Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Letter From Peter

We have written before concerning Peter's first and second letters near the end of your New Testament. If you recall, Peter begins his second letter with words of encouragement about our personal growth in the new life we have in Jesus.  Today, open your Bible to 2 Peter 1, and see this chapter as divided in half, each half with three interesting points pertaining to your Christian life. 

  Notice, following his greetings, Peter encourages us to confirm our calling. 

1.  Reading verses 3-4, recognize the divine power of God that gives us everything we need to live for him.  God gives his promises for us to actually become a participant in his divine nature.

2.  Now read verses 5-9, having been reminded we have escaped the world's corruption, and are participating in God's divine nature, we are now encouraged to spiritual growth by adding to our faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, etc.  These are the very things necessary if we are to be successful in living for Jesus. These things keep us from falling. If we do not develop these attributes in our lives, it's as though we have forgotten we are a forgiven people. 

3.  When we read verses 10-11, Peter makes the encouragement for us to confirm our call and election. In so doing, we will never stumble, and we are granted a place in the Kingdom of God.

The second half of 2 Peter 1 has to do with the subject of prophecy, and especially the knowledge of prophecy as proof of God's workings. 

1.  Read verses 12-15, as Peter reminds his readers of things they already know, mainly because he knows he will not always be with them.  He wants to make sure when he departs, Christians will not forget the things he has taught. 

2.  Verses 16-18 provide some serious discussion about the authenticity of prophecy.  Peter says their teachings about the gospel were not man-made stories, but were actual events which Peter saw as an eyewitness.

3.  Ending with verses 19-21, Peter emphatically expresses that the prophetic messages are reliable and dependable.  They demand our attention and our faith.  Especially see what he has to say in the last two verses, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Do you see the completeness with which Peter addresses believers?  Beginning with a reminder of who God is, followed by the method for us grow in our spirituality, we have the challenge before us to become the people of God, prepared for his Kingdom.  We have the proof of the eyewitnesses, and the prophets of old whose prophecies were fulfilled. 

Peter's message to you is simple. God did all of this because he loves you, and he desires to be in relationship with you.  Our prayer is also simple. "God you have done it before, continue to do it in us."


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