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:
Peter introduces himself as both a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.
“to them that have obtained like previous faith with us”
- Peter is addressing those that have the same faith as he does.
- Who the “us” includes, the Bible is not clear.
- The word “obtained” means to receive by divine allotment. This faith was not obtained in the sense that he did something, but rather it is given like a gift of grace.
How was this faith given?
- Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
- This is righteousness by faith. Faith that lays hold of the righteousness of Christ and makes it our own.
- Peter has experienced it and so have those that he is writing to.
2 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
Somehow this text implies that grace and peace is already in their possession. However, Peter wants what they have to be multiplied. How?
- Through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
- A knowledge of God and of Jesus will give us grace and peace. This knowledge is effectual. It is not just simply head knowledge. There is power in this knowledge of God.
- This knowledge is mentioned three more times in this book.
2 Peter 1:3
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:
“According as his divine power”
- Here it stresses the power of Jesus. We know that it is Jesus’ power as He is the last person mentioned in the previous verse.
- The word power there in the Greek is “dunamis” which is dynamite power.
- We find this word attributed to the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- It could be rendered to mean that Christ has given us the Holy Spirit.
- John 16:7
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
- John 16:7
- Or it could be referring to the fact that the power that Christ has is the same power that the Holy Spirit has.
What is the purpose of Christ giving us this power?
- He “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.”
- How this text is not rendered is that Christ has given us the scriptures and instruction and we have to follow it.
- The word “given” means to bestow gratuitously. It’s like a gift.
- So Jesus has given us power that we may understand how to live a godly life, which will ultimately affect how we live this life on earth and also our eternal life in the future.
How do we get this power?
- “through the knowledge of him.”
- It is through the knowledge of Christ that we get this power to live a godly life.
- Of course, we can begin to apply how we gain this knowledge. It is through the scriptures that we can gain this knowledge.
- It’s also interesting to note that knowledge was mentioned in the previous verse.
- Grace and peace is multiplied to us through the knowledge of God.
- So we get grace, peace, and power to live a godly life through this knowledge. How important it is then.
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.
Through this knowledge we are given what?
- “exceeding great and precious promises.”
- This is greater evidence that the knowledge we gain is through the Bible. Why? Because in the word of God we are given great and precious promises. In the word, we find a God who cannot lie and whatever He says, it will come to pass.
- It is by these promises that we can become “partakers of the divine nature.” We can live a godly life.
- The nature of man, passed down from Adam and Eve, is corrupt. It has a bent towards evil. We have inherited tendencies that are wicked from our first parents after they sinned.
- But it is through the knowledge of the word of God that we can have this divine nature. Our natures can be changed. Our inward man, the inward heart.
And not only that. But it helps us to escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
- Peter could have just said that it helps us to escape the corruption of the world. But he highlights that the world and its corruption creeps into our hearts because of lust. It is because of our own desires that we are corrupted. This is our “normal” nature. What we naturally desire.
- So if that is the case, then the word of God, the knowledge of God, it changes our desires, it changes the things that we lust after.
- This is our escape. Not so much escape from a particular circumstance, but escape from our wicked hearts and desires. From a sinful nature to a divine nature.
2 Peter 1:5
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
“And beside this”
- This means “not only this” or “indeed and for this very reason.”
- So God has done His part. But there is another part to this equation. Obviously it is our part.
First thing we need to do?
- Give all diligence.
- After reading the word of God, after praying for the Holy Spirit, we need to give all diligence.
- What does this word diligence mean? Eagerness, earnestness, speed.
- With haste, we have to be eager and earnest to apply all that we have read.
But not just that. What else do we have to do?
- Add to our faith virtue.
- Why does Peter start with faith? He is writing to those that already have faith.
- 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.
- They have obtained faith already through the righteousness of Christ.
- 2 Peter 1:1
- We have all been given a measure of faith.
- Romans 12:3
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
- Romans 12:3
- So faith is our starting point. And we are to add to our faith, virtue.
We also have seen virtue in 2 Peter already. Verse 3.
- We gain virtue through the knowledge of Jesus.
- The word virtue means moral goodness, moral excellence. It has to do with our thoughts and feelings. This is referring to the very fiber of our character.
So the foundation is faith. And we have to add to that a virtuous life.
And then we add to virtue what?
- We add knowledge.
- What do we need a knowledge of?
- 2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
- We need to grow in the knowledge of Jesus.
