Greetings 2 Peter 1:1-4.
Peter Identifies himself as the apostle and the bondservant of Jesus Christ. He never sought any celebrity status. Peter was a servant of Christ and showed deep humility to his master (Exodus 21:5, 6; Deuteronomy 15:12-17). He was divinely chosen and commissioned to be an apostle by Christ. Peter knew that being a servant of Christ he was accountable to the Lord. Peter was a recipient of divine revelation. He was sent with authority by Christ to speak in His name. Peter refers to his authorship of his first and second epistles in chapter 3:1. He also recalls the transfiguration experience of Christ on the mount (2 Peter 1:16). He wishes believers grace and peace multiplied as they come to know Jesus better. This letter was addressed to believers who have shared the same precious faith with apostles. They are saved in the same way apostles are saved, by grace through faith in Christ. Peter points out that all that pertains unto life and godliness is given to believers. Christians are partakers of divine life because they are in Christ. The divine nature comes through our relationship with Jesus our Lord (1:3). His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. Our standing before God is by the righteousness of Christ. In Christ we have everything needed to live a life that honors God. Peter wishes readers more grace and peace as they grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. His divine power works in us to live a godly life. God has given us his wonderful promises to become partakers of the divine nature in Christ. He has promised that the believers will escape from the bondage of sin and will be able to live for the glory of God. They are also promised that they will escape the corruption all around them caused by their evil desire and share in Christ’s divine nature. Christians should take hold of God’s great and precious promises to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Christian Responsibilities: 2 Peter 1:5-7.
Now Peter calls on believers to make every effort to support the faith that has been given to them by God. This faith is not something the believer could produce. They should add to their God given faith, seven spiritual virtues to support their Christian life. They have already received the precious faith in Christ. Faith is the God given ability to respond to His grace and righteousness revealed in Christ. This is the saving faith. Believers should make every effort to support their God-given faith with virtue or moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better and intimately. Christians are called to know Christ experientially and make him known to others. This knowledge helps them to have self control. Self control leads to patient endurance. The Patient endurance leads to godliness or Christ-likeness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians. This is the mark of Christians that they care for one another. This brotherly love leads to selfless love for everyone. Here Peter is referring to our experiential knowledge of Christ. As we grow in this knowledge of Christ, we are being transformed into the likeness of him. We must make every effort to live out the qualities of Christian life. Moral excellence implies Christ-likeness. Knowledge comes from the Word of God and through Christian experiences. This helps us to make sound spiritual discernment. Self-control speaks of dying to self and yielding to Christ to control us. Lack of self control can destroy our testimony. Patience is the ability to endure adversity. Godliness speaks of practical holiness. Brotherly kindness is love in action. It should be manifested in our giving and caring of other believers. Love speaks of unconditional love for all. It is supernatural in nature (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13). Love is not a matter of emotion but will. If these qualities abound in us, we become effective and fruitful in Christian life. These virtues flow from Christ. Spiritual growth does not happen automatically. Christians should take hold of God's precious promises and grow in the knowledge of Christ.
The Danger of Not Growing: 2 Peter 1: 8-11.
The more we grow spiritually, the more we become Christlike and useful to God. Otherwise we become ineffective or unfruitful in the Christian life. The knowledge of Christ must demonstrate the reality of our transformed life. Otherwise we become shortsighted or blind. Satan, the god of this world has blinded the minds of people not to believe in Christ. Those who fail to develop these virtues are blind and shortsighted. They become short sighted by not looking for eternal blessings like Abraham looked for (Hebrews 11:10). When we focus on the hope of glorious inheritance in heaven, the world begins to lose its appeal. They forget that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin (1:9). So, Peter urges believers to make sure of their calling and election. Those who do this will not stumble and fall away. They will have a rich entrance in the eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns. Otherwise they would fail to welcome Christ with confidence when Christ returns (1 John 2:28). Our rich entrance happens when our Labor is evaluated and we will be rewarded for our faithful service by God. All other works will be burned up and suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Those who serve Christ faithfully and endure suffering for him will have abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. They will hear from the Lord “Good and faithful servant" (Luke 19:17). They will reign with Christ in the Kingdom of God (2 Timothy 2:12). Therefore let us make every effort to grow spiritually!
Christian are being Transformed: 1:12-15.
There is an urgency in Peter’s writing. He knew that his days on earth are numbered and very soon he was going to die (2 Peter 1:14). So Peter wanted to bring these things to their remembrance because they are prone to forget what they have been taught. Christians are justified freely by faith in Christ. Justification is instantaneous and it is a legal act of God. Thus we have been declared not guilty and become positionally righteous. Some teach that one should prove righteous before declaring righteous. That is not true. Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Otherwise there would not be any story like the story of the woman at the well and the woman caught in the act of adultery in the Bible. Justified people are being sanctified. The sanctification is an internal, progressive and subjective process. In sanctification we are cleansed from the influences of sins and enabled by the new nature to live a holy life. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us gives us the inner desire and motivation to be conformed to the image of Christ. Believers cannot continue to live in sin forever. The idea, "Let go and let God" is not biblical. We are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Fear is reverential awe and trust to see life from God's perspective. Salvation is personal, practical and a present life experience. It is the result of the divine work accomplished at Calvary by Jesus Crist. It includes past, present and future blessings of justification, sanctification and glorification. God wants our trust, obedience and cooperation in working out our salvation (2 Peter 1:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:12). Christian Life is not lived on auto pilot.
Importance of the Scripture: 2 Peter 1: 16-21.
False teachers were using clever stories about the second coming of Christ to influence believers. They lacked clear knowledge of the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again (1:16). But apostles preached Christ because they were eyewitnesses of Him. Here Peter recalls his experience on the mount of transfiguration. He was an eyewitness of the majesty of Christ (Matthew 17). So he wants us to know that Christ and his message are not cleverly devised stories or myths (1:16). False teachers knew about Christ but the apostle knew Christ. The gospel is trustworthy and we must pay close attention to the Word of God when presented. The Old Testament prophets had predicted Christ’s coming in power and glory. They are like a lamp shining in a dark place. It is the most sure Word in a dark world to guide us. The Old Testament prophecies are about Christ (John 5:39). Christ is the true light and He should shine in our hearts. The false teachers distorted and misapplied the scripture for selfish gain. Scripture did not come from human initiative or insight but from God. When prophets wrote the holy scriptures, they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is reliable because it is the Word of God. Pray that God's Word would give insight to guide us in the fallen world.