A Lesson From 2 Peter Chapter 1
Verse 1 says; “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ; To those who have received a faith, equally precious as ours, through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Your faith is just as precious as the faith of an apostle of Jesus. That’s pretty impressive, and pretty encouraging too. Have you thought about how valuable your faith is? What would your life be like without faith? You sure wouldn’t have any hope for anything after this life would you? So then you’d better get everything out of this life that you can, ’cause this would be all there is. Well, this would be all there is, except for the eternal suffering that you’d have later on. But even without that, I don’t think this life would be worth much without faith in God.
“Faith, is the assurance (it’s the reality) of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Faith isn’t just a dream, it’s the reality, that the things we hope for, are really there in heaven. But of course without faith, there IS nothing to hope for.
Faith, is trust and confidence. It’s trust and confidence in God! “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6. Do you know what God says about people who have displayed great faith? He says in Hebrews 11:38, that the world “isn’t worthy” of them! So then the world, isn’t worthy of people with great faith, but yet without faith, this world is all you’ve got. What value is there in that?
I’m just trying to put things in perspective here. You believe in evolution don’t you? Not the survival of the fittest, not that kind of evolution. I’m not taking about the lies that the world teaches, that you and I evolved from some primitive life form. That just displays a 100% LACK of faith! Genesis 1:27 says; “And God created man in His own image. In the image of God, He created him. Male and female, He created them.”
How could you evolve, from a primitive, totally physical life form, into a spiritual being, in the image of God? Obviously you couldn’t! How could something spiritual, evolve from something physical? It’s ridiculous to think that it could. God says, we were created, a spiritual being. We didn’t evolve into one.
When I ask if you believe in “evolution”, I’m referring to the “evolution” of our faith. I talking about the “survival” of the faithful! If our faith doesn’t “evolve” we’re not gonna to survive. It’s that simple.
Is the faith in God, that you have today, the very same degree of faith that you first had, when you came to realize, and to “believe” that there is indeed a God? Hopefully, your faith today, is on a completely different level, than the faith that you began with.
The bible tells us very plainly, what the very first thing is, that should create the faith in us, to believe that God exists. And He tells us more than once, in the bible. You’re probably familiar with Psalm 19, verse 1, which says; “The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and the expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” In other words, when you look at the heavens above, it should be obvious to you that there is a God who created all of that. The heavens tell of God’s glory. The expanse that surrounds us declares His presence!
And you’re probably familiar with Romans 1, verse 20; “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” There’s absolutely no excuse for not believing that God exists, and the created world is living proof of it!
Here’s a couple of verses that maybe you’re not familiar with; Job 12:7 thru 9; “But now, ask the beasts, and let them teach you. And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you. And let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among all these does not know, that the hand of the Lord has done this? In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”
So then, the very beginning of faith in God, comes from the creation that surrounds us. But simply acknowledging that God exists, and that He has created all of this, that’s not the kind of faith that the bible speaks of as being “equally precious”. But it’s a start, isn’t it? You’ve got to start somewhere; but now that beginning faith has to develop, it has to “evolve” into something greater, something more valuable.
Now you need the bible! Because the faith that’s “precious” in the eyes of God, doesn’t come from the world around us, does it? It comes from only one place, and that’s the bible. A verse that you hear all the time is Romans 10, verse 17. Here’s a very literal rendering of that verse; “So the faith is by hearing, but the hearing by the word of Christ.” That narrows it down, doesn’t it? The faith that we need to acquire, comes by hearing. But it doesn’t come from hearing just anything. It doesn’t come from hearing someone’s opinion, or someone’s speculation. Even all of creation, is “in a manner of speaking” the word of God, isn’t it? Psalm 33:9 says; “For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded and it stood fast.”
I’ve definitely noticed that the faith of a lot of people, has “evolved” into something almost totally different from what the bible says. And the reason for that, is that those people didn’t get their faith from the word of Christ. They got it from the word of man!
Therefore, the only faith that “evolves” into “precious faith”, “precious” in the sight of God, is the faith that is produced from the bible.
Going back to 2 Peter chapter 1; Verse 2 says; “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, in the knowledge of Jesus our Lord.” In the “knowledge” of the Lord. Grace and peace, will be multiplied through knowledge. And where does that knowledge come from? It comes the word of Christ; The word of God.
You know, the grace of God has already been given to everyone who has ever lived. In Mathew 5:45 Jesus says; “For He causes His sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends His rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” So then everyone experiences the grace of God to some extent. But if we want His grace to be multiplied to us, then we’ve got to be multiplying our faith.
God initiates everything doesn’t He? He gives us His grace, by creating the world that we live in. then we in return see His awesome creation, and it gives us the evidence needed to believe that God exists. And then God goes one step further, and again, out of His grace, He sends us Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. And then He preserves His written word for us, so that we can not only believe that he exists, but so that we can KNOW Him. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, in the KNOWLEDGE of Jesus Christ.”
