2Pe 1:1-12 NKJV 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) Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (3) 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, (4) 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. (5) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, (6) to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, (7) to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (8) For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (10) Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (11) for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (12) For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
Peter presents himself as a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, the apostle part is what he has been appointed to, the bondservant is another thing entirely. In Israel at that time, if you were heavily in debt, you could sell yourself to the one you owed the debt and by your labor for a set time pay off the debt.
Sometimes in these situations, if you actually had a better life under the master who you served, when the debt was paid, you could actually voluntarily become a servant for life to that person. The Greek word for this
is doulos signifies that you are in bondage, to the master. Peter therefore identifies himself as having voluntarily become a slave, and then Christ appointed him as an apostle. Next Peter talks about the folks he is writing to having received or obtained the same precious faith as Peter himself. The word used for obtained, is lagchano lang-khan-o and it means “determine by lot”.
Today we might say, he won the lottery, or as we see after the Crucifixion, and Judas killing himself, the replacement is chosen by lot. That is the implication here with this word, that they obtained the faith by luck. Of course it is more complicated than that, they obtained salvation because they believed in the teaching they received and came to have faith that Jesus was truly the savior. He goes on to say that this faith is by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. In other words, God in his righteousness, accepted the faith of these believers just as God accepts the faith of us today, and imparts to all who believe the righteousness of Christ to all of us. This says that in our faith we receive the death and resurrection of Christ as our own death and resurrection and that the debt owed to God for our sin, is fully paid, and God now justifies those who have repented of sin because they believe in Jesus as the savior.
I love the next verse because here Peter prays that grace and peace might be multiplied to those who have believed. He wants them to have the knowledge because of the grace of God through the gracious acts of Christ. Further he wants us to have our hearts guarded by the peace of God, that passes all understanding.
Note that this is not in small doses, not to be a teaspoon at a time, but rather HUGE amounts of His grace overflowing our lives. As we spend time in the word we come to know God and the more we know God the greater is the blessing in our own lives. Basically he is saying, we need to live in the word, not in the world.
Now we come to the meat of the matter, Peter is talking about developing strong Christian character and he starts out by telling us that God has made provision for us to live holy lives. Verse 3 tells us how this is so: “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,” In other words, God’s power is that which saves us and then energizes us to live holy lives from that time forward. The gospel, the word delivered, is that power of God that saves us from the penalty of sin, from the hellfire and defilement. So the power to live a holy life comes from knowledge of God, that knowledge allows the water of life to run through us with the power of God to holiness. John 17:3 tells us “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” As we progress in our lives, gaining more knowledge of God we shall also progress in holy living. The more we gain in knowledge of Him, the more we become like our savior and Lord.
Peter now goes on to talk about the promises of God, all of which move us further into the life of holiness. John Bunyan once said that, “the pathway of life is strewn so thickly with the promises of God that it is impossible to take one step without treading on one of them.” One other point, God makes the promises, he calls to each of us during our lives, but God does not force us to become saved. That would put the lie to FREE WILL, God has given us the right to choose to say no.
I am always amazed when I hear one of these TV preachers tell people that the only reason they don’t have riches, and all that goes with that, is that they don’t have enough faith. One of the truths of the gospel, is that faith has to exist before you can come to the realization of salvation, if you did not believe, you would not have accepted Jesus as Lord of your life. I used to dream that one day I would have a big house and a Caddy and lots of money. Instead God said, I want you to be a pastor, to small churches. Before I retired I had served two and three churches at a time, none of them larger than 40 members, one with only 8 members.
I came to realize what it meant to be truly rich, not with money, but with the presence of God in my life in all the varied situations that I found myself in over the years. Faith is the first step in realizing who we truly are, and why we need a savior. Peter now says we need to add to that faith first virtue. Virtue is usually thought of as good morals, piety and things of that nature, I think that Peter here is using virtue to mean courage, spiritual willingness to stand before a world that is increasingly hostile to the way of Christ. Church history is full of examples of this type of courage, one of the stories told is of Archbishop Cranmer of Canterbury burned at the stake on
21 March 1566 under Roman Catholic Queen Mary. Cranmer had recanted his faith in writing, they brought him to a service at St. Mary’s Church in London. At which time Cranmer, took the liberty to renounce his previous writing saying that he repented before God of having written it. They took him out to the town square and he stood tall taking off his outer garments and going into the stake, he asked that his hands not be bound. When the fire was lit, he stuck out his right hand saying that since it was the hand that wrote the lies, it would be first to be punished he placed his hand into the fire, and held it there as long as he could. The flames claimed his body.
