Scriptures

2 Peter 1

Introduction

In Peter’s first letter, we read time and time again that he wanted the saints who were dispersed to keep on going growing, especially during times of suffering and in this second letter we find Peter encouraging those same saints to keep on growing but watch out for false teachers.

Author

The letter itself was written by Peter who describes himself as a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:1. It was written to those who received his first letter, 2 Peter 3:1.

Date

As the letter was written very shortly before Peter’s death, 2 Peter 1:12-15, most commentators suggest that Peter wrote this second letter between A.D. 65 and A.D. 68.

Outline

Introduction. 2 Peter 1:1-2
Grow in grace and knowledge. 2 Peter 1:3-21
Beware of false teachers. 2 Peter 2:1-22
Look for the Lord’s return. 2 Peter 3:1-18

The Text

“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:1-2

Peter begins by reminding the saints of four blessings that have from God and the first blessing is their precious faith. For anyone to obtain this precious faith, they must first hear the Gospel, in other words, if God hadn’t given His Word, saving faith would not be possible, Romans 10:17.

Peter tells us in his first letter, that it is through Christ we believe in God, 1 Peter 1:20-21. And if God hadn’t sent Jesus Christ into the world, many of us would still be idol worshippers and in our sin and so, it’s because of Jesus’ divine sacrifice, that makes saving faith possible. Peter is saying we need to be willing to receive the blessing of faith which God gives us through His Word, Hebrews 4:2.

But why is this faith so precious? Not only because the object of our faith is Jesus Christ, the Son of God but also because ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’, Romans 4:3.

In other words, Abraham was totally convicted that God was real and what God said was true. He understood that his faith was precious not only to him but also to God.

Another blessing is found in the words, ‘grace’ and ‘peace’, which were common forms of greetings in Biblical times. If we were to speak to someone and say, ‘grace be upon you’, this would mean that we would want God’s unmerited favour to rest upon that person. We would want nothing but the best for them.

And if we were to speak to someone and say, ‘peace be with you’, this means that we would want the natural result of having God’s grace upon them, which is peace.

But notice what Peter does here, he says, ‘grace to you and peace be multiplied’ where? ‘in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ’. Every single person on this planet experiences God’s grace to some degree, whether people choose to believe that God exists or not, He is blessing everyone, Matthew 5:45.

The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is that the Christian recognises where those blessings come from and say, ‘thank you Father’. But the biggest difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is in the amount of blessing the Christian receives.

Paul says it’s only those who are in Christ who can experience every spiritual blessing which includes His grace, Ephesians 1:3. Paul says it’s only those who are in Christ who can experience the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, Philippians 4:6-7.

Peter says that all those blessings come in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. The word ‘knowledge’ is a word which Peter is going to use all through his letter, 2 Peter 1:3. He reminds us what growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ involves, 2 Peter 1:5-6.

He reminds us that our knowledge of Jesus Christ is far more than just intellectual knowledge, 2 Peter 1:8. Later he is going to warn us what will happen to Christians who fall away after receiving knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 2:20. And finally to end his letter he is going to encourage us to grow in that knowledge, 2 Peter 3:18.

Confirming One’s Calling And Election

“Seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue. By which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

After reminding the saints that their faith is a precious blessing from God, grace and peace are a precious blessing from God, Peter says that all things that pertain to life and godliness are a precious blessing from God.

When he talks about ‘life’, he is referring to our spiritual life and our spiritual well-being and when he talks about ‘godliness’ he is referring to the conduct of our behaviour which comes from our devotion to God.

In other words, Peter says we have everything we need for our spiritual lives in order to help us serve our God in a way which pleases Him.

He says we have everything we need because God has given to us by divine power. We have everything we need through the knowledge of Him as Peter just told us. People can only experience true life and true godliness through the knowledge of the One who has called us by glory and virtue.

If God, through His Word has given us everything we need for our spiritual lives then we don’t need prophesying today for God to reveal something to us which He has already revealed to us in His Word.

If God, through His Word has given us everything we need for our spiritual lives then we don’t need tongue speaking today for God to reveal something to us which He has already revealed to us in His Word.

If God, through His Word has given us everything we need for our spiritual lives then we don’t need supernatural knowledge today for God to reveal something to us which He has already revealed to us in His Word.

God used to speak to mankind using a whole host of methods from dreams, visions and miraculous signs and wonders but now, today, He speaks to us through His Son, Hebrews 1:1-2.