God’s grace is already being multiplied to us. But, do you know what that word “multiplied” really means? It actually means.. “to be made full”. So then, what Peter is really saying, is; May God’s grace and peace be multiplied to you, the fullest extent. He wants us to be completely full of God’s grace. And we can be, but it takes KNOWLEDGE of God’s word. Of course, it also takes obedience to God’s word, but we can’t obey, what we don’t know. So then, knowledge is what we need.
You know, the opposite of having God’s grace multiplied unto us, is for God to forget us, and destroy us. God said, through Hosea the prophet; “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me..” Hosea 4:6.
Listen to verse 3, of 2 Peter chapter 1; “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true KNOWLEDGE of Him who called us, by His own glory and excellence.” Through the knowledge of the bible, God has granted to us everything that we need! Everything that we need, for God’s grace to be multiplied unto us, to the fullest extent.
Everything that has anything to do with gaining life for our souls, and everything that has anything to do with living a godly life, it’s all granted to us in His word, the bible. “So then faith comes by the hearing, and the hearing by the word of Christ.”
We don’t have to look any farther than the bible, do we? Oh, we might look to a dictionary, to help us better understand some of the words. And we might look to a concordance, to refer us to some verses that are similar with what we’re studying, and we might look to a Greek-to-English interlinear bible, to get the exact, original meaning for a word, but it’s still the word of God, that grants to us EVERYTHING that pertains to eternal life for our soul, and instructs us how to live as God would have us live.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will confirm, that I will keep Thy righteous ordinances!” Psalm 119: 105 & 106.
As our knowledge of the bible increases and “evolves”, so does our faith increase and “evolve”. And so does God’s grace to us increase. I’m not going to use that word “evolve” when speaking about God’s grace, because that’s something that will never change. We’re simply blessed with more and more of His grace, the more our knowledge grows, and the more our faith evolves.
You know, the definition of “evolve” is simply.. “to develop gradually, especially from a simple, to a more complex form. Isn’t that exactly what our faith does? It gradually develops, from the most simple form of acknowledging the existence of God, to a much more complex stage, where we have faith in every single word of God.
“His divine power has granted to us everything, pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” That was 2 Peter 1, verse 3.
And verse 4 says; “Through which (through the knowledge of His word) He has granted to us, His precious and magnificent promises, in order that through them (through His promises) you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption (or the decay) that is in the world by lust.”
If you just have basic faith, that God is, and that Jesus is God’s Son, does that alone make you a “partaker of the divine nature”? It says in James 2:19, that the demons believe, but they’re not partakers of the nature of God, are they?
How do you become a “partaker of the divine nature”? And how does becoming a partaker of God’s nature, come through the promises that God has made to us? Well, you’ve got to begin by knowing what God’s nature is, and of course that knowledge comes through God’s word. So if we look at 2 Peter 1, verses 5 thru 8, God tells us some of the things that will help us partake of His divine nature.
We start with faith, right? And here’s some of the things that we need to add to our faith, so that we can partake of God’s divine nature; Verses 5 thru 8; “Now for this very reason also (the reason being, so that we can partake of God’s nature) applying all diligence in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge, and in knowledge, self-control, and in self-control, perseverance, and in perseverance, godliness, and in godliness, brotherly kindness, and in brotherly kindness, love.”
All these qualities, are a part of the divine nature of God. And of course the “fruits of the spirit”, that are listed in Galatians 5:22 & 23, also give us knowledge of the divine nature of God. And some of these are a repeat of what we just read in 2 Peter. But here is God’s list, of the “fruits of the Spirit”; “..Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control..”
Do you see how love is repeated in both scriptures? And self-control is repeated, along with kindness; And goodness and godliness are surely very similar. So then, our faith needs to evolve, to the point that all these qualities, which are all a part of the divine nature of God, are also a part of our nature. These traits, these attributes, need to be the very things that define OUR nature, just like they define God’s nature.
But it’s a process, isn’t it? It doesn’t just come all at once. That’s why 2 Peter 1, verse 5 said; “Now for this reason also, applying all diligence in your faith..” We must be diligent! We’re not going to be saved by accident. It’s going to be the result of our diligence, in learning God’s word, and in applying God’s word in our lives. It’s not always easy, is it? But what provides our motivation, to be so diligent, that we can cause our faith to evolve to the degree, that we actually ARE partakers of the divine nature of God?
Well, it’s God’s precious and magnificent promises, that give us the motivation. The promise that God “will never leave us or forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5 ). The promise that allows us to know, “..that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). And the promise that we have right here in 2 Peter 1, verse 8; “For if these are yours (these godly qualities that we just listed) and are increasing, they render you neither useless, nor unfruitful, in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And here’s God’s promise that I will leave you with; If you will hear God’s word, and believe what it says; and if you will repent of your sins and confess the name of Christ; And if you will be immersed in water the forgiveness of your sins, and then continue faithful until death, then God has promised you that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Accept that as God’s invitation to you, to believe and obey Him.