Christ, Conforming, Creator, examine yourself, Faith, God, Holiness, image of Jesus, Jesus Christ, Knowledge, Lord Jesus Christ, precious faith, righteousness of God, Simon Peter, truth of the matter, Understanding, virtue, Wisdom, Worship
2 Peter 1:1 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:
As I read this passage a phrase caught my attention- “like precious faith”.
Peter is introducing his letter indicating the audience for which it is intended, “them that have obtained like precious faith with us”. All that Peter is writing in this letter is to be heard, received, and implemented by those who have obtained, been given, the same faith Peter himself received; like precious faith, or faith of equal value, or even better- faith of equal standing.
Who are these who have obtained this faith? These are them who obtain faith through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, they who have made Jesus their Lord and Savior. The ones who have received this like precious faith are them who have heard the Word of God and received it. Peter speaks of those few who have recognized their sinful condition and confessed their awful state before a Holy God. This is the faith obtained by them who have repented in Godly sorrow and cast themselves before Christ and His mercy- surrendering all to Christ, being then covered by His righteousness. Jesus Christ, Him who knew no sin, made to be sin on our behalf paid the full charge of the penalty of our sin, bearing the complete wrath of God upon the tree… This entrance into fellowship with God is the only one through which we may enter, it is through the righteousness of Jesus that we are given good standing before God. It is through this righteousness that Peter tells us we are given the faith that is equal to his own.
A faith equal to his? This Peter who lived with Jesus in the flesh, who spoke with Him, ate with Him and witnessed His miracles? Faith like Peter’s who himself being filled with the Holy Ghost preached before the very men who crucified Christ and saw them repent under the power of God? This Peter who prayed and men were healed, the same man that when his shadow fell upon the sick they were made whole? The faith that we now posses is of equal privilege and standing as his?
Why then do I not see the same things occurring in my life as occurred in his?
The second and third verses help with this.
2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 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:
We have determined that our faith comes through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Now here we read that grace, and peace, and everything needed not only to live, but to live godly lives, comes through the very knowledge of God. All that we need to live life and to live a life filled with the presence and power of God comes through our knowledge of, or our knowing God.
Godliness: living in right relationship with God, living in right worship, right devotion towards God. Showing dependence upon and submission to God, a life filled with God is a life of gratitude and obedience towards God.
Through the knowledge of…
Scripture in many places outlines for us knowledge. We are told in multiple places how to come to knowledge. First, what is knowledge?
- Knowledge: Clear and certain perception of truth.
How do we come to obtain knowledge?
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The beginning of knowledge is acknowledge God. And to recognize our place before this Awesome, Holy God. The entrance into knowledge is to submit to His authority, to surrender to His will. To reverence (fear) God.
When we begin to seek after knowledge in scripture we find another term used as well, wisdom.
- Wisdom: The right use of knowledge.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
We soon discover that wisdom too emanates from God. We read in the very first book of the Bible, the first verse; Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. This is God revealing Himself to man, it is knowledge offered to us by Him. If this knowledge is received wisdom will then enter in and cause us to use this knowledge correctly and show reverence and awe towards the Creator.
There is however, an additional step in this process.
- Understanding: Comprehension of knowledge.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Once we are given Knowledge and Wisdom does her work, then Understanding unfolds into our lives. Look back at Job 28:28, “and to depart from evil IS understanding”. Now Psalm 111:10 “a good understanding have all they that DO his commandments”.
Knowledge + Wisdom = Understanding
You may be thinking, “Okay I think I understand what you are saying, but what is the point?”
This is assurance!
When we are given knowledge of God through His Word- clear and certain perception of truth. And we then allow wisdom to function by guiding us in the proper use or application of this knowledge of God in Scripture, understanding will come. Understanding is a culmination of or showing forth of the comprehension of what we have heard and read.
This produces the fruit, the effects, the confirmation that we have indeed obtained like precious faith. It is only now that we can walk in the power of God’s presence and influence in our lives.
A very simplified illustration:
- Peter walked with Jesus and learned of Him… Knowledge.
- On Pentecost in the upper room the Holy Ghost entered into Him, filling Him with the Spirit of God… Wisdom.
- Peter went out and preached to all those present… Understanding.
All that Peter had learned of God, through study of the Pentateuch (Old Testament), through walking with Jesus, came together and was unfolded and revealed to him when the Holy Spirit gave him the understanding and this comprehension resulted in an explosion of the power of God in Peter’s life and ministry.
Peter was given knowledge, and then wisdom, and then understanding and his faith was solidified and God was magnified and the world was turned upside-down.
Evangelism is not the only application here, nor is manifestations of miracles. The application here is that we can live Godly lives! Lives free from the bondage of sin. We are not helplessly cast about by every wave or storm in life. We can stand steadfast in this promise.
2 Peter 1:4 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
The “ye might be” phrase is not saying, you can maybe be, or possibly be. No, the Greek says that we ARE to become, to be made, to rise, to come to pass. It is a declarative statement that once we allow the perfect process of the knowledge of God to work in our minds that we WILL be partakers of all that God offers us. Because in this we HAVE escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. What is the corruption… SIN.
This is why Peter continues and declares to these who have obtained this like precious faith…
2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
SINCE you have been given faith, grace, peace and all that is required to live and live godly lives NOW be diligent- that is, make a constant effort to add to your faith!
- Add virtue: strength, valor, moral goodness, voluntary obedience to truth
- Add knowledge: Continue gaining clear and certain perception of truth
- Add temperance: habitual moderation- self control in all you do
- Add patience: steadfastness, endurance
- Add godliness: a continual growth into a deeper fellowship with God
- Add brotherly kindness: a certain love for all those that have also obtained this like precious faith.
- Add charity: a true love for and desire to see all men come to Christ
2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By the very understanding that comes through knowledge and wisdom, each given by God, we are required to endeavor to “add to”, “to grow”, in this grace we have been given. In so doing we will then see the power of God working in our lives, the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ and even the lives of ALL those around us.
Where do we find this knowledge to begin with?
Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:22
Peace in Christ to you.