2 Peter 1
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, v.3 Fully Equipped. The believer is fully equipped for the pathway. God’s “divine power” has equipped us: what can we lack? He has given us “all things which relate to life and godliness”. It is a life of communion with God that we are given, and a practical conduct of godliness that follows with it. What are the things that God has given us to help us enjoy that life and walk in godliness? First and foremost, we have God Himself dwelling in us; the indwelling Spirit. We have that which sustains us in the wilderness pathway; the intercession of Christ and the Word of God. Then, we have that which sustains us in the conflict with our three enemies; to face the Devil we have the armor of God, to face the world we have the love of the Father, and to deal with the flesh we have the truth of deliverance. The list goes on indefinitely! But these gifts are apprehended or enjoyed by the believer according to their personal knowledge of the Giver; “through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue (or excellence)”. This requires a daily walk of fellowship with God whereby we come to know Him in a personal way. God has called us by His own “glory and excellence”. God Himself is the resource! The expression “called by glory” is powerful. Perhaps Peter is alluding to what Stephen said, “the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2). It was a God that was entirely above this world that called Abraham into relationship with Himself. We too have received a call that lifts us above the horizons of the world.
The Life of Practical Godliness (1:5-11)
- Virtue. It is the same word used in v.3, where in reference to God is better translated ‘excellence’, but here appropriately in reference to man it is ‘virtue’.2 Virtue is moral courage (could also be translated valor), and it is the quality that strengthens the believer in their faith. Oppositions will come, but moral courage will see the soul through the storm with their confidence in God unshaken. It was virtue that allowed David as a shepherd boy to face the giant without hesitation.
- Knowledge. The word is ‘gnosis’ or objective knowledge. The believer is to develop in their spiritual intelligence in the things of God – knowledge of His character, His principles as found in the Word of God, and of His will for the believer. Just as faith needs an object, so courage will wane without knowledge.
- Temperance. The word means to restrain oneself, or literally ‘hold oneself in’, and is well translated temperance or self-control. Self-control should characterize every area of a believer’s life, as it is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Temperance involves maintaining control of our speech, our appetite, our desires, and even our natural interests, in the fear of God. The secret to having “self-control” is to offer our lives up to the Spirit’s control. Perhaps the moral connection here is that knowledge can tend to be decoupled from practice. Having temperance in our knowledge will guard against this.
- Endurance. Endurance is the ability to carry on faithfully in the face of opposition, even for extended periods of time. When difficulties appear in our pathway, faith rises up to overcome the obstacle. But prolonged trials become a true test of endurance. Our flesh begins to grow impatient, and there is the potential for an outburst. Along with self-control we are to manifest the ability to withstand hardship and adversity.
Godliness, sometimes translated piety, comes from the Greek word meaning "well devout", and it refers to a manner of living that is totally pleasing to God. It relates to holiness, and certainly includes it, but is broader. Godliness or "devoutness" involves our motives, our attitude, and our conduct in the sight of God. Christ is the perfect example for us in this (1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 5:7).We are to have godliness in our endurance, as true endurance is distinct from mere stubbornness by that fact that we endure trials in faithfulness to God.
- Brotherly love. New Testament exhortations on love are centered around two main types of love: divine love (‘agápe’) and brotherly love (‘philia’). The noun ‘philia’ and the verb ‘phileo’ originate from the Greek term ‘philos’, meaning “beloved” or “dear”. Phileo love is the love of affection or friendship. It includes loyalty, virtue, equality, and familiarity. As Christians, we are to love one another with ‘philia’ love (Romans 12:10). It is a love shared by the family of God. Godliness must be balanced with brotherly love. Our first loyalty is to God, but He clearly desires us to demonstrate friendly love to our brethren.
- Love. Agápe love is sacrificial and unconditional. It is selfless in that it gives and expects nothing in return. It is the love of a settled disposition. An example would be God’s love for us in sending His only-begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16). This love is of a higher character than brotherly love, and we are to have divine love in our brotherly love. If divine love is lacking, issues will come in between brethren and it will lead to the cessation of brotherly love.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, use diligence to make your calling and election sure, for doing these things ye will never fall; v.10 Doing “These Things”. Rather than be blind or short-sighted, we are to use diligence (v.5) to make sure the proof of our calling and election is seen in our lives. Logically, there is nothing we can do to change our calling and election, which are both acts of God in His sovereignty. For example, His choosing us, or election, was before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). What can our efforts do to affection our own election? We can ensure that the impact of our election is truly visible in our everyday existence. We do this by manifesting the qualities of vv.5-7. Practically living out “these things” will make us sure-footed in the path, and keep us from stumbling (Jude 24).
