II Peter 1:1-4

Sunday, June 5th, 2016





We have a wonderful salvation; and the more we study it, that greater appreciation we have for it.


In II Peter 1:1-4 , we see that a God-honoring life is not only possible for us, but is also expected of us.

We see that –



II Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.


In verse 1, the writer identifies himself as Simon Peter and his readers as saved people.


Peter describes himself as a servant . . . of Jesus Christ.


A servant is not the high priced individual found in wealthier homes in our society. A servant was a slave, one who was owned and directed by his master. Slavery was common in the Roman Empire, but Peter was not a slave in the ordinary sense of the term. His master was the Lord Jesus Christ, and his slavery was voluntary. Christ had died on the cross in order to pay for Peter’s sins, and Peter was so grateful that he had determined to serve Him forever. Of course, Peter was not the only slave of Jesus Christ. Many others had likewise voluntarily enslaved themselves to Jesus Christ.


Peter further describes himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He and eleven others had been sent by Jesus to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Afterward, these twelve men were referred to as the twelve apostles.


Apostles comes from a verb which means to send away or send out. An apostle was therefore a specially chosen delegate, envoy, or messenger. He was a man sent on a mission, and the One Who sent him was Jesus Christ. For this reason, Peter could describe himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Peter was not the only apostle. He was well aware that there were others who were also apostles.


To them that have obtained like precious faith with us indicates the ones to whom Peter is writing. They are saved people.


Have obtained is used in the sense of have received. Its tense indicates that its action occurred before the writing of II Peter, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.


Like precious faith with us is what those to whom Peter was writing had received. It was faith, specifically saving faith.


Like precious means equal in value or of the same kind.


By us Peter means himself in particular and, perhaps others also, with whom he had been associated such as the other apostles.


With us implies along with us or like we have. He and many others had received saving faith. Now he was writing to some who had had a similar experience. It was not some false faith. It was the same kind of faith he had received. They were genuinely saved people just like he was.


Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ tells how this like precious faith had been obtained.


Through is used in the sense of by means of.


Righteousness is a characteristic of God and speaks of His uprightness. He is right in everything He does. Men have no righteousness of their own. Paul, referring to Psalms 14:3 , wrote, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10 ). Isaiah wrote, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags . . . (Isaiah 64:6 ).


Although some may see God as a reference to God the Father, it is better understood as a reference to God the Son. It is through the righteousness of Christ that we are saved. The phrase is literally through (or by means of) the righteousness of the God of us and Savior of us Jesus Christ.


Jesus was a qualified sin-bearer. To be our sin-bearer, He had to be sinless; and He was!


I Peter 1:18-20 – (18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.


In II Peter 1:1 our is actually used both with God and with Savior and makes this relationship very personal.


He is both our God and our Savior. Since this is Christ, we have in this verse a clear and specific statement that Christ is our God as well as our Savior.


And is understood in an emphatic sense as indeed or in fact or, perhaps, as a less emphatic even.


Jesus Christ is our Saviour, i.e. our Rescuer or our Deliverer, from sin and its consequences. What qualified Him for being our Savior was His own righteousness. Had he not been righteous, He would have been disqualified as our sin-bearer. He was on display throughout His entire life, and in particular, throughout His earthly ministry to demonstrate His sinlessness. God the Father made Jesus to become sin for us. Consequently, our sin was imputed to Christ. It was charged to Christ’s account and completely paid for by Him. Upon our placing our trust in Christ for salvation, His righteousness is imputed to us. This means that His righteousness is credited to our account. When God sees believers, therefore, He sees them as possessing the righteousness of Christ. Our God and Savior is specifically identified as Jesus Christ lest there be any doubt about which member of the Trinity Peter is referring to.


Not only has salvation has been made possible by the righteousness of Christ, but we also see that –



II Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.


According to verse 2, Peter desires that grace and peace be given in abundance to his readers by means of a full knowledge of Christ.


Peter continues his greeting by wishing that grace and peace be multiplied unto you, i.e. unto these saved people to whom he is writing. It is understood in the sense of may grace and peace be multiplied to you.


Grace is undeserved favor or unmerited favor. Believers are already recipients of saving grace, but there is also grace to be had for daily living. We are exhorted to come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16 ). To enable us to live as we should, God gives more grace (James 4:16 ). Finally, we are admonished to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18 ).


