Peter begins his second letter, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:1), which addresses himself as an honored servant of Jesus Christ, who gave him the authority to deliver the commands and instructions which will follow in this letter.
He goes on, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet 1:2-4)
Peter’s greeting, with the full authority Jesus bestowed upon him as apostle, is a prayer that his readers would find abundant grace and peace in knowing God and Jesus the Lord. Peter identifies knowing God as the right path to peace and grace. Peter goes to tell us that we are fully equipped to lead the life of godliness that God calls us to. But we have a choice about whether or not we’ll really use those spiritual tools, which requires effort on our part.
For those in Christ, God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Like salvation, all of this was ours when we came to know God (through faith in Christ). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3).
As Peter will make clear, knowing God, the source of all life, is the only path to being fully equipped to live as God calls us to do: “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:3).
And how does He call us? By His own “glory and virtue”, meaning “moral excellence”. Jesus sets the standard for what is good and glorious, calls for us to follow, and fully equips us by His divine power to live in this world in godliness because He gives us His power to “escape the corruption that is in the world”. How are we able to escape? The phrase is used is both vv 2 and 3: “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” and “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”.
Peter, the courageous, experienced, and faithful apostle who was given authority by Jesus Himself to deliver the commands and instructions from Jesus pens a letter of warning. The first warning sign we come across in this letter is that without KNOWING Jesus, we cannot live a life of godliness. “Knowing” Jesus means having a relationship with Him. A Christian does not only know about Christ, but a Christian also knows Christ personally. When Jesus prayed in Jn 17:3, He stated that eternal life is knowing the one true God and the Son whom He sent.
To know Christ personally means to get to know Him as you would a friend: spending time together, and having vulnerable conversations. Talking regularly is an important part of a relationship. To know Jesus is not just to read about Him educationally, but also to spend time understanding who He is. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” (1 Jn 5:20) We must pray for understanding so that we can know Jesus, the Son, God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit.
He calls us to follow His example; and He has equipped us to do so. Because Jesus lived a sinless life and is now in glory forever, we have been given something of enormous worth: “exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”.
Since God cannot lie and does not fail to keep His Word (Heb 6:18), a promise from Him is a declaration of certainty; a tangible gift. So what are some of the things God promised us?
- Eternity in His family: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:29)
- An end to our suffering: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
- Transformation by the power of His Holy Spirit: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor 5:17)
- Purpose and meaning forever: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)
These promises of God are of such great value that merely possessing them has already given us the right to participate in His “divine nature”. In other words, we are already partners with Christ in the work God is doing in the world. More specifically, we are, right now, able to begin to answer Jesus’ call to live in His glory and goodness. But we must make the effort to spend time with Him, in His Word and in prayer to consistently escape the corruption in this world by participating in Jesus’s divine nature. Thank You, Jesus!