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The Purpose of Divine Grace

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2 Peter   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:52
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In a 2012 auction, the painting catalogue, Sotheby’s, sold an oil painting named Saint Jerome, attributed to the 16th-century artist Parmigianino, for $842,500. With care, the catalogue only ventured that the work was from the “circle of” Parmigianino– an idiom to convey that it was painted by an artist influenced by, and perhaps a pupil of, Parmigianino. But the entry also cited several experts who believed it was by Parmigianino himself.
The works were full of striking, scrupulous detail. On Jerome’s arm, for example, dozens of faint horizontal cracks have appeared; every so often, a clean, vertical split intersects them. In French canvases from the 18th century, cracks in paint tend to develop like spider webs; in Flemish panels, like tree bark. In Italian paintings of the Renaissance, the patterns resemble rows of untidy brickwork. On the Saint Jerome, the cracks match perfectly. Prof David Ekserdjian, one of the few art historians who doubted that the painting was a Parmigianino, said he just didn’t feel the prickle of recognition that scholars claim as their gift: the intimacy with an artist that they liken to our ability to spot a friend in a crowd. “But I have to be frank, I didn’t look at it and say: ‘Oh, that’s a forgery.’”
Peter is writing this 2nd letter in order to warn the flock of the error of lawless, wicked, false teachers. Peter takes two primary approaches to safe-guard these local church congregations against false teacher- against forgeries of the truth. Much of the letter is given to direct statements of warning against being led astray by the error of the wicked.
2 Peter 3:17 KJV 1900
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
But that is not the way Peter starts his letter. He begins the job of protecting believers against error by first grounding them in the truth. Peter wanted these believers to be so familiar with the truth, so intimate with the truth, that they would be able to spot it like a friend in a crowd, or like a prickle of recognition.
2 Peter 3:18 KJV 1900
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Peter begins his argument against the false teachers, against the error of the wicked, by presenting in detail the truth.
Peter begins his letter by describing the purpose of divine grace.
Peter wanted these local church believers to understand, fully and completely, the wonderful purpose of God’s divine grace.
This was Peter’s first safeguard against error. Knowing the truth, knowing the purpose of God’s grace for their lives, so that they could pick it out like a close friend in a crowd.
So we must too be closely familiar with the wonderful purpose of God’s grace in our lives, so that we do not become led away by the error of the wicked.
What is the purpose of Divine Grace?
Peter gives us multiple truths that help us understand why God bestowed upon us His Divine Grace.

I. The purpose of divine grace is inextricably linked to the righteousness of Jesus Christ (v. 1)

In the introduction to the letter Peter begins his discussion of the salvation which these believers were blessed with. That salvation was by God’s grace and His grace is tied into the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

A. The divine gift of faith (v. 1a)

2 Peter 1:1 KJV 1900
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:
After naming himself as a servant or a slave and an apostle (official capacity) of Jesus Christ, Peter addresses his recipients. He does not address them in terms of their location like he did in I Peter.
1 Peter 1:1 KJV 1900
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Instead, here Peter addresses them as those who have obtained like precious faith with us.
The Greek verb, “obtained” is an interesting word. This word connotes the receiving of something by lot.

Zechariah obtained by lot the privilege of offering incense in the temple (Luke 1:9). Roman soldiers cast lots to see who would get Jesus’ garment (John 19:24). Judas was appointed to serve in an apostolic ministry (Acts 1:17). In each instance receiving something by lot is a gift that one receives.

Here Peter says to these believers in these local NT church, that they had been given, by the lot of the divine will, the gift of like precious faith in Jesus Christ.

Faith, which is necessary for salvation, is a divine gift. It cannot be produced by the mere will of human beings but must be received from God himself. He appointed, as it were by lot, that Peter’s readers would receive such faith.

