the “old sins” and we will disobey God.
Do not read below:
Romans 13:14 NKJV
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
2 Peter 1:9 NKJV
For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Simply put … and we’ll leave with this one today … Godly living is the result of cultivating the new nature within.

What is the importance of what we have learned this morning in relation to false teachers and false doctrines?
Well, we need to be able to recognize false teachers, and be able to recognize true doctrine verses man-made.
To do that, we need to understand what it means to be born into God’s family and to have God’s nature within.
People who try to live “like Christ” on the outside, but lack this divine nature on the inside, are deceived and defeated.
And as we will eventually see in chapter 2, these counterfeit believers live as if they are Christians but have never received the new nature.
So then, in understanding these things we are better able to discern.
This idea will be important to us as we continue on in our study over the next few weeks.
Let’s pray.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for this time we have had together worshipping You and studying Your Word. We thank you that You are faithful and Your mercy endures forever. You are our faithful Creator … help us to commit ourselves to Your faithfulness. Increase our love for one another and for all, establish us in all things. Keep our minds and our hands from evil and protect us from the deceptions of our enemy the devil. Thank You for the trials that You graciously see us and grow us through. May You be glorified in our trials. Thank You for being our Great High Priest. Lord, we place ourselves before you to do Your will. Lead us in victory, and use us to spread knowledge of Jesus Christ to the unsaved world.
Where there is life, there must be growth. The new birth is not the end; it is the beginning. God gives His children all that they need to live godly lives, but His children must apply themselves and be diligent to use the “means of grace” He has provided. Spiritual growth is not automatic. It requires cooperation with God and the application of spiritual diligence and discipline. “Work out your own salvation … For it is God which worketh in you” ().
Peter listed seven characteristics of the godly life, but we must not think of them as seven beads on a string or even seven stages of development. The word translated “add” really means “to supply generously.” In other words, we develop one quality as we exercise another quality. These graces relate to each other the way the branch relates to the trunk and the twigs to the branch. Like the “fruit of the Spirit” (), these qualities grow out of life and out of a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not enough for the Christian to “let go and let God,” as though spiritual growth were God’s work alone. Literally, Peter wrote, “Make every effort to bring alongside.” The Father and the child must work together.
The first quality of character Peter listed was virtue. We met this word in , and it basically means “excellence.” To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.” When anything in nature fulfills its purpose, that is “virtue—moral excellence.” The word was also used to describe the power of the gods to do heroic deeds. The land that produces crops is “excellent” because it is fulfilling its purpose. The tool that works correctly is “excellent” because it is doing what a tool is supposed to do.
A Christian is supposed to glorify God because he has God’s nature within; so, when he does this, he shows “excellence” because he is fulfilling his purpose in life. True virtue in the Christian life is not “polishing” human qualities, no matter how fine they may be, but producing divine qualities that make the person more like Jesus Christ.
Faith helps us develop virtue, and virtue helps us develop knowledge (). The word translated “knowledge” in means “full knowledge” or “knowledge that is growing.” The word used here suggests practical knowledge or discernment. It refers to the ability to handle life successfully. It is the opposite of being “so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly good!” This kind of knowledge does not come automatically. It comes from obedience to the will of God (). In the Christian life, you must not separate the heart and the mind, character and knowledge.
Temperance is the next quality on Peter’s list of spiritual virtues, and it means self-control. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (). “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls” (). Paul in his letters often compared the Christian to an athlete who must exercise and discipline himself if he ever hopes to win the prize (; ; ).
Patience is the ability to endure when circumstances are difficult. Self-control has to do with handling the pleasures of life, while patience relates primarily to the pressures and problems of life. (The ability to endure problem people is “long-suffering.”) Often, the person who “gives in” to pleasures is not disciplined enough to handle pressures either, so he “gives up.”
