Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Grant that Changes Lives (2 Peter 1:3)

“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3, NASB95)

I have several friends that are school teachers, and as I have observed them I noticed that they receive great joy in having grants on which they worked being finally approved for the benefit of their children. The award ceremony is usually some kind of a big deal as the donor of the grant gets some notoriety, and the organization gets some benefit, with the one who did the work standing between the two with a huge paper check getting some recognition. Apart from the donor, the organization would have either done without or had to come up with some other means to meet their need. Without to donor, the person seeking the assistance on behalf of the organization would have no one to appeal. It doesn’t matter how much someone might desire assistance, without the donor the grant simply would not exist.

Peter continues his introduction to this second letter by reminding his readers that all that they had pertaining to life and godliness or all that really mattered was given to them or granted to them by the power of God in Christ Jesus. God holds all the resources in His hands. There is no beneficial resource that exists apart from Him. And, we as mankind are helpless to avail ourselves of it apart from Him being willing to let it loose. God has graciously done this in so many ways for all of mankind. We are His creation and every resource that we have to conduct life exists because of Him. He breathed life into us, and He gave us this perfectly placed and designed planet and all there is to sustain that life on it. But He did so much more than just bring us to a terrarium and place in it. He continues to involve Himself in our lives, and He is the One who determined how He would bring us back into a relationship with Him after we severed that relationship by our sin. We all deserve death in a dying terrarium, but God continues to inject life, and He is the One responsible for giving us life that will never fade and that will be ultimately realized in a new home without any defect whatsoever.

Peter was not pointing to God in a general humanity way, but in the more specific way that He works in the lives of those who are of that “faith of the same kind” as his. Everyone benefits in so many ways, but ultimately this general blessing will pass away into judgment. This is true, except for those who know the faith of which Peter referred in the first verse. It is us who have salvation in Christ who know so much more of what God truly grants. He has given us the ability to live as His called, forgiven, life-endowed, and greatly blessed children.

Peter wrote of God’s divine power. He is the ultimate authority. All authority that exists, exists because of Him and is subject to Him. He is powerful over the entirety of His creation, and He has placed every aspect of it into the hands of His Son. This is what Paul tells un in Colossians, chapter 1. “He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:15–20, NASB95)

As the Son of God, being One with the Father, Jesus Christ has been given all authority. It is in accordance with that authority that He has granted, or chosen to intentionally give, to us all that we need and everything that pertains to life and godliness. I love this term “all that pertains.” It means all that is related to it. There is nothing held back. We have been given it freely and fully by the Son of God who has been invested with all authority to in turn share with us. This is an amazing truth. Our God who is manifest in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has invested in us and given to us all that we need for life and godliness. He isn’t stingy toward us. He isn’t holding back. There is nothing we have to go out and earn in order to get more credits or more of His gift in regard to these things.

This does not mean that we fully understand it or live in accordance with it. The reality is that we all struggle in this regard. But the issue isn’t that God has held something back, but rather that we need to continue to walk with Him and grow in our knowledge and understanding of just what He has done. We are no less a Christian, but we may (and certainly do) have a ways to grow in how we live the godly lives which Christ has invested in us to do.

Peter’s letter is written to help in that regard, and he has set the foundation by telling us of our great inheritance from God in Jesus Christ. It is for that reason that coupled with the grant is our growing in knowledge of the Grantor who has specifically and individually chosen and called each of us. This word knowledge is a key word in this second letter of Peter’s. It is used several times in this first chapter, and then again later. It is the Greek word epignosis, and means more than just knowing. It means really knowing such that you understand. It is a personal or intimate knowledge, and this is the kind of knowledge that we are to have of Him. It is we grow in our intimate knowledge of His glory and excellence that we in turn live lives of responsive worship and obedient reflection. The world knows the basic stuff to varying degrees, and it scoffs at Him. We have the privilege of growing in our knowledge of Him in a very deep and personal way as our Savior who because of His great love delivered us from sin and seated us in heavenly places with Him.

Our faith is truly a living faith because it has been given to us by our resurrected and living Lord. As we get to know Him and what He has done and continues to do on our behalf, our lives will be changed.

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