We know that salvation is a gift given to us by God, in other words it is all a matter of God’s grace, but we do not often think of the fact that even the faith necessary to receive that salvation was indeed itself a divine gift of grace.
Romans 3:10–12 KJV 1900
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 3:27 KJV 1900
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
We cannot even boast of our faith, for faith is a divine gift of God. Salvation, from beginning to end, is all a matter of grace.

B. The equal value of faith (v. 1b)

2 Peter 1:1 KJV 1900
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:
Like precious faith- Only used here in the NT- equal, like, of the same kind/value, equal in honor
The regular members of these NT local church had, according to Peter (and by inspiration of the HS), a faith of the same kind as an apostle or a faith of equal standing with the apostles or a faith as precious as the faith of the apostles. Wow! Did you know that? Your faith is the same kind, it is on equal standing with, it is as precious as the faith of even the apostles? Why is that? Why is our faith equal in value or honor?
Our text says that we have like precious faith through what? The righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Our faith is equally precious because our faith is precious not because of who we are (whether we are talking about an apostle or the church janitor), our faith is equally precious because it has afforded to every one who believes the very righteousness of Jesus Christ. It is equal in honor and value because genuine faith in Christ produces in everyone the exact same genuine righteousness. Jesus Christ not only forgives you all your sin, but he credits you with His righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV 190021 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
When we are made to be the righteousness of God in Christ because of our faith, we are all given the full righteousness of Christ, and because we are all equally righteous in God’s eyes because of our faith- Peter can say to these dear church saints- we have obtained like precious faith! Wow! If you are in Christ you are equally as righteous as your pastor, as Missionary John Paton, Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, even the Apostle Peter- because the gift of divine faith bestowed upon you by God himself has with equal merit transferred to you the full righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. You have been made the the very righteousness of God in Him!
This is part of the purpose of divine grace. God graciously bestowed upon you the gift of faith, a faith that is the same kind of faith as the Apostles themselves, by the righteousness of Christ. God’s purpose in His grace is tied to His purpose of making you into the very likeness of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

C. The source of God’s saving righteousness (v. 1c)

2 Peter 1:1 KJV 1900
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:
The source of God’s saving righteousness is Jesus Christ.
The end of 2 Peter 1:1 is very significant theologically. The end of the verse states this:
Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Here is a case where having some knowledge of the original langue is very advantageous. There is a Greek rule that comes into play with this verse called the Grandville Sharp Rule.
In Greek, when two nouns are connected by kai (a Greek conjunction) and the article precedes only the first noun, there is a close connection between the two nouns.
THE God our AND Savior Jesus Christ
Here the definite article precedes only the first noun (God) and the two nouns are connected by a kai (AND). That means there is a close connection between the two nouns.
That means a proper translation of this text would read:
Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Why is this a theologically significant translation?
It affirms the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is both God and Savior. He is fully divine.
The other instance of this same rule is found in Titus 2:13
Titus 2:13 KJV 1900
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Again we have the same rule applying here so we could (and should) translate this verse as NASB
Titus 2:13 NASB95
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Again, we have a clear statement of the deity of Christ- He is both God and Savior.
Both Peter and Paul make that statement abundantly clear.
Our Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, is the very source of our righteousness. And the purpose of the divine grace of God is tied inextricably to that righteousness.
What is the purpose of Divine Grace?
Peter gives us multiple truths that help us understand why God bestowed upon us His Divine Grace.

II. The purpose of divine grace is inextricably linked to the knowledge of Jesus Christ (vv. 2-3)

The grace of God, and everything that He wants to accomplish in us, is tied directly to the knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

A. Knowledge of Jesus Christ produces grace multiplied (v. 2)

2 Peter 1:2 KJV 1900
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
Peter here in a prayer to God asks that grace and peace would be multiplied to these believers. God is the source of grace and peace. In other words the progress of these believers Christian lives was dependent upon God alone.
And this grace and peace abound through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. We attain grace and peace and they are added abundantly in our lives as a direct result of our knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. This I believe carries the idea of personal and relational knowledge. In other words a knowledge that leads to saving faith and thus a personal relationship with God. And it also includes a growing knowledge of God, an intellectual knowledge. Grace and peace abound when one knows God personally, relationally, and when one comes to know more about God in a deeper way throughout the process of progressive sanctification.

