Saturday, April 13, 2013

2 Peter 1:1-4

2 Peter 1:1–4
1 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: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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, 4 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.

Vs. 1 The Apostle Peter in his last written work to the churches (possibly AD 66-67) introduces himself here as both a bondservant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. In his first epistle Peter simply introduced himself as an apostle to the churches of the Dispersion. But here in his last letter there seems a deliberate effort on his part to emphasize his being Christ's servant, and that a bondservant; that is one bound to the Lord Jesus Christ's earthly service. Louw-Nida states of this word that it is: "pertaining to a state of being completely controlled by someone or something—‘subservient to, controlled by." Now we now that the Lord Jesus binds no one to His service. But rather bids all to come to Him, and believe in Him, and willfully follow Him in discipleship. And that is what the Apostle Peter is indicating when he says that he is Jesus Christ's bondservant. His person and life is now inseparably wrap up in Jesus Christ's Person and Life. For apostleship speaks of ones Christ given authority, but bondservice speaks of ones heart. That is, because he believes, he has willfully submitted himself to the Lord's purposes for his life. And so Peter goes on to say: "To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ".
Now the Apostle Peter's emphasis here again is not on himself, as if in being chosen by Christ to be His apostle that his faith was, or somehow is, superior to anyone else's. Nor does Peter emphasize his own pedigree, righteousness, or anything else that may be attributed to him, that through those things he attained to what God has given Him in Christ (consider Phil 3:7-9). Rather the Apostle Peter's emphasis here is on the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ who was first crucified for his and our sins remission. And thus only by repentance towards God and faith in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ did Peter receive remission of all his sins and everlasting life. And thus he can boldly assert that he, like all who likewise believe in Jesus (regardless of the generation in which we believe) have all attained to the same like precious faith! For that is what brings us into a personal relationship with God, and thus remission of all our sins and everlasting life. Jesus Christ crucified in our place so that His righteousness might be imputed to us as well, the moment we believe in Him (consider 2 Cor 5:21).  

Vs. 2 And so having acknowledged our God and Saviors Righteousness, the Apostle Peter extends grace to us all through it, who likewise have believed and received the love of the truth In Christ. "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" And so Peter pronounces not only a blessing of peace and grace on us all. But also gives us a "formula" if you will on how God's grace and peace will be multiplied to us, and that is as we grow in our knowledge of God our Father and of Jesus our Lord, God will not only transform our minds about Himself, ourselves and others. But also as we live out those truths, our whole persons will be transformed by them. And that is one sure way we as believers can grow in grace and peace amongst ourselves and with others. Both believe the truths and promises in God's Word and seek to live them out.

Vs. 3-4 Having pronounced a gracious blessing of grace and peace upon us all who believe, the Apostle Peter now moves into the practical realm and reality of our faith. That is just how we are to live it all out? And that is by God's Divine Power. For as Peter states here it is through His divine power that he has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through knowledge of Him (vs. 3). And though the Holy Spirit is not implicitly mentioned here, God's Divine Power comes to us by the Spirit of God. Who not only initially transforms our persons from spiritual death to Spiritual life. But it is He who is progressively transforming our inner persons. And so He is also empowering us to live out lives that reflect the fullness of Jesus Christ's life within us. For it is the Holy Spirit who is the Divine Power Source if you will, who empowers us to live lives of Godliness. For we have been called by both glory and virtue, and so our lives should now be lived to bring both glory to God, but also we should live lives that are filled with virtue. For God's Divine Power is not given to us so that we simply might try to manifest spiritual gifts or giftedness (that was one of the errors at Corinth, see 1 Cor 12-14). Rather it is given to us so that we all might live life as Jesus Christ's' disciples abundantly, richly, and free. For in being freed from the tyranny of sin and servitude to the law, we are all now to be vessels of God that are sanctified for Jesus Christ's glory and service. And thus be a people who not only give thanks to God in all things but also through which Jesus Christ's life and power can work mightily for the manifestation and glorification of His Person to all, so that all might believe. For it is through God's Person and knowledge of Him in His Word that we have been given exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (vs. 4). Now God's promises did not come to us because we, or those in the preceding centuries before us, pleaded with God for them. God's Promises came to us because of God's love for us. Who loving us, irrespective of anything about us, and seeing and fully understanding the plight of humanity, indeed all of creation, when sin entered the world and Satan became the ruler of it. And so God understanding all our end if left permanently separated from Him, with an eye on the future of His redeeming us and creation from eternal destruction and ruin, began to make them. First to Adam and Eve our biological forefathers (whom God promised would bring forth a Seed that would both crush Satan, as well as be the agent of their offspring's redemption), than to Noah (the one man in his wicked generation who found favor in the eyes of the Lord, and thus through him God spared us all annihilation, so that His promise would remain sure); than to Abraham (our Spiritual forefather, who because he believed God's promise, God accounted that to him as righteousness); than to the Patriarchs (Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) who though often tried and tested embraced God's promises and look expectantly for them; than Moses, the man of God whom God raised up to lead His people out of bondage and into the land promised to their forefathers. So that He could establish a nation for Himself there where He would bring forth the promised Seed. And finally as the time of God's fulfilling His promise drew near, the prophets who not only testified against all of the wickedness of God's people who had forsaken His covenant with Him, but also all of the wickedness in the earth, and thus God's wrath and finial judgment against it all. But also while in the midst of those dark days they foresaw and testified of the Day of Redemption when God through His Chosen and Anointed One, His Son Jesus Christ would make the everlasting atonement for both theirs and all our sins (Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53; Zechariah 12:10). And thus usher in God's Everlasting Covenant by His broken body and shed blood on the cross; so that the Holy Spirit's regeneration and renewing could come first to those who believe in Jesus, and then all of creation with the Lord Jesus Christ's second coming and earthly reign. And so there will be a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, which will begin with the Lord Jesus Christ's return and His judgment on the unrepentant and unbelieving world (Rev 19-20). Then the Lord Jesus Christ shall reign over both a redeemed and renewed creation (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14) and there He will have and magnify a reign of Perpetual Peace and Prosperity with and for all who believed and followed Him in faith (Rev 21-22). And so the exceedingly great and precious promises of God are given to us with a goal of our sanctification in the mind, so that through them that we all who believe might become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. For it's unregenerate humanities insatiable appetites for violence, ungodliness and immorality that is the ruin of this world, and thus leaves it enslaved to the "god of this age." But we who believe in Jesus have escaped both Satan, and the ever increasing corruption that is in this world through lust. And so we who believe in Jesus have life rich and free and abundant now, because the life and Person of Jesus Christ is in us now, but also we have a eternal future and a glorious hope because of God's exceedingly great and precious promises given to us in Christ Jesus.  

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

Word Studies
Bondservant: Louw-Nida 37.3; Str 1400, 1401; GK 1528, 1529; TDNT 2.261

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