2-peter-1

2 Peter 1

Today, read 2 Peter 1.

In this chapter, Peter wrote to a group of unspecified believers (vv. 1-2), reminding them that what Christ has done for us is sufficient for our godliness in this life (v. 3). He also spoke of the promises Christ has made for eternal life (v. 4). Based on all this, then, he encouraged these believers--and us--to pursue godliness in our daily lives now (vv. 5-9). At the end of the list of qualities we should be cultivating are two: “mutual affection” and “love” (v. 7c-d). Remember that we are called to add mutual affection first, then add “to mutual affection, love.” Aren’t these describing the same thing?

No, they are not the same. Mutual affection is a form of love--a very important form of it. But the “mutual” aspect of it means that there is giving and receiving on both sides. This is the loving aspect of fellowship within the body of Christ. As Jesus forms his body, bringing us together into local assemblies, we meet others who become our friends due to shared faith in Christ. That friendship means that we rejoice together at times, we weep together at times, we share financial resources when needed, we pray for each other, we show hospitality to each other, and so on. That’s mutual affection and it is an important part of the body of Christ.

God calls us not only to love those who love us, but to love those who don’t love us. We are to love our enemies, according to Jesus. We also will encounter people in the church who are fellow believers with us but are hard to love. Our personalities do not mesh well or we just don’t have a lot in common. It is not a problem or a sin to like some people more than others or to have stronger relationships with some people more than others.

But personal spiritual growth calls us to go beyond loving those that we love naturally and who love us back. Just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies and were lovely, we are now commanded to grow in grace by loving beyond mutual affection. This means learning to give without expecting (or even getting) anything in return. It means seeking what’s best for others and putting their needs before ours.

Is that kind of love something you’re cultivating in your life? Are you thinking about what’s best for your family and friends and seeking for ways to help in those areas? Are you looking out for those who are overlooked and possibly unloved in our church or around you and seeking to love them?

Numbers 28, Psalm 72, Isaiah 19–20, 2 Peter 1

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Numbers 28, Psalm 72, Isaiah 19–20, 2 Peter 1. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read 2 Peter 1.

Second Peter 1:3-4 is a passage I return to again and again in my own life as a Christian and in my attempts to teach and encourage other believers toward godliness. The passage starts with a bold proclamation: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life….” If you believe in Jesus, you can become a godly person; God has provided you with everything you need to become one and nothing you need is missing. The ability and tools to grow in godliness come supernaturally and spiritually from God himself for the passage says, “His divine power has given us…” But how exactly was it given to us? Verse 3 continues, “…through our knowledge of him who called us…” In other words, it is our knowledge of God that enables us to become godly. This is a reference to our salvation, how we came to know God, for the next phrase of verse 4 says, “…who called us by his own glory and goodness.” It was God’s grace in salvation—grace that brings glory to himself—and his goodness that caused us to come to know God and have all that we need for a godly life. Verse 4 expands on this reality by telling us that God’s gracious salvation consists of “great and precious promises” and that the result of these promises is “that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” This is a reference to the new life that God gave us. His promise to us was that, if we believe in Jesus, we will know God, have our sins forgiven, and be given a new nature that desires to become like God in holiness. When we believed in Jesus, these promises were planted into our lives and began to bear fruit that gives us all we need to become godly men and women. 

Note, though, that we don’t just passively and automatically become godly. No, God “has given us” through “his divine power” “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him.” When we understand this truth, Peter urges us to put it to work in our lives; verse 5 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge….” The phrase “for this reason” takes us back to all that God has done for us. Since knowing him in salvation means receiving everything he given us—everything we need—for a godly life, we should actively build faith and holiness into our lives. God does some of this for us through the conviction of sin in our conscience, through the purging effect of trials/discipline in our lives, and through the teaching of his Word and the sharpening effect of community in the local church. But, as we live out our days as Christians, we must add to our faith all that God commands us to become. Since he has given us everything we need, we can become the people God calls us and commands us to be. So don’t lose hope in your struggles against sin! Don’t give up believing in the power within you to become holy within and without. Keep reading God’s word, talking through it with godly teachers and mentors, and applying it to your life. The seeds of godliness, once planted, will grow if we cultivate them to cause us to be beautiful in holiness in God’s sight. In addition to being declared holy through Christ’s blood, the gospel tells us that we can become holy through faith and obedience. So, keep striving for holiness and reaching to become the kind of man or woman of God that God has called us to be. And, when you feel yourself backsliding or becoming discouraged, remind yourself of this verse; memorize it: "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." Memorize it, remind yourself of it, then believe that it is true as you work on growing in Christ.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.