That is a difficult tale, and there is much more to it. That I believe is the virtue that Peter is speaking of. Next Peter speaks of knowledge, the importance of studying God’s word and learning what it says about the way we are to live as children of God. Next is Self-control, or discipline, James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” We are to learn to discipline our coarser nature, to live our lives in such a way as to show what it means to be a godly man or woman. In a world that is increasingly immoral, where politics has become a destructive force in our nation, where we work to destroy anyone who stands in our way, those of us who profess Christ, must adhere to a better way. Next Peter speaks of perseverance, we are to work patiently in the face of adversity we are to be the calming influence. I am reminded that the church in China, not the state church, but the House Church movement, is growing by leaps and bounds in the face of persecution, the Church is also growing in the Middle East, ISIS has forced people to take a look at who they are, and many are turning to Christ. Persevering is bearing up and moving forward in the face of all that comes against us.
Next is Godliness, we are to strive to emulate Christ in all that we do and say. Our lives should shine forth the light that is within us, that others will know that we are children of the God of the universe, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Paul tells Timothy in 1st Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”

Jesus said in Johns Gospel 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Peter adds this, Brotherly kindness which will identify us as disciples of Jesus. If we love one another, that will help us to love others as well, for if we are to change hearts and minds, we must do so as people who love. I was always upset when that church group would show up at funerals of our soldiers, with signs that said “God hates fags” and “God killed you for protecting them” I did not see much to like about that type of Christianity.
No matter what else we do, we cannot hate people, we can and should hate sin, but not those who are ensnared by it. How can we hope to change the world if we act in hateful ways, that is how the world acts. We can see that every day, I watched a you tube video the other day, of a man holding a sign trying to show that God wanted repentance for sin, and he named sins in the sign. He just stood on the outside of the campus of a college, he was calm and refused to even raise his voice as a young man began to curse him. As he calmly stood there, the young man became more and more angry, and finally started to attack the man with the sign. Another man stepped in and stopped the attack or things might have gotten much uglier, but, the man with sign, still stood quietly, then noticed that the young man had dropped something on the ground. He stepped down and picked it up and handed it to the young man. That infuriated the young man and he really tried to do bodily injury to the man with the sign, who still did not react.
Living a holy life is what we are called to do, that and to reach out to a fallen world, with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is shameful that the Church has become somewhat irrelevant in the society in which we live mainly because we have not shown ourselves to be the body of Christ.
We have allowed the government to take on that which was our duty as members of the family of God. We have forgotten that we have the Holy Spirit of God in us, and that we have the power to reach out and touch people with the grace of God. Let us never forget that we have the keys to the kingdom, we have entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our brother, Jesus, He who is also our savior and Lord. We are joint heirs with Him of the universe. As partakers of the Divine Nature we are called upon by our God to introduce Jesus to those we meet.
In a world steeped in sin, it is our place to be the light of the world, to shine forth the love of God for His creation, to show the way to Jesus, that all who believe will have eternal life. The apostle Paul said in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The word for gift is charisma the meaning of the word is “divine gratuity” or free gift. In other words God freely gives to all who believe eternal life in heaven with Christ.
Please understand that by loving the sinner, we are not condoning the sin, we are hoping that by loving the sinner, we can help them to find Christ and have the opportunity to repent and become, as we sinners, have already become, children of the living, Almighty and gracious God. What a wonderful and awesome gift we have to give to those who have not received Christ. Of course we must also realize that we cannot save anyone, only God can do that, and that the invitation does not mean that it will be accepted. That is a part of that Free Will thing, each person has the right to refuse that free gift of God. It hurts my heart when people say no, but when they say yes, and become saved people, there is great rejoicing in heaven.

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