Believers are also the recipients of peace at the time of salvation. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1 ). As with grace, however, there is more peace for the believer in his Christian life. For example, he has the peace of God which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7 ). Paul also listed peace as part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 .


Multiplied is used in the sense of grow or increase.


Through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord tells the means by which grace and peace may be multiplied for Peter’s readers.


Through is used in the sense of by means of.


The Greek term for knowledge indicates a full knowledge, a complete knowledge, or a thorough-going knowledge.


Of God and of Jesus our Lord indicates the One Whom believers must get to know fully.


Although God may refer to God the Father, it is best understood as referring to God the Son, indeed to Jesus our Lord.


And is the emphatic indeed or verily or perhaps the less emphatic even. It is by getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ thoroughly through the study of the Scriptures that one grows in grace and peace. Paul wrote with similar meaning in II Corinthians 3:18 ,


II Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.


How do I gain this full knowledge of Christ?


Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.


1.By mastering the Word of God


2.By letting the Word of God master me.


                                          3.   By meditating upon the Word of God


                                          4.   By applying the Word of God to every circumstance or situation in life.


                                          5.   By obeying the Word of God

We furthermore see that –



II Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.


Verses 3 and 4 are phrases which are introductory to verse 5 where the main verb is add.


According to verse 3, God’s divine power has already given believers all that they will ever need to live godly lives. Furthermore, all these things which pertain to life and godliness come through the full knowledge of the One Who has called us to glory and virtue.


According as, along with hath given, provides the reason for adding to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, etc. in verse 5. According as is understood, therefore, in the sense of because, since, or inasmuch as.


His refers to God the Son, indeed to Jesus our Lord, in verse 2.


Divine power indicates that it is the power (i.e. might, strength, or force) which belongs to deity, and this divine power is His, i.e. this divine power is Christ’s.


Hath given is has presented or has bestowed, and its tense indicates that its action has already taken place in past time and that its result has continued on.


Unto us indicates that the ones to whom something has been given is them that have obtained like precious faith with us. It is something which has been given to saved people, and it is clear that it has been given to all saved people since no limitations or exclusions have been placed upon it. Now, if it has been given to all saved people, it had to be given at the instant of their salvation. Furthermore, the tense of hath given as well as the context makes it abundantly clear that it has never been removed from us. It is still ours, and we are responsible to do something with it.


What has been given to believers is all things that pertain unto life and godliness.


All things means everything and is limited only by that pertain unto life and godliness.


Life is the term used to designate eternal life, and godliness is piety or godly living. Everything which has to do with eternal life and with godly living became ours at the instant of our salvation. Nothing was held back. There is no second blessing we should wait for or expect.


The means by which all things that pertain to life and godliness were made available to us is expressed by through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.


Through suggests by means of.


The knowledge is the same word used in verse 2 and suggests a full knowledge or a complete knowledge. It is our complete knowledge of Him that Peter intends rather than His complete knowledge of us. It is the full knowledge, the complete knowledge, or the thorough-going knowledge of Christ; and the only place you can get this is by studying the Bible.


The One known is him that hath called us to glory and virtue, but who this is is not expressed. It is apparently taken for granted that the reader can somehow figure it out.


Hath called is not limited to an invitation to be saved. Many have been invited to trust Christ as personal Savior but have rejected the invitation. This call is the divine enablement to come, a divine summons rather than a mere invitation. It is the drawing of an individual to salvation. The Scripture speaks elsewhere of God the Father calling believers. For example, John speaks of this drawing being done by God the Father, No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . (John 6:44 ). Paul also speaks of God the Father calling believers to Himself, Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified . . . (Romans 8:30 ). Peter likewise speaks of God the Father calling us, But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus . . . (I Peter 5:10 ). Although this summons may be given by God the Father as these other Scriptures suggest, it seems better to understand it in this verse as a reference to Christ Whom we come to know through the Scriptures. In verse 1 Peter mentioned the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. In verse 2 grace and peace are multiplied by means of a complete knowledge of God, indeed of Jesus our Lord. Then, in this verse it is through the complete knowledge of the One Who has called us through glory and virtue. Inasmuch as the references to God in the first two verses are to Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, there is no reason to assume that Peter made a switch to God the Father in verse 3.


To glory and virtue is through glory and virtue and expresses the means by which we were called rather than the end result of our calling. It is likely the glory and virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ to which Peter is referring.


