Lesson 1 - Chapter 1: 1 - 4

Lesson 1 - Chapter 1: 1 - 4

Lesson for July 28, 2013

The Book of II Peter

Chapter 1:1-4

Introduction

This letter was written just before Peter died.  The whole purpose of this section of II Peter was to head off discouragement.  Sometimes we see from the Word of God the consequences of our failures in life and we wrongly assume that it is impossible for us to ever recover from our failures.  Peter, at this point, since he is dying, tells us that there is no such thing as a failure for which grace has not provided.  And one of the great things that we see in the first chapter of II Peter is the fact that grace has been provided for every failure of life, and that no matter what it is and no matter what the consequences may have been in divine punishment, there is no such thing as a failure for which grace has not made provision.  So there is no such thing as a believer who cannot recover.  The reason that some believers do not recover is the fact that they fail after rebound to add the intake and application of Bible doctrine.  Taking in Bible doctrine daily is going to take up the slack for anything in life, when properly applied.  There is no problem in life for which knowledge of doctrine will not bring you to the solution.

Verse 1

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Simon Peter combines his original name Simon and Peter, the name given to him by Jesus Christ.  Peter really isn’t a name, it is a nickname.  His name is Simon son of Jonas.  Peter means a little stone, and Jesus on one occasion gave him the name, He said, “Your name is “petros” and on this “petra” I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16)  “Petros” is a chip of a stone, and Christ is the “petra” the large stone.  Jesus said, “On this gigantic rock (me) I will build my Church,” not on Peter.  Why would Jesus build His church on a chip of stone when He could build it on a gigantic rock?  He wouldn’t and didn’t!

Bond-servant is the Greek word “doulos,” which refers to Peter as a bond-slave to Jesus Christ.  “and Apostle is the Greek word “apostolos,” which refers to Peter’s spiritual gift of apostleship.   All believers are to be bond-servants to Christ.   But all servants do not have the same rank or authority, so now he gave his rank of authority which is apostle, the highest spiritual gift.  An apostle was one who was sent in the ancient world to command the fleet and apostle really means an admiral of the fleet, the highest ranking admiral.  So it happens to be one of the words for a high ranking officer.  An apostle had to be appointed by the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation.  (1 Corinthians 12:11)  There were no apostles to the Church until after the ascension of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28)  An apostle had to be an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ, which eliminates certain people like Timothy and Titus who have often been considered apostles.  There were only twelve really and Paul was the twelfth one; Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road. (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8-9) And apostles also had other miraculous gifts such as the gift of healing, and Paul had the gift of tongues, for example.  These gifts were simply used to back up authority.  Apostleship only existed until the Canon of Scripture was completed, which was also the end of all temporary spiritual gifts.  Peter, in dying, recognizes that he still has his rank.  To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours refers to salvation faith.  At salvation all believers have equal faith and receive equal righteousness.  It takes only a small amount of faith to be eternally saved. There are no degrees of faith in salvation as there are in the Christian life. 

Verse 2

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the address of this epistle, as always, there is the word grace to indicate the plan of the Father and to remind the believers in the greeting that the reason that they are still alive and are the recipient of this epistle, as all epistles, is because of grace.  We understand that grace not only is the one-word designation for the plan of God but it is God’s policy with regard to the human race.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Grace is God doing all the work.  Grace is not only God working but grace is the way in which God can work on our behalf, love us, provide for us, and still retain His perfect character.  So grace is God freely giving all things to us as believers; grace depends on Who and what God is, and grace is the manner in which we are to operate in this life.  Peace is always the result of grace.  You should notice that in Peter’s epistles multiplication is a favorite word of the great apostle.

Be multiplied is the Greek word “plethuno,” which means to cause to increase, but it also means to accumulate.   The word “accumulation” might be more in keeping with the Greek tense here.  This means that from the time of salvation, the entrance into the plan of God and during the whole course of your spiritual life until you depart into eternity, grace and peace are to be multiplied in your life.  So God has expressed His intention of multiplying grace and peace in our lives.  Grace and peace are received; they are never earned or deserved.  There is no way that you can gain the approbation of God.  God operates on the basis of His character, not on the basis of our character.  While it is God’s desire for grace and peace to be multiplied there is still the matter of the individual believer’s volition — primarily his attitude toward doctrine which, in turn, gives him an attitude with regard to God’s policies and plan in this life.  Notice that grace and peace are not identified with anything that we can do, any work, any function on our part, but inevitably it is related to Bible doctrine in our soul.