- Even though faith is adding virtue to our lives and our character is changing, Peter exhorts us that we should never stop pursuing the knowledge of God in our lives, no matter how holy we may be.
- This knowledge of God is saving knowledge.
- John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
2 Peter 1:6
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
Then we are to add temperance.
- Temperance means self-control. This is not simply referring to our diet, but in every part of our lives.
- Temperance is also a fruit of the Spirit.
- Galatians 5:23
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Then to temperance we add patience.
- Peter seems to imply that we cannot be a patient person unless we are a temperate person. Or at least patience is closely allied with temperance. These characteristics are put in order for a reason.
- Maybe some of us are struggling with patience because we are not temperate.
- Patience is also a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, though it is called longsuffering.
- Patience means brave, steadfast perseverance under adversity.
- So if we wish to keep moving forward though there be trials or problems, we need to be temperate.
To patience we add godliness.
- Godliness is holiness, piety towards God.
- Godliness is already mentioned in 2 Peter already.
- 2 Peter 1:3
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.
- God has given us all things that pertain to godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- Here in Peter’s ladder, we are to add in order:
- Then godliness.
- The knowledge of Jesus adds so much more than just a godly life as we see in this ladder. There is temperance and patience also.
2 Peter 1:7
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
“to godliness brotherly kindness.”
- In the Greek it is the word philadelphia which means brotherly love.
- This is not just love for our actual family, but love for our brothers and sisters in the church, and love for people all around us.
Then finally, “to brother kindness charity.”
- This is that agape love that is the unconditional love that God has for all of us. The love that only seeks the good of the one that we love.
- If we are to have agape love, we must first have that brotherly love for each other.
- And this love is based on knowledge. Not knowledge of the person we are to love. Sometimes that knowledge that we gain of a person might make us love them less.
- But this love is based on the knowledge that we have of our Saviour Jesus.
- It is a holy affection. It is tied in with godliness and living a holy life.
Point the youth to Peter’s ladder of eight rounds, and place their feet, not on the highest round, but on the lowest, and with earnest solicitation urge them to climb to the very top. Mar 84.2
Christ … is the ladder. The base is planted firmly on the earth in His humanity; the topmost round reaches to the throne of God in His divinity. The humanity of Christ embraces fallen humanity, while His divinity lays hold upon the throne of God. We are saved by climbing round after round of the ladder, looking to Christ, clinging to Christ, mounting step by step to the height of Christ, so that He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the rounds of this ladder. All these graces are to be manifested in the Christian character; and “if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 33 Mar 84.3
- We need to climb this ladder which is Christ. We must keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him. We must cling to Him. He is our all in all. He is our everything.
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.
If the 8 steps of Peter’s ladder are found in our lives, it is evidence that we have the knowledge of God in our lives.
- Peter brings us back to the importance of having that knowledge, of having the scriptures, in our hearts and minds.
- Though we have looked at all these fruits, let us not forget the foundation, which is the knowledge of Jesus. This is how we cling to Christ and look at Christ.
2 Peter 1:9
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
What is the result of being blind?
- We lack the fruits mentioned in Peter’s ladder.
- Also, we cannot see afar off.
- And we forget that we have been purged from our old sins.
This blindness is the same blind mentioned in Revelation in regard to the church of Laodicea.
- Revelation 3:17
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
- The lukewarm state of the church is the result of being blind also.
- Unless we have the knowledge of Jesus in our hearts, we will become lukewarm.
Somehow the topic of forgiveness and cleansing of our past is brought up.
- This means that true cleansing of sin will produce the good fruit in our lives. We are not just cleansed from guilt and shame so that we can have eternal life. The grace of God produces fruit.
- So when Peter mentions in verse 2, “Grace and peace be multiplied,” he is wanting the fruits to be multiplied and added to our lives as well.
2 Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
What is our calling and election?
- We have not seen anywhere where we are called or elected here in 2 Peter.
- However, we do see something in 1 Peter.
- 1 Peter 1:15
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.
- We are called to live a holy life. And part of that holy life is these fruits that is found here in 2 Peter 1.
- 1 Peter 1:15
- But in the context of this chapter, it seems that the way to make our calling and election sure is to add to faith all these other virtues.
- And if we, by the grace of God, can do this, we will never fall. We will never go back to our old life of sin.
This has to be our focus. It will require diligence, effort, haste, self-exertion. If we expect our faith to automatically add all these virtues without any effort on our part, we are deceiving ourselves.