The Sureness of the Word of God (1:12-21)
Inspiration is the process in which God communicates His thoughts to man. Inspiration comes from the Greek word 'theopneustos' or God-breathed. Inspiration can be both oral and written. Paul says "which also we speak"(1 Cor. 2:13), referring to inspired speech. The word "traditions" ('didaches') is also used several times in the New Testament, not only for the added sayings of men (Matt. 15:1-7), but for what the apostles exhorted the saints by inspiration, first orally, then in writing while the canon was in building and not yet complete (Rom. 6:17; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Cor. 11:2). The word 'didaches' could also be translated "directions" or "instructions". We have those same "instructions" with us today, in the completed canon of scripture. The same truth given to the Apostles and Prophets by revelation they then communicated by inspiration in words taught by the Spirit. However, all scripture is inspired; not just the New Testament (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). Inspiration is a supernatural act of God, but it involves a human element and a divine element. The divine element is the Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:21). Inspiration does not come by the will of man, but rather has one Divine source! The human element was that "holy men of God spake as they were moved". The historical information (especially in the Old Testament) was passed down orally for decades or even centuries, but when it came time for that same information to be spoken or written through inspiration, the Spirit moved these men to do so. The Old Testament writers in many cases did not understand what they were writing (1 Pet. 1:10-12) but the New Testament writers understood it first because it was revealed to them by the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor. 2:12) then they spoke or wrote those words by inspiration (1 Cor. 2:13). Scripture teaches a verbal, plenary inspiration. Verbal, because every word is important and meaningful. Plenary, because the Spirit employed multiple writers (~40) to write scripture. Inspired, because the words are written by the Spirit of God and carry God's authority.Read more…
- It is that full revelation of God in Christ. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle of Peter.
- Virtue or moral courage suits the word, where man is meant. God’s excellence works virtue in the saint. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle of Peter.
- We forget that we have been cleansed from our old sins; we lose sight of the position Christianity has given us. This state of things is not the loss of assurance, but the forgetfulness of the true christian profession into which we are brought — purity in contrast with the ways of the world. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- Walking in the ways of God, we have part in that kingdom, entering into it with assurance, without difficulty, without that hesitation of soul which is experienced by those who grieve the Holy Ghost, and get a bad conscience, and allow themselves in things that do not accord with the character of the kingdom, or who show by their negligence that their heart is not in it. If on the contrary the heart cleaves to the kingdom, and our ways are suitable to it, our conscience is in unison with its glory. The way is open before us: we see into the distance, and we go forward, having no impediments in our way. Nothing turns us aside as we walk in the path that leads to the kingdom, occupied with things suitable to it. God has no controversy with one who walks thus. The entrance into the kingdom is widely opened to him according to the ways of God in government. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- Here again it is not a predicted fact that is prominent, but the full realization even now by the soul that walks blamelessly before God. Thus it is that the entrance into the kingdom should be furnished. One is thus enabled to anticipate in rich measure the everlasting kingdom. So the Spirit was pleased to describe it. At any rate it is not put as a mediatorial display of glory in reigning over the earth for a thousand years, blessed as this will be; but rather what is unchanging… Not only is evil avoided, but there is nothing to dim the eyes or burden the heart. And the future glory is made richly to fill the soul as that which, as it belongs to Him, is shared with us, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. We are thus led into it for heart enjoyment; for the Spirit, being ungrieved, is not stopped by our errors and wrong-doing to humble us, but can show us things to come…. The entrance into it shall be richly furnished in the case described for practical joy and power over all that is present, whereby Satan seeks to dazzle and occupy the unwary. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle of Peter.
- The bright morning star is Christ Himself, when (before the day, which will be produced by His appearing) He is ready to receive the assembly, that she may enter into His own peculiar joy. Thus it is said, “I am the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). This is what He is for the assembly, as He is the root and offspring of David for Israel. Consequently, as soon as He says “the morning star,” the Spirit, who dwells in the assembly and inspires her thoughts, and the bride, the assembly itself which waits for her Lord, say, “Come!” – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- For the remnant of the Jews, the Sun of righteousness should rise with healing in His wings; the wicked should be trodden as ashes under the feet of the righteous. The Christian, instructed in his own privileges, knows the Lord in a different way from this, although he believes in those solemn truths. He watches during the night, which is already far spent. He sees in his heart, by faith, the dawn of day, and the rising of the bright star of the morning. He knows the Lord as they know Him who believe in Him before He is manifested, as coming for the pure heavenly joy of His own before the brightness of the day shines forth. They who watch see the dawn of day; they see the morning star. Thus we have our portion in Christ not only in the day, and as the prophets spoke of Him, which all relates to the earth, although the blessing comes from on high; we have the secret of Christ and of our union with Him, and of His coming to receive us to Himself as the morning star, before the day comes. We are His during the night; we shall be with Him in the truth of that heavenly bond which unites us to Him, as set apart for Himself while the world does not see Him. We shall be gathered to Him, before the world sees Him, that we may enjoy Himself, and in order that the world may see us with Him when He appears. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- Q&A: Holy Men of God
- Peter does not deny that there are some specific prophecies that were given for significant events that are now fulfilled (e.g. Gen. 41:29; 1 Kings 22:17; 2 Kings 13:2; Acts 11:28). What Peter speaks of are the bulk of the prophecies “of scripture”, which all look on the the coming kingdom and reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.