“Christianity” today has people running around doing something — a system of “spirituality” by doing something — they always want to know how much witnessing you are doing, how much of this or that you are doing, how involved you are in the church program.  Most programs of apostasy are designed to make you feel guilty for not doing your part.  Relationship with God is based on what God thinks, and that is grace.  What God thinks is doctrine.  The emphasis of the Word of God is doctrine in your soul.  God’s desires get into your soul through doctrine.  You can always tell apostasy because apostasy always has you hustling, working, doing, impressing yourself, impressing others, meeting human standards, and you are often challenged as to how involved you are and how much you are “doing for God.”  This is all totally and completely erroneous.  God’s plan is grace, not human works.  And the result is peace.  And grace and peace are only multiplied by means of spiritual knowledge, which is called “epignosis” in Greek.  It is much more important for you to be taking in Bible doctrine and getting to know Jesus Christ than anything else in life.  

Verse 3

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and excellence.

Only God’s divine power can grant what is necessary for the life of a believer and according to this verse He has done just that for each of us.  The Greek word for granted is “doreomai,”which means to give without any strings.  It is the strongest verb in the Greek language for gratuity.  By His power we are given all things necessary for the execution of the Christian Way of Life.  At salvation every believer in Christ receives 40 spiritual assets ready to be accessed.  These spiritual assets are accessed by means of spiritual growth which requires knowledge of Bible doctrine. 

Godliness is spirituality.  The Greek word for godliness is “eusebeia,” which means executing the Christian life under the filling of the Holy Spirit.  You can never divorce Bible doctrine from the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit from Bible doctrine.  Any doctrine that you understand is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Godliness (God-likeness) is what the Holy Spirit can produce if allowed to do so.  True knowledge of Bible doctrine increases a believer’s capacity to receive blessing from God and is the blue print for Christian living.  True knowledge is accurate Bible doctrine. 

Who called us by His own glory and excellence should have been translated “Who called us for His own glory and excellence.”   Excellence is another word for virtue.  We glorify God when we develop Christian virtue.  Virtue is produced by believers who consistently reside and function within God’s power system.  Virtue is strength of character, bravery, courage, capability, worthiness, excellence, and high moral and ethical standards.  The Greek word used for virtue is “arete,” which refers to the qualities developed by consistently residing in God’s divine power system over time.  Virtue is developed through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to positive believers as they learn, believe and apply accurate Bible doctrine. (II Peter 1:2-4; Philippians 4:8)  You cannot develop divine virtue by means of human viewpoint thinking or following some human formula.  Divine virtue is developed only within the system God designed.  His system is perfect, unlike mankind’s “system for success.”

A believer is a legalist if they think that they can develop virtue by means of their human works.  A legalist may outwardly look spiritual because of their seemingly high moral character.  But remember that morality and spiritually are not the same.  Attempting to glorify God and execute the Christian Way of Life by means of human works (morality) is getting “the cart before the horse.”  This attempt is tantamount to confusing your priestly function with your function as an ambassador.  Even an unbeliever can be moral, but can never be spiritual. 

Personal and impersonal love is the quintessence of virtue.  Personal love for God and impersonal love for mankind when properly executed demonstrate the virtue that has been developed by the advancing believer through the persistent intake and application of accurate Bible doctrine.  Christian virtue refers to these qualities in a person as God has designed us to be.  Virtue in the Christian life can be produced only under the control of the Holy Spirit by maximum application of the Word of God. A believer needs a power greater than himself in order to acquire and apply virtue.  He needs the same power that our Lord Jesus Christ had while here on earth (the Holy Spirit). Remember, Jesus pioneered the Christian life for us while being tested in every way that we are tested, except without sin. (I John 4:9; II Peter 1:2-4)

Verse 4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

The Greek word for precious is “timios,” which means costly or of great value.  Magnificent is the Greek word “megas” combined with “megista” meaning a number of extremely valuable favors or blessings.  The word promises is the Greek word “epangelma,” which refers to a promise made, or it can mean the actual thing that is promised and given.  Either way the promises of God are extremely valuable and they are ours for the taking if we have the spiritual capacity to do so.

Remember that the promises of God are Bible doctrine.  The word partakers means we become partners with God when we choose to avail ourselves to His promises, which is application of Bible doctrine.  This verse does not mean that we become deity.  We become partakers of the God’s nature when we apply the doctrine in our souls.  In other words, we are using the Faith-Rest Drill to claim God’s promises and enter into a partnership with our Savior Jesus Christ as His representatives on earth.  The divine nature is in every believer because the entire Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit indwell us.  The key to being partakers of this nature is to partner with God the Holy Spirit in allowing the character of Jesus Christ to be formed in you by means of application of Bible doctrine.

The corruption that is in the world was introduced to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by Satan.  This corruption was Satan’s downfall in eternity past when he rebelled against God.  Lust means desiring something that you should not have, that is not good for you and is against the will of God.  Lust seduced Eve into eating the fruit of the forbidden tree and Adam followed her lead.  What followed was the spiritual death of Adam and Eve and the introduction of the sin nature into the human race.  Since that time Satan has continued to appeal to the sin nature of mankind.  The only escape from the problem of the sin nature is faith in Christ, the filling of the Holy Spirit and the consistent intake and application of accurate Bible doctrine.