2 Peter 1:11
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The word “ministered” is the same Greek word that is used in verse 5 for the word “add.”
- If we add all these virtues, then God will add to us eternal life.
- Salvation is full and free. However, there are prerequisites. And this is one of them. We must climb Peter’s ladder.
2 Peter 1:12
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.
From the way Peter has written here, it seems that he has communicated to his audience of the things that he is writing here. It is not new for them.
- They know it. Yet he is exhorting them again to remember it and not forget.
- And moreover he wants them to be established in the present truth.
- In his first epistle, Peter also wanted them to be established also.
- 1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
- Why is it important to be established in the truth? Suffering and trials will come. Persecution will come.
- This is why it is important to climb the ladder of virtues. If not, we will not be ready for the crisis ahead. It is not just simply a prerequisite to enter into heaven, but we need this character transformation in order to withstand the end time events.
2 Peter 1:13-14
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, 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.
Peter senses that maybe his time is coming to a close, that his earthly life will be taken away soon.
- And so he feels that it is of utmost importance that he keeps reminding them of this fact that they need to be established in the present truth.
- He wants to stir them up, to arouse them and wake them up.
- This is the same duty we must feel as well. Repeated truth is important truth. And no matter how long we have been established in the truth, we must keep reminding ourselves lest Satan steal a march upon us. The world has its way of making us forget of present circumstances and responsibilities and also future end-time events.
2 Peter 1:15
Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
Peter’s wish is that even after he is dead that they would always remember.
- Not remember him, but remember the present truth.
2 Peter 1:16
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.
What Peter is sharing with them is not some sort of myth that they made up.
- Peter himself was an eyewitness of all that Jesus did whilst He was on earth. Of all His miracles. Even he himself experienced walking on water. He saw the transfiguration of Christ. He saw Christ after His resurrection.
- He saw the power of God displayed and working through Jesus.
2 Peter 1:17-18
17 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.
There were two instances of when these words were said of Christ – “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
- Matthew 3:17
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
- This was after Jesus was baptized.
- Matthew 17:5
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
- This was after Jesus was transfigured.
- What Peter is referring to is the transfiguration of which he was definitely an eyewitness, and it was also in the mount.
- This is that time that Peter says Jesus received honour and glory. And yes, Christ was glorified with the glory of God right before Peter’s eyes.
2 Peter 1:19
We have also 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:
Peter is about to establish even more about the coming of Christ and His power. What is it?
- The “more sure word of prophecy.” The scriptures. In particular he was referring to the Old Testament.
- He asks us to take heed – to be cautious, to pay attention and to be careful to apply it to oneself. It’s not enough to just know about it or hear it, but it must be applied.
- But Peter saw clearly how the Old Testament pointed forward to the first coming of Christ and how the scriptures were fulfilled. This is evident by the sermon that he gave on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:22-36).
Peter compares the word of prophecy to a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawns.
- That light can also easily be applied to the scriptures as well (Psalms 119:105).
What is the day star that arises in our hearts?
- It is referring to Christ of course.
- The day star is also known as the morning star. And clearly that is Christ – Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16.
- The morning star is usually seen just before dawn and is usually the brightest or most dazzling star in the sky. It is a sign that the sun is about to rise.
- But Peter wants the day star to arise in our hearts. He wants the darkness in our hearts to be dispelled and cast away. And the only way for that to take place is through he more sure word of prophecy.
2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Clearly now that that word of prophecy is referring to the scriptures.
However, why would Peter bring up this thought of “private interpretation?”
- It wasn’t their own interpretation. It wasn’t any cunningly devised fable. This is in reference to the prophets that wrote the scripture.
- They did not come up with some fanciful idea to deceive people.
- But what was it then?
2 Peter 1:21
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.
The prophets, holy men and women, were inspired by the Holy Ghost.
- In contrast to that is the will of man – his own thoughts, his own desires, his own feelings.
- The scriptures are in contradiction with the desires of man. There will be a contention between us and the scriptures in our natural state. This is normal.
- But as the prophets were moved by the Holy Ghost, so we also need to be moved by the Holy Ghost as well.
- We need to allow the scriptures to shine into our hearts. It needs to shine in the darkness of our hearts.
- Only then can we build our faith and all the virtues on top of that as well. This is how we can look to Jesus and climb that ladder. It is a belief in what Peter writes here as well as the rest of the Bible.