In our study, we look at the confidence that he had in Christ even as he knew he was going to die for his faith. We will also see how we can have that same confidence and be truly free from all fear and doubt. We should remember that this letter was written by the same apostle that denied even knowing Jesus three times before His death. His first letter told us of the hope that he had and what it meant in his daily life. Now, we will see how that hope was made sure and he had the confidence to face what was ahead of him.
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
He opens this letter by introducing himself and it is important to notice that he put "servant" before "apostle". The actual word that is translated as servant is better translated as bondslave or bondservant which is a much stronger term. There are many leaders today that are more proud of their titles than they are of the fact that they are servants of the living God. Peter remained humble as we see through his putting servanthood ahead of apostleship. He addresses this letter to fellow believers in Jesus Christ and only brothers and sisters in Christ will be able to understand this letter. We also are reminded that our righteousness is not our own (by works) but is given to us through Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
In this greeting, we see that grace comes before peace as it is only by that grace that we can have peace with God or anyone else. We also see that they both come from knowledge of God and Jesus. (That is why we study God's Word) Grace is a gift but we cannot accept it if we don't know that it is being offered. We have peace through the Word in that we are saved by the promises of God from what He has said is to come. If we keep our eyes on the fact that we will be raised to reign with Him, then we have an internal peace. That peace does not depend on our present circumstances but is built on the fact that we know they are only temporary.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We have everything that we need to live for God and to be a light in this world. We are reminded here that it is only by God's calling us that we came to accept His grace as we would not have even looked for Him on our own. When He called us, He also gave us the Holy Spirit which gives us the knowledge of God's will and the power to live the Christian life and to glorify God.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
We have the Bible and the Holy Spirit living in us and so we know of the promises that God has given us. Through those promises, we know that we will be with God forever and that He is in fact in us through that Spirit. Through the Spirit, we have overcome the evil of the world.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
Because God has called us to be saved and to honor Him with our lives, we are to grow in our walk with Him. Peter begins a list of areas we should work at growing in but we must realize that it is only through the very power of God that our growth is even possible. He says to add goodness to our faith but this goodness is not like we think of it. This would better be translated as "courage" rather than goodness and it is speaking to the fact that we should continue to grow more bold in our ability to declare the Word of God to the world even when it starts to cost us things.
and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
We are told to add knowledge to our faith but this means more than we think. When we think of knowledge, we probably think of learning more facts and storing them in our brain but this is different. This is talking about epignosis or a super knowledge where the heart is changed by Jesus Christ. On top of that knowledge we are to add self-control and for most of us this is a pretty obvious one. This is simply where we don't do things that we would like to do because they would not honor God. Through Christ, we have the power to control ourselves. Next is perseverance which is often associated with patience in dealing with things and other people but this is actually talking about endurance. It speaks to being able to endure hardship (persecution) because of your faith and to react in the same way that Christ did when He forgave those who crucified Him.
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Next, we are to add godliness to our faith and this speaks to conforming our minds and actions to be like those of Christ. This is accomplished through the power and work of the Holy Spirit and is commonly called sanctification. The last two things that Peter tells us to work on are similar. The first is brotherly kindness which is talking about us demonstrating God's love to other believers. The last is love itself but here it is talking about us demonstrating God's love to the people that do not believe in Jesus.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, we see the reason that we are to work on these areas and that is so that we will produce fruit for the kingdom. This list of qualities will help us to produce quality fruit and an increasing measure will produce more fruit. That fruit is simply helping others to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is important to note here that Peter does not say anything here about our salvation but only our effective witness once we are saved.
But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
If you are not growing in your faith and adding these things that Peter has listed, then your eyes are focused on the wrong thing. Many get caught up in the things of the world and spend more time on them than on learning about God or worship. They are focused on the here and now and have forgotten what it was like when they were first saved. This is what the believers in Ephesus were warned of in Revelation 2:4.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Many have misunderstood Peter in this passage and took it to mean that we can lose our salvation but that is not what he is saying. He is saying that, if you grow in these things, you will be more sure in your heart and mind of what you have. You will not doubt and struggle with fear which is from the devil and you will receive your rewards in the second judgment. (Revelation 20)
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.
There is much in the Word of God and, even though we may have a firm grasp on our faith, we still should study the entire Word of God to keep it fresh in our minds. Just as Peter said here, we hope to remind you of parts that you may not have studied for awhile.
I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
Peter knew that he was going to die for his faith and that it was going to be before Jesus came back to get the church. That is why he did not spend much time telling of that day.
And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
He spent his time helping others (including us) to realize what we have in Christ. He consistently preached the same message of hope and through repetition as well as example the people of that day were able to remember. Peter must have also had someone write these letters and preserve them and they have been passed on to us even today.
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Peter is talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the fact that he was a witness of what happened. The cleverly invented stories that he is talking about is that the religious leaders got together and made up the story that Jesus' body was stolen (see Matthew 28:11-15).
For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
This is the message that God gave when Jesus was baptized (Luke 3:21-22) as well as when he was transfigured (Matthew 17:5). He was declared to be the Son of God and the belief in that fact is how we can tell whether a message is from God or from the devil. (see 1 John 4).
We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
Peter tells us that he was an eyewitness and so he knows that it is true. This is a reminder for us of how we can share the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is to simply share with people what you have seen God do in your own personal life.
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, 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.
Peter reminds us that the Old Testament prophets spoke about things that had not yet been seen but he was an eyewitness to many of the events that they spoke about. It is a time of darkness in the world right now but Jesus is the bright morning star. In nature, the morning star follows after a night of darkness and appears just before the dawning of a new day.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Biblical prophecy does not come from man but from God speaking to the hearts of men. It is not about what the man wants but is simply delivering a message that God has for a person or persons.