Author: Ron Graham
This is another lesson from 2nd Peter chapter 1. In a previous lesson from the first half of chapter one, we looked at "Christian Growth". Now, in the lesson below, we look again at some of these verses, and focus on the excellence, glory, and perfection of what God has granted to us, and how we must not allow God's gift to be diluted or polluted by man.
The apostle Peter, also known as Simon or Simeon (Acts 15:7,13-14), writes generally to those "of the same precious faith" (2Peter 1:1). Peter did not recognise "other faiths" as having any value, only the same faith as his. He was a "bond-servant" or life-long slave of Christ. He was given his faith by "divine power" and tells all his readers that the same divine power has granted them "precious and magnificent promises and made them "partakers of the divine nature" (2Peter 1:2-4).
Jesus Christ our Lord called us to this faith by "his divine power", through "the true knowledge", and unto "his own glory and excellence" (2Peter 1:3). How much more precious and magnificent a faith could we be given?
Yet many people, instead of desiring this faith and no other, are more comfortable receiving various faiths and recognising them all as precious and believing that we can be "fellowshippers of the divine nature" by something other than what "His divine power has granted" (2Peter 1:3-4). Divine power has granted only one true faith by which we may be "fellowshippers in the divine nature". Human weakness has introduced innumerable faiths. If we are fellowshippers in these, then we are fellowshippers in human nature only, not "divine nature", and in human thought only, not in "the true knowledge" of Christ.
We must be satisfied with nothing less than what is "precious and magnificent" (2Peter 1:4). So we must pan for the gold, the precious faith from Christ (1Peter 1:7), and throw out the gravel, the faiths invented by men.
Peter says that our Lord "called us to his own glory and excellence" and later says that "entrace into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2Peter 1:3,11). This is truly "precious and magnificent" because it is not anything second best. God calls us to "his own glory and excellence" and nothing less.
Just as many are happy to receive a faith less than the precious faith that came through Christ's divine power, so many are happy to hope for something less than an "entrance into the eternal kingdom" where we will dwell in the magnificence of God's "own glory and excellence". Many believe in little more than a better life on earth, instead of a perfect life in heaven where God dwells.
However Peter is exhorting us to reach for "the greatest". Another translation of "magnificent" is "the greatest" (2Peter 1:4). So we must receive only the greatest. God grants nothing less. He grants only the best, and nothing less will do.
To sum up what we have been observing in this lesson, take Peter's phrase "all things pertaining to life and godliness" (2Peter 1:3). Sould we be satisfied with "some things pertaining to life and godliness" rather than Peter's "all things"? There is a habit among professing Christians to divide the things of God into essentials and non-essentials. The essentials are things God has granted which all must receive and embrace. The non-essentials are things which God has granted but are not things which he requires all to receive. Therefore, people say, we must tolerate in others the presence or the absence of these things.
You cannot read the first chapter of 2nd Peter and get that idea. Later in the chapter Peter speaks of "these things" which he is striving to help the Christians "keep in mind" (2Peter 1:15). There are no other things, only "these things" which God's divine power has granted. They are the "all things" which he spoke of earlier (2Peter 1:3). There are no essentials and non-essentials. There are just "these things" which are "all things" granted. We must tolerate no subtraction from them, and no addition to them, that we might all have fellowship with one another and with God in the same precious faith.