2 Peter 1:1-21

How to Live for Christ

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Peter writes to remind Believers of the truth of Christ and salvation. He expected to die soon, but first, he wanted to remind them of what Christ had done for them. He wanted to encourage believers to grow spiritually in the light of Christ’s soon coming. He also warned them to beware of false teachers. The things he and the other apostles wrote in the New Testament were confirmed by the Old Testament prophets.

VERSES 1-2. "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 Savior Jesus Christ:
2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,"

Peter calls himself a "servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ." He took the place of a servant when he gave us the greatest story ever told. This is the same man who whacked off the ear of Malcius, the servant of the high priest. The same man who couldn't wait for the boat to dock so he took off his clothes and swam to shore. This man had denied he even knew who Jesus was, with profanity. He certainly had mellowed. Now he is willing to die for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, he did die, willingly, for preaching that very Gospel.

You might call the Epistles of Peter his swan song. He has some important things he wants to get across to us before he is taken to heaven. He's giving us the benefit of what the Holy Spirit had given him. He isn't going to take it to the grave un-said.

Peter mentioned that they “obtained like precious faith with us." They got it without earning or deserving it. It was identical to the faith of Peter and the apostles. It came "through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ," not through any merit of their own. God saves us, without distinction, on the basis of His righteousness.

He asks God for their “grace and peace to be multiplied.” God’s grace brought us salvation. God’s peace lets us live without fear of either Satan or circumstances. Both of these are “multiplied through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

VERSES 2-4. "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:
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."

In verse 3 we see that God may not provide everything we want for comfort and happiness, but He has already given us everything we need to live for Him.

He gives us His Word for instruction and encouragement, and His angels to watch over us. He gives us His Holy Spirit to indwell us. The Lord Jesus Christ is interceding for us as our High Priest in heaven. He also gives us the power for godly living.

And this is all “through the knowledge of Him who called us to glory and virtue” (verse 3).

These statements come from a first hand witness. Peter heard Jesus speak, saw Him perform miracles, witnessed His transfiguration, His suffering, His death, and His resurrection.

The “exceeding great and precious promises” (verse 4), are the forgiveness of sins, answered prayer, and our inheritance in heaven. God wants us to be "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

We can be “partakers in the divine nature.” When we got saved we became a “new creation,” and we can escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (verse 4). All of the world’s moral problems are caused by wrongful desire. It's the desire for something that isn't rightfully ours. God has already provided all we need for a holy life.

VERSES 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 love."

The new birth gives us all that pertains to godliness, but that doesn't mean they are automatic. Christianity is active, not passive. We still have to assume our Christian responsibility.

Faith is the basic ingredient for the Christian to be “fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Then he tells us to give “all diligence” to the qualities listed in verses 5-7.

Tom Olson used to read them like this: "Add to your faith the virtue or courage of David; and to the courage of David the knowledge of Solomon; and to the knowledge of Solomon the patience of Job; and to the patience of Job the godliness of Daniel; and to the godliness of Daniel the brotherly kindness of Jonathan; and to the brotherly kindness of Jonathan the love of John."

Virtue might be better termed “moral purity” which is the character of Christ.
Knowledge. This is spiritual knowledge that comes through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Temperance is self control. It means control of the flesh instead of being controlled by it. We live in a culture that encourages us to satisfy every personal desire, so self control in our lives is very important. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit stated in Galatians 5:22-23.
Patience is next. Patience is perseverance, to remain patient in the face of adversity. We are not about to give in or give up when the pressure is on. Knowing that God is in ultimate control should help us remember His promise that He "will never leave thee nor forsake thee."
Godliness is mentioned now. That's our personal devotion to God. It means to make every decision and do everything in relation to God.
Brotherly kindness. We are to put the needs of others ahead of our own needs. I have personally known two people who sincerely put others ahead of themselves at all times. That's very rare.
Love. Last but not least, Peter tells us to add love for our fellow man into our character. Love makes us want to put the good of others first, even if it's costly to ourselves. Christ has this kind of love for sinners. He loves us so much that He died for our sins so we wouldn't have to die for them ourselves and go to hell.

These seven results go with faith. Believers need to take these things personal to be fruitful for Jesus and gain in the knowledge and understanding of our Lord.

Verses 8-9. "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.
9: But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

If our Christian life doesn't show continual progress and has little or no fruit for Christ, something is drastically wrong. Peter lists some things that are the negative results of straying from the Christian life. Unfortunately, this is true of many Christians.

Barren is first. We show no signs of growth or interest in living the Christian life.
Unfruitful is next. To be occupied with the temporal rather than the spiritual, the present rather than the future. Sometimes Christians just go through the motions of Christianity with no conviction and producing no spiritual fruit.
Blindness means little or no understanding of Christ and all He gives us. In Revelation, the Laodicean church was called blind (Revelation 3:17). It means that we think like the unsaved and our perspective of God has been lost. Also, there are some who have “forgotten that we are purged from our old sins” (verse 9b). Even though a person is saved, they may have gone back into the sins they did before they were saved.

