Have you ever bought a model airplane or car for your son? Many times the
box will say something like: "All supplies included." To every parent this
comforting thought means that no frantic search for glue, decals or paint
will be necessary. How wonderful that this passage tells us the same thing
about the Christian life! When we are given eternal life through trusting
Christ as our Savior it comes with "all supplies included." What Peter says
about this fact is an important foundation for our efforts to live godly lives.
The author of this epistle is identified as Simon Peter. He calls
himself "a slave and Apostle of Jesus Christ." Although the genuineness
of the evidence of the Apostle Peter"s authorship has been debated, there
is no reason to deny it. Second Peter should be dated around AD 64-68.
The salutation stresses the position of the epistle's recipients before
God as equal to the apostles. Peter adds a blessing that states one of
his themes: the complete knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As he will
show us, this complete knowledge of Christ serves several functions in
the Christian life. Here that knowledge is said to be the means by which
grace and peace are multiplied to us. God's free gifts, promises, and provision
as well as our peaceful state of mind flow through knowing Christ and knowing
I. Practice the productive Christian
life revealed through God's genuine prophets. 1:3-21
This chapter represents the basic message the apostle wants to get across.
Speculation and invention should be left out--the proper view of the Christians
life we lead while on earth results in productivity and rewards. And this
life is revealed by God through the prophets who were superintended by
the Holy Spirit.
A. Success in the Christian life and rewards
in heaven are gained by supplying yourselves from the resources God
has provided. 3-11
In this paragraph Peter summarizes the basic dynamic of the Christian
life. Nowhere else in Scripture will the student of the Bible get a more
complete picture of how the Christian life works. This section addresses
the question of who is responsible for success in the Christian life.
1. God has made all necessary provision for your Christian life. 3-4
Many teach that, in spite of this passage, there are elements of the
Christian life, such as the "second blessing" and other experiences, that
you must pray for, wait for or for which you must get someone to lay hands on you. It is sad that untaught or overly emotional Christians fall for this. Notice
"all that is needed for life and godliness." 'All' makes it complete--nothing
left out; "life and godliness" make it comprehensive--no aspect of our
existence or our purpose are neglected. The Greek word here translated 'godliness,' eusebeia, does not literally mean "being like God." It is the old idea of piety and has to do with devoted service to God.
Salvation gives us "complete knowledge of the one who called us" and
this is a second reason why we don't need any more gifts or experiences.
When our source of life and godliness is Christ and our completeness in
Him we won't go following after these false teachers who make gullible
people dependent on them. His glory and goodness are the basis for our
calling and are the source of the wonderful promises that are our power
and light. Peter identifies one of these promises specifically in 3:13. Other promises can be found in Matt. 28:20, Rom. 8:28, 1 Cor. 10:13 and Phil. 2:12-13.
The goal ("in order that") of these promises is not, as some teach (Mormons
and some charismatics) for us to actually become divine, but for us to
share in the divine nature. That is a big difference. We can't become all-powerful
and all-knowing, but we can become holy and righteous. We can and must
become like God in as many ways as possible. This is only possible because
we have, in salvation, been born again and, consequently received
a new nature (John 3 and 2 Cor. 5:17). Now we are no longer part of Satan's
world of corruption and lust.
2. Because of God's provision, you must supply the elements of the Christian life. 5-7
Once Peter has outlined God's part in our productive Christian life,
he goes to the crux of the matter, our part. The seemingly awkward phrase,
"now indeed, for this very reason," takes the reader back to the 'because'
(or 'as' in some translations) of verse 3 and bases what he is going to
say about our part on what he has already said about God's part. In short,
because God has provided, we must supply or add. It's as if God has placed
an enormous spiritual supply room at our disposal. All we have to do is
go to it when we need support and resources. But, the point is, we must
do it. The secret of the Christian life is being diligent to take
what God has given us and develop it in our lives.
In order to enter the Christian life, we have exercised faith, but we
must add to it a number of other Christian disciplines such as he mentions
in verses 5 through 7. This is probably not supposed to be a complete list,
just examples. But the seven graces mentioned are pretty representative
of a solid Christian life.
- goodness—morality, the opposite of evil (Phil. 4:8)
- knowledge—knowledge of God from Scripture
- self-control—opposite of the lust and gluttony of the world
(1 Cor. 9:24-27)
- endurance—patiently going on in spite of tests and trials
- devoted service—service dedicated to God out of love for Him (1 Pet. 1:15, 16)
- brotherly love—seeking the best for others (1 Pet. 1:22)
- sacrificial love—this is what God had for us on the cross
It is worth stressing again that this is a wonderful picture of the dual
involvement of God and the individual Christian in the Christian life.
You can see this also in Phil. 2:12-13. There is none of the extreme teachings
about the Christian life here. Some systems teach that we must stop trying
and "let go and let God." But notice the balance of the true doctrine of
holiness: God provides—we supply.
2 Peter Flow Chart
2 Peter 1:8-11
2 Peter 1:12-15
2 Peter 1:16-21
2 Peter 2:1-3
2 Peter 2:3b-10a
2 Peter 2:10b-22
2 Peter 3:1-6
2 Peter 3:7-10
2 Peter 3:11-16
2 Peter 3:17-18