2 Peter 1:1-2 ESV
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
Do you ever have a tendency to skip over or to lightly skim through these introductory remarks in the various epistles (letters) in the New Testament? I sometimes do, thinking that I will move on to the meat of the passage, but sometimes, if not always, there is a lot of meat in these introductory remarks, and that is how it is in this case.
Peter was writing to those who had obtained (received) a faith.. So, the first thing I want to note here is that this faith was something they received from someone else. It did not come from themselves. The faith that they had came from God, and they received it from God through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Thus, our faith comes from God and is gifted to us by God. And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ and persuades us to believe in him.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1]
Therefore, since our faith comes from God, is gifted to us by God, it is not of ourselves, but it comes to us through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and since faith means to be persuaded by God, then this faith is going to agree with God and with his holiness and righteousness, and it is going to be conformed to the likeness of Christ and of his righteousness. Therefore, by such a faith, we die with Christ to sin that we might live to God and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).
So, when people tell you that all you have to do is “believe” in Jesus, this is not something that you can do of yourself or define for yourself what that faith should look like. For belief in Jesus is not just words we say or a mere acknowledgment of who he is and what he did for us on that cross. It is not just accepting his love, grace, forgiveness, and salvation, either. And it definitely cannot cut off God’s requirements that we turn away from our sins and follow him in obedience and that we submit to him as Lord (Master).
The faith that we receive from God will, thus, submit to God and to his will and purposes for our lives, and it will be consistent with his holiness and righteousness. Therefore, by faith in Jesus our old self is put to death in order that we would no longer live as slaves of sin but now as slaves of God and of his righteousness. Now we are God’s possession, and he owns us, and he is the one now directing our paths. And we are to surrender our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Rom 6:1-23;Rom 12:1-2).
Also, notice that this faith we receive is of equal standing with the faith of the NT apostles. So, we look at their lives and witness as examples of what this faith should look like, too. They were not perfect people, but they were not living in sin. They were walking in holiness and righteousness in faithful obedience to the Lord, and this was their practice, their lifestyles. And they all taught faith as obedience to the Lord, which is how God has always viewed faith. And God also views disobedience as unbelief (no faith).
[1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 6:16-23; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14]
So, for us to claim the promises of God which follow here we have to first of all have received this faith that comes from God through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, which submits to God’s will and purposes for our lives, which is conformed to the likeness of Christ, and which dies to sin and lives to righteousness by the grace of God and in his power and strength. And then we must be putting that faith into practice in our daily lives by the Spirit of God as we daily surrender our lives over to the Lord.
2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
We who believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith in him, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, and who are now walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, are the recipients of these promises of God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14). For even look at the intended results of what is promised to us by God.
We are granted all things that pertain to life and godliness. And what is godliness? It is God’s divine character being lived in and through our lives. It is us living the lives God designed for us to live, by his grace. It is us walking in holiness and righteousness by the power of God and it is us walking (in conduct) in moral purity, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, obedience to God, and in the love of God. It is us walking in reverence and in respect to our Lord, honoring him and his commands, doing what he has called us to do.
He has called us to his own glory and excellence. This means that we are going to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. This means that we are going to forsake our sinful practices to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands, and in surrender to his will and to his calling on our lives. He is going to now be our Lord, and our desire will be for him to do his will. We will no longer be living according to the flesh feeding the cravings of our sinful desires, because Jesus set us free!!
He has granted us his promises for what? That we might now ignore him and his commands and now go our own way and continue living in sin while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny? Heaven forbid! He has granted us his promises so that we might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
So, we have his promises so that we will become Christlike in nature (character) and so we will no longer give way to the flesh and to sinful desire as a matter of practice, but so we will now conduct our lives in the holiness of God.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!