Please don’t misunderstand what Peter means here when he uses the word ‘knowledge’, he is talking about a lot more than intellectual knowledge.

He is talking about a knowledge which comes not only from knowing Jesus Christ but also from developing and experiencing Jesus Christ in our lives. In other words, there is no point in having a load of knowledge about the Bible, if our life isn’t reflecting what we know.

The final precious blessing which Peter reminds us about is found throughout the pages of the entire Bible. He says we have the precious blessing of God’s promises.

A promise from God is a statement that we can depend on with absolute confidence, hence why Peter describes those promises as exceedingly great and precious promises.

Peter understood why they are so precious and that’s why he reminds his readers that through those promises of God we may be partakers of the divine nature. In other words as Christians we may share in the things which are related to the nature of God.

We would still be in our sins today and helpless to do anything about it, if it wasn’t for the promise of God to send The Redeemer to save us. We would have no hope of heaven or anything beyond this life, if Jesus didn’t die on the cross like God promised He would.

We would be just as corrupt as most of the world still is today but because God promised His Son would die for you and for me, we have now escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust but Peter says through these great and precious promises from God, we have escaped. God’s promises are trustworthy because He is trustworthy, Hebrews 10:23.

“Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control patience; and in patience godliness; and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

Peter now goes to tell us that growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ involves the development of eight graces. He mentions faith, moral excellence or virtue as some translations have it. He mentions knowledge, self-control and patience or perseverance as some translations have it and he mentions godliness, brotherly affection and love.

Peter says we need to abound in these eight graces if we want to continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He is talking about something which is more than simply increasing our intellectual knowledge of Jesus Christ, he is talking about growing in a full and personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Peter doesn’t want us just to know about Jesus, he wants us to look like Jesus, he wants us to sound like Jesus, he wants us to speak like Jesus, he wants us to think like Jesus.

If we want to be like Jesus, have faith like Jesus had, have the virtue like Jesus had, have the knowledge that Jesus had, have the self-control like Jesus had, have the patience like Jesus had. Have the godliness, brotherly affection and love like Jesus had.

In other words these will help us be Christ-like, the more we grow in these graces as Christians, the more we will really know Jesus because Jesus Christ is the perfect personification of these graces.

Up until now Peter has used the word ‘knowledge’ 5 times already and he uses the word 14 times throughout his second letter. The word ‘knowledge’ is the Greek word ‘epignosis’ which means to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly, to know accurately, to know well and Peter says this knowledge can only come about when we demonstrate these eight graces in our lives.

For us to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ we need to ‘make every effort’, we need to understand that all these eight graces need to be working together.

Peter is saying, when each grace is working in harmony with the others this will produce the overall effect. He is saying that each grace is to blend with and make perfect the grace that goes before it.

Peter says, to knowledge add self-control, in other words, the grace of self-control enables us to apply properly the knowledge we have. When he says to self-control add perseverance, he saying self-control in turn needs the quality of perseverance to be consistent day after day.

In other words we can’t just work on our brotherly affection one day and then work on our love the next. Each grace must be developed in conjunction with each other.

And make no mistake about it this takes effort on our part, hence why he uses the word ‘diligence’ which means we need to have a zeal about growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We need to earnestly strive to grow, 2 Peter 1:10.

We’re given the gift of the Holy Spirit at our baptism, Acts 2:38, and one of His roles is to help us become more Christ-like but growing is not going to happen on its own.

We have to work with the Spirit to help us grow because if we don’t put any effort into our growing, then we can’t grow into the fully mature Christian which God wants us to become.

Just in case we’re wondering if all that effort is worth it, Peter goes on to give us three reasons as to why we should continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. So then, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election certain, for if you keep on doing this you will never fail. For in this way you will be generously granted entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, the Messiah.” 2 Peter 1:9-11

Most people became Christians because they knew they had a sin problem which needed to be dealt with and so we come to the waters of baptism to have those sins forgiven, Acts 2:38.

However, from that point forward, we’re supposed to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. And Peter is telling his readers that unless they grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ and so become more Christ-like, they could end up with spiritual amnesia. Peter says if we’re not growing, we’re blind and short-sighted.

Paul says the goal and ultimate aim for you being a Christian is to become like Jesus Christ Himself, Romans 8:29. Paul says the reason we’re a Christian is to demonstrate in your life that you have changed and are changing daily into the likeness of Jesus Christ Himself, Colossians 3:9-11.

This is exactly what Peter means when he says we need to grow in the knowledge of Christ. When we don’t grow, we forget, we forget why we were redeemed by the blood of Christ in the first place.

