2 Peter 1
Ever since the birth of the Church it has been under attack. Never in the history of the world has an institution been attacked more and yet survived and sometimes thrived. Even in our American culture Christianity and the Church are attacked with false prophets and twisted versions of truth. Where does a believer in Jesus Christ turn for answers for life and the church? God has given us the Word of God as our standard and source of truth. Many of the same battles we fight today for truth were present in the early church and addressed by the Apostles.
2 Peter is a letter to the early church written by the Apostle Peter. In this letter, Peter describes some twisted versions of Christian truth that were being taught and straightens things out. It is important to have a proper understanding of Christian truth because it is out of our beliefs that we live our lives.
Peter begin this second letter by identifying himself and the recipients by writing: “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.” (2 Peter 1:1) This letter was written to the church, those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. The church today can learn a great deal from 2 Peter.
Peter then describes how a believer can have confidence in their calling and election. In verse 3 Peter encourages the reader when he writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” As believers in Jesus Christ we lack nothing that we need to live lives that honor God. We even participate in the “divine nature and escape the corruption in this world.” (2 Peter 1:4)
Peter then encourages the reader to make every effort to add to their faith virtues that demonstrate that they belong to Christ:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection;
and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
A person that has these virtues present in their life can claim the promise in verse 8 that says, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This promise encourages believers to continue to grow in their faith and to live a life that honors God which lead to a productive effective faith.
Taking a personal inventory using this character traits can help identify areas of your life where there is growth and areas that need to be changed.
The second part of chapter 1 describes the source of prophecy that is found in the Scripture. Peter summarizes this passage in verses 20-21, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never has its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” This creates the foundation for refuting the false teachers that are addressed in chapter 2.
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. It was the source of truth for the early church and it is our source of truth today. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the mourning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)