B. Knowledge of Jesus Christ is the means by which we receive life and godliness (v. 3)

2 Peter 1:3 KJV 1900
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:
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude 1. Divine Provision (1:3–4)

In v. 2 Peter prayed that grace and peace would abound in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. Verse 3 explains the resources believers have through knowing God. Those who know God have everything they need for life and godliness.

Everything that we need spiritually has been given to us-
Given- to present someth. as a gift or confer a benefit, prob. with some suggestion of formality, to bestow.
Jesus Christ, through His Divine power (and that is what it took to give us everything we need spiritually, it took nothing less than the very supernatural divine power of the Lord Jesus Christ- our God and Savior), through His Divine power, He bestowed upon us, He presented to us a gift, He conferred to us a benefit- (this is grace by the way), what did he bestow on us? EVERYTHING that we need for life and godliness!
Life- eschatological, eternal, spiritual life. This is at the heart of salvation.
John 1:4 KJV 1900
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 14:6 KJV 1900
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Through the divine power of the Son of God, the divine power of his shed blood on the cross, his burial, and his resurrection- we have been given as a gracious gift, everything we need for eternal life.
Godliness- awesome respect accorded to God, that transformation that takes places so that believers are morally perfected and made like God Himself.
The purpose of the divine power of Jesus Christ was not just to provide for us eternal life. His power is much more effectual that that- it also gifts to us EVERYTHING we need to become godly. To become morally perfect and made like God Himself. This is the potency of the divine power of Jesus Christ! God did not leave anything out- everything we need for life and godliness has been bestowed upon us through the divine power of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 KJV 1900
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Romans 8:31–32 KJV 1900
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
This is God’s plan, this is His purpose, this is His truth- the divine power of Jesus Christ was bestowed to us so that we would have everything we need for life and godliness.
The means by which this divine power is gifted to us is:
2 Peter 1:3 KJV 1900
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:
Through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.
Knowledge of Jesus Christ is the means by which we receive the gift of life and godliness grant to us by the divine power of the Son of God!
This is both a saving knowledge- faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. And a sanctifying knowledge- a growing personal relationship with Christ that progressively sanctifies us back into the image of our Savior.
Colossians 3:10 KJV 1900
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
The purpose of divine grace is inextricably linked to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the knowledge which is the means by which we receive everything we need for life and godliness, which is gifted to us by nothing less that the supernatural divine power of our God and Savior Jesus Christ! Wow!

III. The purpose of divine grace is inextricably linked to the calling of Jesus Christ (v. 4)

We have been called by the glory and excellence of our Savior, and in our calling God reveals His purpose for His grace.

