Now that you have asked the Lord to join you for your time together with Him, let’s further enjoy this time by reading verses 3-4
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, 4 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.
In Jesus awesome power, he saw to it that we have been given everything we need to live the life He has called us to live, a life different from the one before we knew Jesus. How? Are you asking how He has given you anything to live a changed life? You never felt some electric bolt flow through you on the day you were saved, the day you were baptized, and received His Holy Spirit, how is it that He has granted you all things that pertain to life and godliness? He granted it to you through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence. The Greek word Peter used here for knowledge is epignwsij. It means recognition by implication, full discernment, and acknowledgement. It means to know fully and correctly both the subject and about the subject. As you choose to know God more intimately and get to know what He is teaching you will grasp the fullness of who He is and live the life of godliness He has granted.
That seems so far off, so long in the distance for someone who is just starting and knows only that Jesus is Christ. But it isn’t, because He granted you all things pertaining to life and godliness. The Father called you to this life, and He gave you Himself, fully. He gave you His Son, Jesus the Christ, who gave Himself to you completely, He died for you to be reconciled to God; He died to wipe away every sin you have ever committed or will ever commit; He rose from the dead to give you eternal life and peace with Him. He gave you His Holy Spirit, who sealed you. He indwells you. He empowers you to know God more deeply. He enables you to understand the Scriptures you read and hear. He gifts you with abilities meant to do good for the church, the kingdom, and the world. And He and the Son pray for you to the Father who also hears your prayers. You have been granted all things pertaining to life and godliness. Life means just that, life. Godliness means piety, devotion to God.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God’s divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence. We were not called to the world’s idea of piety, no we were called to God’s glory and excellence, we were called God’s glory, that His to look and act like Him, not sort of like Him, not almost like Him, not good enough, not average but to His excellence. It seems impossible, I know. It seems out of reach. And if we were talking about works, about trying our hardest to act like Jesus, to refrain from sinning, or to be good, then I would say, “Let’s throw in the towel, it is impossible!” But whenever I hear the phrase “It’s impossible,” God speaks to me and reminds me, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26). And there is the crux, with God. You see God not only forgives every sin, He empowers us to walk with godliness, the fullness of Christ not only means we have the Holy Spirit endowing us with amazing gifts, He is galvanizing us to walk in goodness, to exhibit the character of Christ in love, joy, patience, kindness, self-control, forgiveness, and more! He is authorizing us to be who He called us to be in His own glory and excellence. In fact, verse 4 says that by remembering or knowing His precious and great promises we become partakers of the divine nature, that means a partner and companion in the divine nature, that godly nature which allows us to live that glorious, excellent godly life. God, in all of who He is, has helped us escape the corruption in the world, the sinful desire that leads to more sin, and give us His Holy Spirit who leads to conformity with the image of Christ. That is Christianese for making us into the reflection, picture, or persona of Jesus. It becomes more and more natural for us to live life based on the idea of God’s thinking and acting rather than on the world’s thinking and acting. We live to worship God instead of living to worship ourselves, desperate to satisfy our desires, and gratify our passions in a survival of the fittest mentality. We live to worship God, loving Him, loving others and knowing that God will meet every need and give us the desires of our hearts (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 37:4).
You’ve got all of God on your side making this new life possible, making this new life distinctive and higher than your old life. So, Peter says in verses 5-7,
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love
You see these characteristics are yours, given to you by the Holy Spirit and yet you still choose to accept them, display them, and use them. You may have an entire freezer and pantry full of good and healthy foods, but you have to choose to eat them, you could still drive to McDonalds or Taco Bell and eat fake, fat-filled, nutrient-poor food. You can have a Model S P100D Tesla ready to go in your garage, but you can still choose to walk, you can still choose to drive the Pinto parked on the corner.