Thus, glory seems to be the divine majesty possessed by the Son of God of which Peter had a glimpse at the transfiguration, and virtue seems to refer to Christ’s moral excellence. He certainly had moral excellence in that He was perfect and never committed so much as a single sin. Virtue can also refer to Christ’s miraculous power.


To summarize verse 3, we see that –


                        1.   These all things that pertain to life and godliness are given to believers at the instant of their salvation.


                        2.   This means that no second blessing or second work of grace is necessary.


                        3.   This means that you and I already have all that we will ever get or will ever need to enable us to live godly lives.


                        4.   The full knowledge of Christ is the means by which we may experience this godliness in our lives.


                        5.   By studying the Word of God in great depth and thereby looking into the face of the Lord Jesus Christ:


                              (1) the Holy Spirit will produce godliness in our lives.


                              (2) the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.


                              (3) the Holy Spirit will produce Christlikeness in our lives.


Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


                              (4) the Holy Spirit will produce the power of God in our lives.


It means that you don’t really have to pray for the power of God in your life. It means that the power of God will automatically be in your life if you seriously study the Word of God and submit your heart and mind to its teaching and seek to obey it.


James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.


It suggests that your prayer will be effective.

Next we see that –



II Peter 1:4 a – Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. . . .


According to verse 4, the things that pertain unto life and godliness provide believers with very great and precious promises which enable them to be partakers of God’s nature because believers have escaped the corruption that is in the world which has been brought about by lust.


Whereby is by which or through which and most likely refers to glory and virtue because they stand closest in the text. It is also possible however, that it refers to the all things which pertain to life and godliness.


The tense of are given indicates an action completed in past time with its result continuing on. These promises were given in the past and are still in effect. They have never been rescinded. Now in what sense could this glory and virtue have given us these promises mentioned in this verse? By the glory of His life and moral excellence during His earthly ministry, Christ demonstrated that He was Who He claimed to be, the Messiah, the Son of God. He further demonstrated the truth of His claims by the miracles He performed. He also showed His glory at the transfiguration. During His life promises were made which are going to be kept because of Who He is.


Unto us implies unto believers.


What has been given to us by His glory and virtue are exceeding great and precious promises.


Exceeding great is a superlative used in the sense of very great. They are beyond great.


Precious indicates that these promises were also of great worth or value. These promises undoubtedly have to do with our complete redemption which began the instant we trusted Christ as our Savior and will conclude with the redemption of the body at the rapture when we will be completely conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29 ) and when we shall be like Him because we will see Him as He is (I John 3:2 ). They undoubtedly also contain the promises pertaining to eternity in heaven.


That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature indicates the purpose for which the promises were given.


That is understood in the sense of for the purpose that or in order that.


By these refers to the promises and is understood in the sense of through these promises or by means of these promises.


Ye might be suggests ye might become rather than ye might continue to be. Prior to their salvation they were not partakers of the divine nature. At the instant of their salvation they became partakers of the divine nature; and once they were saved, they continued to be what they had become.


Partakers is partners or sharers. Peter previously used this term in I Peter 5:1 where he described himself as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. There it was stated that Peter shared in the future glory of Christ in some way, undoubtedly when he saw that glory at the transfiguration.


What believers are partakers of is the divine nature.


Divine means that it pertains in some way to God. Believers received new, sinless, Christlike natures at the instant of their salvation.

Finally, we see that –



II Peter 1:4 b – . . . Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


This suggests that being partakers of the divine nature refers to our being saved.


Having escaped should be understood in the sense of when you escaped.


What they escaped from is the corruption that is in the world through lust.


The corruption is the ruin, the deterioration, the destruction, or the dissolution. It speaks of the moral and religious depravity that is in the world, i.e. in the universe in which we live.


Through lust is by means of lust or because of lust where lust refers to wicked desire or craving. At the time of salvation believers received a new nature and escaped the depravity characteristic of the world because of the world’s wicked desire.



What a wonderful salvation God has provided for us. We who have been saved appreciate more and more what God has done for us.


Are you really saved? We would love to help you with this if you are not sure.


Are you living for the Lord?


When my wife and I were teenagers, we used to sing a chorus. The words are these:


After all He’s done for me,

After all He’s done for me,

How can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely,

After all He’s done for me!


Are you doing what you can to be growing in Christ? Invest your life in the study of the Word of God, and submit yourself fully to its teaching.