A. What the calling of Jesus Christ granted us (v. 4a)

2 Peter 1:4 KJV 1900
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.
Whereby, or By these he has given (bestowed as a gift, same word as v. 3) to us exceeding great and precious promises.
What is the antecedent of the these? By what has Jesus bestowed to us his promises?
2 Peter 1:3 KJV 1900
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:
through the knowledge of Him that has called us
1). to glory and virtue (through)
2). textual variant (ἴδιος) one’s own, by his own glory and virtue.
So we have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness, through his divine power, and the we receive that power by means of the knowledge of the One who called us by His own glory and virtue
v. 4- Whereby, By these things, what things? the glory and virtue of Jesus Christ- He has bestowed to us his precious and magnificent promises.
The antecedent of these in v. 4 is most likely the glory and excellence of Jesus Christ that were also fundamental in our call to salvation.
We were called to a salvation relationship with God, by the glory and virtue of Jesus Christ.
Glory- this refers to Christ’s splendor and majesty as divine God. He is fully God and carries the fully weight of the glorious majesty, splendor, and power of Deity. Our call to salvation was made possible because of the Glory of Jesus Christ.
Virtue- This is the Divine moral excellence of Christ, focused especially on the beauty of his goodness.
Our call to salvation is only possible because of the glorious majestic power of our Savior and because of the divine moral excellent goodness. The beautiful holiness and righteousness of our Savior. This glory and excellence were fully on display at the cross where our morally excellent Savior in all of his divine goodness and righteousness took the place of filthy, stained, ruined sinners. The just died for the unjust, the perfect for the imperfect, the righteous for the unrighteous. And there could be no other way- only the death of One who possessed the beautiful goodness and moral excellence of God Himself could die in our place on Calvary.
This willful sacrifice by our Savior also highlights the glorious majesty of the power of Christ at the cross and later the resurrection. Christ, in giving his perfect life for our sins, and then in rising in victory over the grave, put on display His divine glory- His majesty and splendor.
And it was by these, by the glorious majestic power of Christ, and because of the divine moral excellent goodness of Christ that our Savior has bestowed to us exceeding great and precious promises.

B. Why the calling of Jesus Christ was granted to us (v. 4b)

2 Peter 1:4 KJV 1900
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.
1). So that, by them (exceeding great and precious promises), you may become partakers of the Divine nature.
That is believers are promised that they will be like God. Not that they will be God- we will not become divine. But we will be like Christ in that we will be morally perfected, we will share in the moral excellence that belongs to God. We will participate in the divine nature- in that we will become the righteousness of God IN CHRIST. Right now positionally, we are righteous in God’s sight, because we have been justified by Christ. We have been declared righteous. But one day we will be not only justified, but we will be glorified. We will practically become participants in the divine nature for we will be holy as He is holy.
1 John 3:2 KJV 1900
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
2). Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through or by lusts. What is the corruption? It is sin. Sin is what corrupts everything. Sin is brought about through or by lusts and has corrupted, has caused everything to be inwardly depraved. But by the exceeding great and precious promises given to us by the calling of the one who is glorious and excellent- we will participate in the divine nature, and thus we will also escape the corruption, the inward depravity of sin. We are set free from the wrath of God for our sin, and one day the very presence of sin will be removed.
Revelation 21:3–4 KJV 1900
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
This is the purpose of divine grace. This is what God wants to accomplish. He wants to transform you into the image of Christ by causing you to participate in the divine nature, and He wants to give you eternal life forever free from the corruption of sin. Christ has already come and died and risen again to provide the that which is necessary for your salvation-
Divine righteousness, Divine power, Divine calling, Divine promises- so that you might be a partaker of the Divine nature. He is also coming back again- to fulfill the ultimate purpose of his Divine grace- to dwell with you in a kingdom that is forever free from the corruption of sin through lusts.
Folks this is the very purpose of God’s divine grace! And you must know it, you must know the truth intimately so that you can spot the truth where ever you go. Like the prickle of recognition on the back of your neck, or like being able to spot an old friend in a crowd- you must know the truth so that you are not deceived by error.
Later on:
2 Peter 3:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
Where is the PROMISE? of his coming
What is Peter saying here in Chapter 1?
2 Peter 1:4 KJV 1900
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.
Why do false teacher doubt the promise of Christ’s coming? So they can walk after their own lusts!
Why did Christ give to us exceeding great and precious promises?
So that by these we may be partakes of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through what? lust.
False teacher want you to doubt the promise of God so that you can live for you lusts. God wants you to be confident in His promises so you can escape earthly lusts.
2 Peter 3:13 KJV 1900
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Are you living according to the purpose of God’s divine grace?
Are you allowing yourself to be deceived by error from the truth? Are you living after, are you walking according to your own lusts? Or are you dwelling in righteousness?
Are you so familiar with the truth- with the purpose of divine grace that you could spot a forgery, even a good forgery, a mile a way?
2 Peter 3:17–18 KJV 1900
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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