Look at the progression Peter uses, it begins with faith, then you supplement add to your faith with virtue, which means manliness, valor, and excellence, choosing to do your best. You supplement your faith in God promise to make you new with your commitment to be excellent. You supplement your faith with knowledge, with getting to know God and getting to know His Word, His Gospel, and His teachings. Where is the valor in a knight who doesn’t know the will and heart of his king? He is just wandering, not knowing what he should fight for, protect, or do. Supplement that knowledge with self-control. We do have a choice, we may know about that full-freezer and pantry, we may know that there is a nutritious and delicious meal there, and how very good it is for us and for our family, but still the temptation to go grab four chicken sandwiches and fries requires our self-control, we have to choose to use the gift of nutrition in the freezer and share it with the family and the neighbor. When we have self-control down, we add steadfastness, that is commitment, dependability, or faithfulness to it. It becomes routine for us to choose to display the characteristics of godliness until that resoluteness becomes our natural self, it is no longer self-control which dictates our choice to love a difficult person, it is the nature of Christ in us, the Holy Spirit who is on fire in us so big that He is apparent to everyone and we are loving one another as Jesus loved us.
You have already been given these characteristics, every aspect of who Jesus is, is yours because the Holy Spirit is in you. But you do have to allow Him to work, you do have to choose to obey Him instead of yourself. Peter continued in verses 8-9 read,
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
If you do not choose to practice the character of Christ, adding virtue and knowledge to faith, and self-control to knowledge, steadfastness to self-control, godliness to steadfastness, and brotherly affection then love to godliness you will not take a step forward in your walk. And you won’t stand still for long, you will go backward, forgetting that you are saved, forgiven, and new. You will give in to your flesh and look and act like the world, broken, chained, and enslaved by your own carnality. You are either walking forward in the Spirit or walking backward in your flesh. We are either building up or breaking down. Peter continues in verses 10-15
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
We are encouraged not only to be diligent about our own calling and election, our personal walk with the Lord and salvation, but like Peter to stir each other up to remain diligent to pursue godliness, the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are here together, the kingdom, not separate souls of separate nations, we are a chosen people, a chosen nation, one body. If we love one another as we proclaim to, then we care about our whole body, we care about our brother’s walk as much as our own. Not in a judgmental, I’m better than you or worse than you kind of way but in love. If my hand is hurting, I want it healed, if my brother is limping, I want him healed so he can walk well.
Peter knew he would be killed soon. He wrote this letter from prison. He left prison being led to his execution, probably by crucifixion, shortly after sending this letter to the church. But instead of asking for a release from prison, he wrote to the church to stir them up so that after he was no longer here to remind them in person, we would have the words of God to remind us, we would know we have one another to encourage us, and we would remember we have the Holy Spirit to keep us going. Peter continues in verses 16-21,
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
We didn’t receive this word, this prophetic letter, this scripture from some guy who wanted to encourage the church. We didn’t get this letter from a woman blogging her devotionals in hopes that people would come to know the Lord more deeply as she comes to know Him more deeply. We got this letter from Peter, an apostle, chosen by Jesus, and witness to miracles by Jesus. He saw Jesus transfigured to His Holy and Heavenly state, He heard the voice of the Father speak to His Son (Matthew 17:1-13). And He later understood that God not only was deeply pleased with Jesus, but because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, because of the Holy Spirit, because the Father adopted us as sons, When He said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” He was foreshadowing the day when we are transfigured, changed in a moment and bowed before Jesus’ Judgement throne will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:23, 34).
Peter learned this straight from Jesus! He didn’t take a worldly philosophy on self-improvement and twist it to his own will. He didn’t take scriptures and pervert them to match up with his will. He was about to follow his Lord to death, he had nothing to gain. He wanted the church, he wanted us to understand the importance of daily choosing to walk in the Spirit, of daily choosing to live up to who we were made to be, sons and daughters of God, bearing His likeness, and proclaiming His glory and excellence by our lives and not merely with empty words. The scriptures, the Gospel, and the teachings of the Apostles are prophetic as in they can be lived out by us and change us as well as the people around us. It is prophetic, it tells us the future that God has created for us, His kingdom, His approval, and His eternal life for us. Let’s choose to “pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
We choose to pay attention, we choose to “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” until the day dawns and the morning start rises in our hearts, until knowledge becomes understanding so profound it is who we are.