The Apostle Peter, probably a year or two before his martyrdom in 66 AD and several years after his first letter (somewhere between 58 and 61 AD) to the exiles of the dispersed tribes (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia), I Peter 1:1, Peter wrote this follow-up letter to these same messianic believers [note the reference to the Babylonian Diaspora, e.g. the exiles of the dispersed tribes is the J. B. Phillip’s translation of ‘to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,’ (KJV). When coupled with the fact that Peter was designated as the Apostle to the Jews, Gal. 2:7-9, we understand that there were many, many (tens of thousands) Jewish believers in the first century AD and his letters were aimed primarily at them.
The first epistle of Peter was written in view of the many trials, I Peter 4:12-19, 5:8-11,that the recipients of that letter were enduring:
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls, I Peter 1:6-9.
II Peter was written to warn about false teachers that had already begun to infiltrate the body of Messiah. These were wicked men who turned away from the gospel and were driven by lust for power and greedy gain, II Peter 2:10-19. It is against this background of persecution (outside the body of believers) and false teachers (inside the body of believers) that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write about the promise of recurring grace in the lives of believers.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
January 12, 2014 – Grace and peace: Recurring themes of the New Testament
Grace and peace are a recurring theme in almost all of the letters in the New Testament (exceptions are James, I & III John). These remain foundational truths of the gospel and cannot be over emphasized when describing the unmerited favor of God that brings us God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense (GRACE). In addition to the unmerited favor that brings to us the gift of saving faith, this same grace is the power of God to be able to trust (have faith in) the Lord and obey His instructions. About 750 years before the Messiah was born, Isaiah offered the following teaching: Surely, the Lord GOD will help Me; Who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed, they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up. “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant (the Messiah)? Is. 50:9-10.
So the constant message of God’s Word is clear, Isaiah’s promise is echoed by the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the believers in Rome. Compare Isaiah’s instruction to Romans 8:28-31 and you will see that God’s Word is unbroken. It is a message of redemption that has remained unchanged in every generation, II Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21.
What then shall we say to these things? If (or since) God is for us, who can be against us?He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?... Romans 8:31-35a
It is for this very reason that the Apostle Paul proclaimed that those who are “in Christ” are without condemnation, Rom. 8:1-2. When you study this precious promise in context, God reminds us that our right standing in His sight is not predicated on our behavior, but rather by the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The presence of the One who sealed you, Eph. 1:13-14, when you were born again, John 3:3.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. , Rom. 8:9-11.
January 19, 2014 – Through the knowledge of Him who called us
When we consider our lives, our testimony right up to this present date, we can see the Lord’s great faithfulness to us. But do we thank Him for supplying His divine power to live a life that pleases Him, a life of faith, Heb. 11:1-6? All of this comes through the knowledge of Him, a personal, intimate relationship with the Creator of Universe through the Messiah. We not only know about God with an intellectual academic knowledge of God, (EIDO in the Greek), we have deep experiential and personal (GINOSKO in the Greek) knowledge of Yeshua. This type of experiential knowledge is based upon our entrance into the New Covenant, Jer. 31:31-37, Ez. 36:26-27; John 3:3, and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the regeneration that accompanies the washing of the water of the Word, Eph. 5:25-27.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (EPIGINOSKO, full and complete knowledge by experience) of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (EPIGINOSKO)of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, II Peter 1:2-4.
It is by God’s divine power that these exceedingly great and precious promises that provide the manifold blessings to God’s blood bought adopted children, Eph. 1:2-8. A “promise” is an assurance on the part of another of some good for which we are dependent on him. It implies: (1) that the thing promised is in His power to grant; (2) that He may bestow it or not, as He pleases; (3) that we cannot infer from any process of reasoning that it is His purpose to bestow it on us, e.g. that it is all of grace; (4) that it is a favor which we can obtain only from Him, and not by any independent effort of our own.
All we have in Messiah is given to us by grace through faith. This includes our salvation as well as the good works that He has before ordained that we should walk in them, Eph. 2:2-10
January 26, 2014 – Just some of God’s great and precious promises
- GOD HAS PROMISED US AN INHERITANCE WHICH LASTS FOREVER, 1 Pet. 1:3-5.
- GOD HAS PROMISED ETERNAL LIFE, 1 John 2:25; Titus 1:2.
- WHEN ONE DIES, HE GOES TO BE WITH THE LORD, John 17:24; 2 Cor. 5:6-10; Rev. 20:4.
- GOD HAS PREPARED A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, John 14:2; Heb. 11:10,16; Rev. 21:10-11, 22:3-5; Heb. 4:9; Rev. 14:13; II Pet. 1:11; Matt. 25:21,34.
- WE WILL HAVE NEW BODIES TO DWELL IN, II Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 3:20-21;1 Cor. 15:50-53; Rom. 8:19-23.
Remember this too, that all creation is personified and pictured as earnestly waiting for the deliverance of the sons of God, Rom. 8:18-20. That it was the sin of man brought a curse upon the earth, and mortality and death came upon all creatures, Rom. 5:12. When the Deliverer comes, the whole creation will be freed from the bondage of corruption, Rom. 11:32-36.
In the View of these great and precious promises, how should we then live?
The Apostle Peter continued his letter with the following instruction. Evidently based upon these exceedingly great and precious promises, Peter gives this pro-active faith-based teaching:
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, II Peter 1:5-8
Peter ends with yet another great and precious promise, that if we are diligent concerning our spiritual growth process, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge (EPIGINOSKO, full and complete knowledge by experience) of our Lord Jesus Christ. What more could we ask for in 2014 then to be fruitful in our endeavors on behalf of our King.