Not only will we end up with spiritual amnesia if we don’t grow in the knowledge of Christ but we could end up losing our salvation if we don’t grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Please don’t misunderstand what Peter is saying here, he is not saying that Christians will never fail in terms of sinning because we will sin and do sin, 1 John 1:8-10.

The word ‘fail’ or ‘stumble as’ some translations has it, means to fall into misery, or loss of salvation. And so, Peter is saying, if we are continuing to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ, the less chance there will be of us falling from grace and losing our salvation. And for us to do that we need to be diligent, we need to be earnestly trying to grow.

When we’re growing, we don’t forget, when we’re growing, we won’t lose our salvation. When we possess those eight graces, when we grow in them and develop them into our lives, we will be able to live victoriously in this life and with great joy look forward to what lays ahead, 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Prophecy Of Scripture

“For this reason I will be ready at all times to keep your memory of these things awake, though you have the knowledge of them now and are well based in your present faith. And it seems right to me, as long as I am in this tent of flesh, to keep your minds awake by working on your memory.” 2 Peter 1:12-13

Peter says he needs to remind them of something and it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t remind them of this. In fact Peter says after he dies he’s going to remind them of something, 2 Peter 1:15.

What is on his mind which is so important that they should never forget? He is going to answer those questions later but for now he wants his readers to be awake.

He says keep your minds awake, in other words, he is reminding them that they need to be careful that they don’t become too casual with their service to God.

We can very easily walk away from God if we’re not constantly reminded about how we’re supposed to walk with our God. It’s important as Christian we pray and it’s important that we’re reminded that we need to pray daily because our God longs to hear from us every day. The more time we spend in prayer with our mind on God means less time thinking about worldly things.

Another way we can prevent drifting away from God is by meeting together regularly for worship, Hebrews 10:24-25. We pray and sing songs, we hear a sermon and we give, we also partake of the Lord’s Supper why? Do this in remembrance of me.

If we read our Bibles daily we will be constantly reminded of what’s important and this too will help us from drifting away from God. We’re all prone to forget what’s important in this life and that’s why it’s important to pray, study and worship together as much as possible.

Peter says never forget what he’s about to tell them, but he hasn’t told them what is on his mind yet. Remember Peter is a dying man and he is looking at himself and doing a lot of thinking and at the moment he is thinking about his body and his death.

“And it seems right to me, as long as I am in this tent of flesh, to keep your minds awake by working on your memory; For I am conscious that in a short time I will have to put off this tent of flesh, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will take every care so that you may have a clear memory of these things after my death.” 2 Peter 1:13-15

Peter sees his body as a tent and he saw it as a temporary housing arrangement for his soul which continues after death, Matthew 10:28 / 2 Corinthians 5:1-8.

We’re living in a world where people think that death is tragic and I guess it is if you’re outside of Christ but the way a Christian looks at death is filled with hope, it’s not a fearful event but a natural one.

Peter says death is just like putting off that tent, it’s of no use anymore and he says, he really doesn’t have any choice if he wants to go to Jesus. He says he will have to put off this tent.

And notice how he describes the difference between our soul and our body, when he is referring to his soul, he uses the word ‘I’ and when he’s talking about his body, he used the words, ‘my tent’.

Notice also notice how he describes his death, when Peter uses the word ‘death’ in this verse, it’s actually the Greek word ‘exodus’. It is the same word used to describe Israel’s exodus from Egyptian bondage.

In other words Peter sees his death, not as the end but sees it as an exit from one world to another. He’s going to heaven, he’s going to the Promised Land, John 14:1-3. Our fear of dying would be much less worrying when we finally understand that we’re just leaving this temporary world to enter an everlasting world.

Peter is a dying man and he’s trying to share with the saints his last thoughts which he thought we’re really important for Christians to know. What are ‘these things’ that Peter is so concerned about?

The things that Peter is so concerned about reminded them about, are these things which he has just been speaking about. He’s talking about the importance of growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Peter is a dying man and he says, ‘I want to tell you something which is very important.’ And we can imagine everyone gathering round to read and hear the words of this wise servant and we can imagine them thinking, ‘what is he going to say’?

And Peter says grow Christian grow, know Christ on a personal level, live Christ and let people see Him in your lives, think like Christ and become like Christ, 1 Peter 1:5-11.

Out of all the things he could have said before he died, he wanted to remind them of what was most important, 2 Peter 3:18. Peter says keep growing in the knowledge of Christ whilst we’re living and dying will be worth it, Philippians 1:21.