Verses 10-11. "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Calling and election are sometimes hard to understand. Election means God chose those who would believe before the world began. Calling refers to the time when we got saved.

Make sure of your calling, know in your own mind that you have a firm spiritual foundation. God said that "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Verse 3 told us that God had called us to glory. He also gave us the power and the promise that through Him we are able to live godly lives. Then verses 10-11 tell us for sure that we will enter into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord.

In verse 10, to "fall" means to fail to honor God, doing things that are an embarrassment to Him. Anybody that is really saved isn't in danger of losing their salvation, but can be in danger of losing their fellowship with God by falling away from godliness into disgrace.

A son who disobeys his parents is still a son, but falls into his parents disfavor. We're God's sons. We don't live the Christian life to stay saved. We live it to honor God.

When we got saved, our calling resulted in our "entrance” into "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (verse 11). Our salvation is so sure that Peter writes about it as though we were already in God's Kingdom.

Peter isn't talking about the rapture here. He has the eternal kingdom in view. Jesus told Peter that he would die, [John 21:18] so he knew he would be in the grave and would take part in the Rapture from there. Here he is looking forward to the eternal Kingdom with Jesus.

VERSES 12-15. "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13: Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, [body] to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14: Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15: Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."

Peter isn't being morbid here, he knew he would die in the same manner Jesus did. He also remembers his responsibility to the believers who Jesus called His sheep. Before He ascended back to heaven, some of the last words Jesus said to Peter were "feed My sheep." Peter was entrusted with feeding the believers spiritually.

“I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things." He was sure that they knew the truth and were established in it, but it was his God given job to remind them as long as he lived.

At one time, Peter had argued with the other disciples about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. The Lord rebuked Peter and told him that Satan would tempt him again, but that He, the Lord, had prayed for him that his faith wouldn't fail. (Luke 22:32).

Peter is thankful that his readers are already "established in the present truth." He was determined to "stir them up” to remember their salvation. He called his earthly body "this tabernacle." Jesus had told him he would be martyred. He states "knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle." Verse 14.

In verse 15, he again speaks of his decease. Peter was on the Mount of Transfiguration and heard Moses and Elijah discussing the decease of the Lord. [Luke 9:31]. He knew that Jesus died on the cross and ascended back to heaven, and that He promised "where I am, there you may be also." John 14:3. He knew that death wasn't the end for the Lord Jesus, nor would it be for Peter. He would exchange this life for eternal life. When a believer dies, we "depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:" (Philippians 1:23b).

As a last request, Peter asks them to always have these things in mind after he is gone. The reason is found in verse 16, VERSE 16. "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

This isn't theory, it is fact. It will come to pass with all the power of God.

Peter, James, and John had witnessed the power and majesty of the transfiguration. It was a preview of Jesus' coming back in power and glory for the battle of Armageddon, and to reign over the earth for 1000 years. They were eyewitnesses to the power of God though the miracles of Jesus when He was on earth. They heard the voice of God come down from heaven affirming that Jesus was, indeed, the Son of God!

VERSES 17-18. " For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18: And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."

Christ is coming with "power and majesty," verse 16, and, verse 17 "honor and excellent glory."

VERSE 19. "We have a more sure word of prophecy whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."

There seems to be a tendency today to "qualify" the Bible. By "qualify" I mean those who are teaching others are giving a modern day point of view to Scriptures. One preacher stated that God is re-thinking His position on homosexuals. I don't know where he got his information or authority to state that. I'm going to stick with my Bible. The Holy Spirit told Peter some people would think like this so he warned us.

Peter compares the Scriptures to a “lamp shining in a dark place.” The present age is like night compared to the coming glory when "the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." The Day Star is a picture of the Lord Jesus coming for His people. We have the promises of Scripture to light the way for us until He comes back for us.

VERSES 20-21: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Old Testament prophecy is true because it was inspired by God. It didn't originate from the prophets themselves. Paul wrote a lot of the New Testament and he teaches the same thing.

The Bible is the Word of God. We can be confident it's our final authority and it's complete. The foundation for godliness is to know Christ as our Savior.

It is mentioned earlier in this chapter that God spoke from the cloud of glory saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

The judgment on this world is coming.

The Messiah who will rule the world is the same Jesus the disciples knew on earth, and the same One who died on the cross for our sins. In the Old Testament, in Isaiah 42:1. "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."

This world and all who are in it will be judged. If we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will not go through that judgment. While we are here, we can use the knowledge we have from the Scriptures to reject false teaching, and live for Christ and look forward to spending eternity with Him.