Patience is not something that develops automatically; we must work at it. gives us the right approach. We must expect trials to come, because without trials we could never learn patience. We must, by faith, let our trials work for us and not against us, because we know that God is at work in our trials. If we need wisdom in making decisions, God will grant that wisdom if we ask Him. Nobody enjoys trials, but we do enjoy the confidence we can have in trials that God is at work, causing everything to work together for our good and His glory.
Godliness simply means “God-likeness.” In the original Greek, this word meant “to worship well.” It described the man who was right in his relationship with God and with his fellowman. Perhaps the words reverence and piety come closer to defining this term. It is that quality of character that makes a person distinctive. He lives above the petty things of life, the passions and pressures that control the lives of others. He seeks to do the will of God and, as he does, he seeks the welfare of others.
We must never get the idea that godliness is an impractical thing, because it is intensely practical. The godly person makes the kinds of decisions that are right and noble. He does not take an easy path simply to avoid either pain or trial. He does what is right because it is right and because it is the will of God.
Brotherly kindness (philadelphia in the Greek) is a virtue that Peter must have acquired the hard way, for the disciples of our Lord often debated and disagreed with one another. If we love Jesus Christ, we must also love the brethren. We should practice an “unfeigned [sincere] love of the brethren” () and not just pretend that we love them. “Let brotherly love continue” (). “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” (). The fact that we love our brothers and sisters in Christ is one evidence that we have been born of God ().
But there is more to Christian growth than brotherly love; we must also have the sacrificial love that our Lord displayed when He went to the cross. The kind of love (“charity”) spoken of in is agape love, the kind of love that God shows toward lost sinners. This is the love that is described in , the love that the Holy Spirit produces in our hearts as we walk in the Spirit (; ). When we have brotherly love, we love because of our likenesses to others; but with agape love, we love in spite of the differences we have.
It is impossible for fallen human nature to manufacture these seven qualities of Christian character. They must be produced by the Spirit of God. To be sure, there are unsaved people who possess amazing self-control and endurance, but these virtues point to them and not to the Lord. They get the glory. When God produces the beautiful nature of His Son in a Christian, it is God who receives the praise and glory.
Because we have the divine nature, we can grow spiritually and develop this kind of Christian character. It is through the power of God and the precious promises of God that this growth takes place. The divine “genetic structure” is already there: God wants us to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (). The life within will reproduce that image if we but diligently cooperate with God and use the means He has lavishly given us.
And the amazing thing is this: as the image of Christ is reproduced in us, the process does not destroy our own personalities. We still remain uniquely ourselves!
One of the dangers in the church today is imitation. People have a tendency to become like their pastor, or like a church leader, or perhaps like some “famous Christian.” As they do this, they destroy their own uniqueness while failing to become like Jesus Christ. They lose both ways! Just as each child in a family resembles his parents and yet is different, so each child in God’s family comes more and more to resemble Jesus Christ and yet is different. Parents don’t duplicate themselves, they reproduce themselves; and wise parents permit their children to be themselves.
v8
How can the believer be certain that he is growing spiritually? Peter gave three evidences of true spiritual growth.
Christian character is an end in itself, but it is also a means to an end. The more we become like Jesus Christ, the more the Spirit can use us in witness and service. The believer who is not growing is idle (“barren”) and unfruitful. His knowledge of Jesus Christ is producing nothing practical in his life. The word translated “idle” also means “ineffective.” The people who fail to grow usually fail in everything else!
Some of the most effective Christians I have known are people without dramatic talents and special abilities, or even exciting personalities; yet God has used them in a marvelous way. Why? Because they are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. They have the kind of character and conduct that God can trust with blessing. They are fruitful because they are faithful; they are effective because they are growing in their Christian experience.
These beautiful qualities of character do exist “within us” because we possess the divine nature. We must cultivate them so that they increase and produce fruit in and through our lives.
v9
Nutritionists tell us that diet can certainly affect vision and this is especially true in the spiritual realm. The unsaved person is in the dark because Satan has blinded his mind (). A person has to be born again before his eyes are opened and he can see the kingdom of God (). But after our eyes are opened, it is important that we increase our vision and see all that God wants us to see. The phrase cannot see afar off is the translation of a word that means “shortsighted.” It is the picture of somebody closing or squinting his eyes, unable to see at a distance.
