To make our time here worthwhile we need to put our priorities in order and pursue our relationship with God first, because this relationship will have an impact on every other relationship in our lives.
The time invested in our relationship with Christ, in the Word and prayer, and in putting God’s Kingdom first, will reap dividends, both now and for all of eternity.
When the apostle Peter knew he was going to be executed for his faith and that his death was imminent, he wrote his last letter to the churches in Asia Minor. These churches were in the midst of unrest, turmoil, theological confusion, and division. Peter was aware of this and knew how important it was for the churches to refocus on Christ and on the truths found in the Scriptures, so they would be equipped to discern erroneous teaching that came from false teachers within the church.
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:1-4).
These false teachers were claiming to speak the truth, while they were actually contradicting the Scriptures and causing confusion in the church. Do you know Christians who consistently cast suspicion on other Christians or churches, or undermine those in authority? Do you know people who always cause division, discord, or confusion in the body of Christ with their words or statements, rather than lifting up Christ? This was happening in the church 2000 years ago, but in our time the need for Spirit-filled discernment is even greater.
John MacArthur states:
The rapid advancement of mass media, coupled with the church’s lack of discernment, has allowed doctrinal error to spread like wildfire. False teachers propagate their heresies - via television, radio, the internet, books, magazines and seminars - doing whatever they can for their own self-promotion.
The motivation remains the same for these false teachers: self-promotion and self-glory. Instead of making the Word their highest authority, they seek to put others down and to exalt their own interpretation of the Scriptures.
In this letter, therefore, Peter assured the church that one day Christ will return and hold everyone accountable for their actions, including these teachers who were and still are promoting themselves and their doctrines.
This genuine and intimate knowledge of Christ and of His Word would equip them to live godly, virtuous lives in the midst of the conflicts in the church. The lesson still applies in our time.
In verse 1, Simon Peter, wanted his audience to know that God, who is perfectly fair and just and has no favorites, would give anyone who placed their trust in Christ the same precious faith he as an apostle was given. Peter was stressing that “all” who have this precious faith have equal access to the same:
Peace and grace of God (v. 2)
Power of God (v. 3)
Precious and magnificent promises of God (v. 4)
It is through the peace and abundant grace of God, His power, and precious and magnificent promises that we have the potential, right now, to experience the new life we have in Christ (v. 4).
Abundant Peace And Grace Of God
The measure that you really know the Lord on a personal and intimate level will be the measure that you experience the abundance of His grace and peace.
When many people first place their faith in Christ, they are still trying to earn God’s love, hoping to merit His grace. We try to get God to accept and love us more by keeping His commandments. As one young Christian described their newly found faith, “I went into salvation-maintenance mode, which, according to my thinking, hinged on my good works.” Many of us believe that as long as we are good, as long as we keep the law, God accepts us and loves us, and we will go to heaven. But when we sin, when we fail, we think that we have lost our salvation, and expect eternal judgment. That is not grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says,
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God, not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for salvation] (Ephesians 2:8-9 AMP).
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above--spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us] (Ephesians 2:10 AMP).
That grace freely saves us; justifies us; declares us free of the guilt of sin; made acceptable to God and granted eternal life] (Rom 3:24), gives us a new identity (1 Cor 1:10), a new life. God strengthens our hearts (Heb 13:9), enables us to get up when we fail, and gives us what we need to live godly, sensible lives (Titus 2:11-12).
Because of grace, each of us has been given at least one spiritual gift to use to edify the church (1 Peter 4:10). Grace enables us to do what is right and teaches us to walk in God’s wisdom.
Power Of God
Through His divine power, God has given us everything we need to live a godly, sensible life, that is, a life of virtue - it is all there for us to possess.
John Piper said, “The Christian faith is not merely a set of doctrines to be accepted. It is a power to be experienced.”
If we aren’t in the Word and prayer every day, if we neglect assembling with the body of Christ, we will atrophy, becoming weak and ineffective as Christians. We will be powerless to overcome temptation, discouragement, doubts, to discern false teaching and will easily succumb to the attitudes and ways of the world.
Adversity and difficult circumstances reveal where we derive our strength.
Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” [too narrow]. Without the Word and the power of God we will be pushed around by life’s circumstances.
Precious And Magnificent Promises Of God
The Greek for “magnificent” is mega which means the “greatest” promises of God. The word for promise here focuses more on the result(s) of God's promise.
The results of receiving God’s precious and magnificent promises are: a new life and identity in Christ, total forgiveness, a secure eternal destiny, an inheritance, absolute acceptance by God. There are over 7,000 promises in the Scriptures and those who take hold of those promises have the potential, right now, to experience their new identity and all they have in Christ. His precious and magnificent promises enable us to think and live the way God has intended us to. Through these promises, God has delivered us from the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (v. 4). He has delivered us from the old life and its desires.
All who have placed their faith in Christ as their Savior have access to the abundant peace and grace of God, His power, and precious and magnificent promises.
Right now, this day, we all have the potential to experience the new life and strength we have in Christ (v. 4). The choice is ours.