Life and Godliness
2 Peter 1
1 Simon Peter, bondman and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have received like precious faith with us through the righteousness of our God and Saviour 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 which relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue, 4 through which he has given to us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The Life of Practical Godliness (vv.5-11)
5 But for this very reason also, using therewith all diligence, in your faith have also virtue, in virtue knowledge, 6 in knowledge temperance, in temperance endurance, in endurance godliness, 7 in godliness brotherly love, in brotherly love love: 8 for these things existing and abounding in you make you to be neither idle nor unfruitful as regards the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; 9 for he with whom these things are not present is blind, short-sighted, and has forgotten the purging of his former sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, use diligence to make your calling and election sure, for doing these things ye will never fall; 11 for thus shall the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be richly furnished unto you.
The Sureness of the Word of God (vv.12-21)
12 Wherefore I will be careful to put you always in mind of these things, although knowing them and established in the present truth. v.12 The “present truth” was the truth specific to Christianity, as opposed to the law. The “present truth” when Peter was writing is still the “present truth” today. Peter was careful to go over the same things again and again, in order that the brethren would be “established” in the truth.
13 But I account it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance, 14 knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle is speedily to take place, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has manifested to me; 15 but I will use diligence, that after my departure ye should have also, at any time, in your power to call to mind these things. vv.13-15 Peter was a very unique case. He knew that he would die. For the rest of us, it would not be proper to speak of our own death as a sure thing. God puts the hope of the Lord’s coming before us as our any-moment expectation… not death. But in John 21, the Lord had “manifested” to Peter that he would “stretch forth his hands” (be crucified), and be “carried wither thou wouldest not”. Any yet Peter was unselfish… he was thinking about and making preparations for the coming generation, those who would outlive him. How different than Hezekiah, who said, “Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19).
16 For we have not made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly imagined fables, but having been eyewitnesses of “his” majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, such a voice being uttered to him by the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom “I” have found my delight; 18 and this voice “we” heard uttered from heaven, being with him on the holy mountain. vv.16-18 The things we Christians believe are not “cleverly imagined fables”… they are veritable truths. Peter and the other apostles saw “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” in a thumbnail sketch on the mount of transfiguration. They were “eyewitnesses”. The enemies of Christ try to make Christianity appear foolish, and unbelievable, but we have the inspired accounts of those who saw the glory of Christ with their own eyes, and heard the Father’s voice with their own ears. Notice that the voice was directed to the Son, but heard by those around.
A Sketch of the Kingdom in Glory. In the “holy mount”, three witnesses were given a view of the official glory of Christ unveiled. His “face shone as the sun”; the sun being a figure of highest glory in administration, picturing the Lord “ruling” the Millennial “day” (Gen. 1:16) when “the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2). In conversation with the glorified Son of Man were two Old Testament saints of great renown; the law-giver and the greatest prophet of antiquity. They are with Christ in glory, so together they represent the heavenly saints who will reign with Christ for 1000 years. Moses represents the resurrected saints because he alone was buried by Jehovah, and Elijah represents the raptured saints because he alone was taken to heaven without dying! Peter, James, and John represented the Jewish remnant (saints on earth). Altogether, we have a picture of the Millennial kingdom with its heavenly and earthly companies. The message from heaven is corrective. We need to realize that Jesus is not merely a great man, like one of the prophets… He is God’s Son, the supreme revelation of Himself. This is really the subject of the book of Hebrews: God spoke in times past through great men, but now has spoken in the Person of His Son, and you had better hear Him!
19 And we have the prophetic word made surer, to which ye do well taking heed (as to a lamp shining in an obscure place) until the day dawn and the morning star arise in your hearts; v.19 The transfiguration scene confirmed the subject of Old Testament prophecy; “we have the prophetic word made surer”. In a broader sense, the New Testament revelation, far from setting aside the promises of a Millennial kingdom, confirm that hope. This is a point of GREAT importance. Israel’s failure in the Old Testament did not shake the promises of God concerning the glorification of Christ. The New Testament revelation agrees with and actually bolsters the claims of the Old! The prophetic word is pictured as “a lamp shining in an obscure place”, while the New Testament revelation is like “the day dawn”. Old Testament prophecy was like a lamp (small light; e.g. flashlight) shining in the dark, lighting up the path ahead for the faithful. The “present truth” (Christian teaching) does not set aside the lamp of prophecy, but swallows it up and surpasses it! We need to take heed to the lamp of prophecy, and we need to interpret it in the light of “day”, in the light of the New Testament. But there is more; “until… the morning star arise in your hearts”. Peter carries the thought beyond “light” or knowledge to the things of “your hearts”. The “day star” is the expectation of Christ Himself as the believer’s hope; for it was Jesus who said “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). It is not exactly an event that is the believer’s hope… but a Person. “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus“ (Rev. 22:20). “Behold, the Bridegroom!” (Matt. 25:6). The New Testament puts the believer’s heart in expectation of the Person of Christ.
20 knowing this first, that the scope of no prophecy of scripture is had from its own particular interpretation, 21 for prophecy was not ever uttered by the will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of the Holy Spirit.