Nutritionists tell us that diet can certainly affect vision and this is especially true in the spiritual realm. The unsaved person is in the dark because Satan has blinded his mind (). A person has to be born again before his eyes are opened and he can see the kingdom of God (). But after our eyes are opened, it is important that we increase our vision and see all that God wants us to see. The phrase cannot see afar off is the translation of a word that means “shortsighted.” It is the picture of somebody closing or squinting his eyes, unable to see at a distance.
There are some Christians who see only their own church, or their own denomination, but who fail to see the greatness of God’s family around the world. Some believers see the needs at home but have no vision for a lost world. Someone asked Phillips Brooks what he would do to revive a dead church, and he replied, “I would preach a missionary sermon and take up a collection!” Jesus admonished His disciples, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” ().
Some congregations today are like the church at Laodicea: they are proud that they are “rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and do not realize that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (). It is a tragedy to be “spiritually nearsighted,” but it is even a greater tragedy to be blind!
If we forget what God has done for us, we will not be excited to share Christ with others. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we have been purged and forgiven! God has opened our eyes! Let’s not forget what He has done! Rather, let’s cultivate gratitude in our hearts and sharpen our spiritual vision. Life is too brief and the needs of the world too great for God’s people to be walking around with their eyes closed!
If you walk around with your eyes closed, you will stumble! But the growing Christian walks with confidence because he knows he is secure in Christ. It is not our profession of faith that guarantees that we are saved; it is our progression in the faith that gives us that assurance. The person who claims to be a child of God but whose character and conduct give no evidence of spiritual growth is deceiving himself and heading for judgment.
Peter pointed out that “calling” and “election” go together. The same God who elects His people also ordains the means to call them. The two must go together, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation … Whereunto He called you by our Gospel” (). We do not preach election to unsaved people; we preach the Gospel. But God uses that Gospel to call sinners to repentance, and then those sinners discover that they were chosen by God!
Peter also pointed out that election is no excuse for spiritual immaturity or for lack of effort in the Christian life. Some believers say, “What is going to be is going to be. There is nothing we can do.” But Peter admonishes us to “be diligent.” This means “make every effort.” (He used this same verb in .) While it is true that God must work in us before we can do His will (), it is also true that we must be willing for God to work, and we must cooperate with Him. Divine election must never be an excuse for human laziness.
The Christian who is sure of his election and calling will never “stumble” but will prove by a consistent life that he is truly a child of God. He will not always be on the mountaintop, but he will always be climbing higher. If we do “these things” (the things listed in , cf. v. 8), if we display Christian growth and character in our daily lives, then we can be sure we are converted and will one day be in heaven.
In fact, the growing Christian can look forward to “an abundant entrance” into the eternal kingdom! The Greeks used this phrase to describe the welcome given Olympic winners when they returned home. Every believer will arrive in heaven, but some will have a more glorious welcome than others. Alas, some believers “shall be saved, yet so as by fire” ().
The word ministered in is the same as the word add in , and is the translation of a Greek word that means “to bear the expenses of a chorus.” When the Greek theatrical groups presented their dramas, somebody had to underwrite the expenses, which were very great. The word came to mean “to make lavish provision.” If we make lavish provision to grow spiritually (), then God will make lavish provision for us when we enter heaven!
Just think of the blessings that the growing Christian enjoys: fruitfulness, vision, security—and heaven’s best! All this and heaven too!
The Christian life begins with faith, but that faith must lead to spiritual growth—unless it is dead faith. But dead faith is not saving faith (). Faith leads to growth and growth leads to practical results in life and service. People who have this kind of Christian experience are not likely to fall prey to apostate false teachers.
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