Precious Promise and Precious Lives 2 Peter 1:3-18 (2 Peter part 2)
By Ben Fronczek
Read 2 Peter 1:3-11 (click on site)
Intro. In our last lesson I talked about how and why faith, why believing in Jesus, God, and promises that God made to us in the Bible, are not only important but also that faith is precious and also a great source of grace and peace for those who learn to take advantage of what it offers.
Today as we move forward in 2 Peter 1, Peter lets us know that God has done something very, very special for us.
Read 2 Peter 1:3-4
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
In these two verses Peter mentions three things that God has given us:
#1. He said that He has given us everything (everything) we need for life and Godliness.
How and when and where has he given us everything we need for life and Godliness? He said through our knowledge of Him who calls us by His own glory and goodness.
This is why it is so important to stay in God’s Word. It’s important to keep feeding our self by reading and studying the Bible, by reading books and magazines on spiritual topics, or by listen to tapes, cds and even good radio programs on Bible topics; anything that will help us understand, learn more and help us grow in our knowledge of God and His word. (For eg. How to raise kids, how to make your marriage work, it talks about work ethics, finances, social behavior, responsibilities to Government and how to get to heaven. I personally thank God for the help he has give me ove the years concerning these matters…. I has REALLY helped me and my family!)
The more we know about God and understand His will the more we will have what we need to survive this life, and the more we will be prepared for the trials that can come our way. I believe this is the whole point of this letter.
#2. Peter also tells us here that through these things, (that is the knowledge we receive from and about God and His will), Peter tells us that God has given us some great and precious promises. (and there a lot of promises)
Here are just a few of those promises:
- Jesus promised,
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14.2)
- Jesus promised,
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14.3)
- Jesus promised,
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth…” (John 14.16-17a)
- God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Read Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38).
- God has promised us victory over death. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
- God has promised His people eternal life (John 10:27-28).
- God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28).
These are just a few of many promises made. I encourage you to make a study of God’s promises. I believe you will find it most encouraging. I find it truly amazing that the God of this universe has made personal promises to you and me!!
What a shame that most people don’t take advantage of or even believe these wonderful promises. And sad too is the fact many who call themselves a Christian never take the time to learn these great promises of God. And they probably wonder why they can’t handle certain situations, and they worry and are filled with anxiety and can’t understand why God does what He does. They simply haven’t taken the time to get to know God. Because they lack that knowledge they are weak and have less hope.
You probably heard the saying, ‘Knowledge is power.’ And in this case I believe it to be true. So God has given us everything we need for life, and godliness and He has made some amazing promises to us.
#3. The third thing that Peter mentions in this text is that because God gave us everything we need for life and godliness, Peter said that God provides a way for us to participate in His divine nature.
And why is that such a blessing? Because he goes on to say that it is so we can “escape the corruption of this world.”
Peter thus encourages us to grow in certain virtues which lead to a life which is precious, divine, and one which is not ineffective or unproductive.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and come to the realization that is was a waste in God’s eyes. I can’t stand it when I feel unproductive or ineffective. And if God thought that about my life that would truly grieve me. Could you Imagine God saying “What a waste, you were just a selfish brat your whole life.”
So Peter here suggests that we grow as a person. First he says if you want to participate in this divine nature you need to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to add these certain virtues to your life and keep growing in them.
As you know, it’s one thing to say you believe in God, Jesus and the Bible but it’s quite another to live the life that God would have you live.
So Peter begins in verse 5 by saying that besides faith we should add GOODNESS.
Now what is he talking about here? Well the original Greek idea behind the word translated, ‘good’ here is the idea of moral excellence, purity, innocence, even modesty. What else would you expect from someone who has a godly nature. That is why even church elders or leaders of the church are to be above reproach and good men. Otherwise their ministry and service would be compromised.
And to GOODNESS he said to add KNOWLEDGE. In other words we need to keep learning, keep growing as an individual and as a Christian with the goal that one day we will be truly wise in a godly Biblical way. This knowledge is not only for yourself, it will help others as well! So we need to make every effort to improve and be good and pure, even more modest.
And to KNOWLEDGE he said add SELF CONTROL. In other words, it’s important to learn how to master our self, become a master over our wants, desires, and activities. You can have faith and know a lot but still find yourself doing things you should not be doing. There are many areas some of us need to get under control like; our temper, how and what we say, our language, our cravings, how we take care of our bodies, how we spend money and so much more. Self Control is important and when mastered, it can provide a sense of peace and stability in one’s life, and also become a good example to others.
To SELF CONTROL he says add PERSEVERANCE. This is a virtue where one learns to keep on keeping on; especially being able to hang in there and not give up doing what is right and good, even if you are persecuted.
To PERSEVERENCE he said add GODLINESS. This is choosing or making a conscious decision to be Christ-like or God-like in your conduct throughout the day. It implies doing this with a desire to please God. (WWJD Maybe we need to ask ourself, What Would Jesus Do before we act.)
To GODLINESS he goes on to say add BROTHERLY KINDNESS. The origin Greek word here is the word philadelphia. It denotes the idea of thoughtful consideration of fellow believers. It involves overt acts of kindness. And this should probably start at home!
And to BROTHERLY KINDNESS he said to add LOVE. This word for love comes from the Greek word, agape. It is the highest form of love. It is that sacrificial God-like kind of love. The kind that always seeks to do what best for the person. It also reaches out to all people not just believers.
Now what I find interesting is how important it is to have and develop all of these virtues, these are all necessary. Even the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, Chapter 13
“If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
He’s saying, ‘You can know a lot, have a lot of faith, you can be generous, even be sacrificial and still lack love and be ineffective.’
And there are very loving generous people out there who do not have enough knowledge, they do not know God or Jesus and what they need to go to heaven.
And there are people out there who know how to do all the right things but they give up too quickly, they don’t persevere as long as they should.
All of these virtues are important but all of them do not come naturally, some like self control we have to really work at and make an all out effort to develop.
Becoming a genuine disciple of Jesus and being a good Christian is not just about obeying the Gospel message and just showing up at church every Sunday, it’s so much more. It includes a lifetime of growing a maturing in these areas.
In Hebrews 6, there the writer says,
“let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity. (Vs 1)
Peter lets us know here that if we keep growing in these virtues we can participate in that divine nature. In other words, we start to walk, and talk, and think, and act like our Lord and our God. Wow what a privilege!
But Peter also goes on to say that if as Christians we do not possess these qualities, these virtues, nor care about acquiring them, then you are, near sided and blind and you will be ineffective and unproductive.
You may acquire some degree of productivity at work or what you do without these virtues, but what matters more; being useful to yourself and your employer or useful to God. I believe if you put on these virtues you can be more effective and useful and productive to everyone.
Challenge: Today I want you to realize how blessed you are. I want to let the fact that God has poured out promise after promise fill you with hope and peace. I want you to feel loved by Him and encouraged by these facts. I also want to encourage you to grow and mature as person by putting on these virtues discussed here by Peter. Take an honest look at yourself, recognize your weaknesses and make a conscious decision to grow in those areas. In doing so you will become stronger, more confident as a person and you will feel a greater sense peace and become more effective as a Christian.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566