“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain”. 2 Peter 1:16-18

Peter, now appeals to two witnesses to reinforce the validity of our faith in Jesus, as something which is based upon a solid foundation.

He says, what we’re talking about is not some fairy tale, it’s real and it’s real because we, the apostles, saw these things with our own eyes. He says, he’s not just making all this stuff up to deceive them, he’s telling them what happened because he was there.

Notice that Peter uses the word ‘we’, he’s telling them that this is not just his testimony but the testimony of others too. He says that he and the other apostles were eyewitnesses of what they made known concerning Jesus’ coming and power.

He says because they all saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears and felt with their own hands, there is no way they were making all this up.

Because they saw, heard and felt Jesus when He was with them there is no way that they could be deceived, Acts 10:39-41 / 1 John 1:1. And so Peter says, we’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt concerning Jesus.

And then he goes on to give us an example of one the things he witnessed, that special event which took place on the mount of transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-9 / Mark 9:2-9 / Luke 9:28-36.

Peter James and John witnessed this event but they didn’t stay there, they went out and preached and saved souls, but the mount of transfiguration was an event which demonstrated the power, majesty, honour and glory that Jesus had.

But why out of all the events Peter experienced with Jesus, why did he choose this one? The mount of transfiguration event certainly proclaimed the majesty of Jesus. The mount of transfiguration event certainly illustrated the nature of their testimony. But why this event?

He chose this event because it was on that mountain that they ‘saw’ Jesus transfigured before them and joined with Moses and Elijah. He chose this event because it was on this mountain that they ‘heard’ the voice which came from God the Father in heaven.

The very fact that this event, like many others in the life of Jesus, was seen by a plurality of witnesses serves to strengthen the force of their testimony.

I believe the apostles told the truth, and I don’t believe that they were blatant liars, frauds, and deceivers. Think about the apostles for a moment and think about how they lived, they had nothing to gain by lying, in fact they were beaten and thrown in jail and even murdered because of their faith.

Peter says we were there with Jesus, we were on that mountain and we were eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus. And so, we don’t have a blind faith, our faith is precious because it rests upon the testimony of the apostles, John 17:20.

Peter doesn’t just appeal to the apostles who were eyewitnesses to show us that our faith is precious, he goes on to appeal to the testimony of divinely originated prophecy.

“We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. 2 Peter 1:19-21

Peter is telling us, that the scriptures are actually the mind of God in human language. Here in this text Peter is referring to the Old Testament Scriptures.

The apostles would often appeal to others by quoting the Old Testament prophecies to convince people that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah, Isaiah 9:6-7, and Peter says these prophecies have been made completely reliable because Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies

Because we see Jesus Christ as the fulfilment of many the Old Testament prophecies, this should not only strengthen our faith in God but also in His Word.

Peter says we will do well to pay attention to it. In other words, the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled concerning Jesus but as Christians we still need to carefully study the Old Testament Scriptures, Romans 15:4.

When the apostle Paul was writing to his young friend Timothy, he encouraged him to just that. Paul says, all scripture is God breathed which means both the Old and the New Testaments, 2 Timothy 3:14-15. No wonder Peter says reading the Old Testament scriptures has value.

He also says the Old Testament Scriptures are a light that shines in a dark place and he says, the Old Testament will serve its purpose. In other words there is a time coming when we won’t need the Scriptures and that time will be when faith will become a reality at the final coming of Jesus.

That’s why Peter says, the Old Testament will continue to shine until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, Revelation 22:16.

Peter goes onto tell them that the prophets didn’t speak their own words, but the very words of God Himself. He wants them to understand that the prophecies of the Old Testament were not the views or concepts of mere men. They didn’t write whatever they felt like and left out what they didn’t think was important. In other words they spoke when God wanted to communicate a message to His people.

And Peter says these prophets didn’t just make things up in their own minds, they spoke on behalf of God Himself. That’s what Peter means when he says they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. In other words they were guided, they were instructed by God through the Holy Spirit to speak to the people of old and us today, Psalm 19:7 / Psalm 119:130 / Psalm 119:160.

Our faith is very precious not only because our faith relies heavily on the apostles as eyewitnesses but also because our faith relies heavily on the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus as being fulfilled in Jesus Himself, John 5:39. Our faith isn’t a blind faith but a rock solid conviction based upon rock solid evidence.

Go To 2 Peter 2

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:1

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