Like Precious Faith in Present Truth

What kind of faith has been given to us? We find the answer to this question in the first verse of 2 Peter.

This servant and Apostle made it clear that the faith that was in him and in the earliest Jesus followers is the same faith that we possess. Peter saluted and addressed his readers with this most comforting declaration:  “To them who have obtained like precious faith with us through God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

Have you ever considered yourself apostolic? Well, in this way you are – all believers are. The faith of the Son of God that operated in Peter and his companions now works in us.

Our faith is “like” Peter’s. The Greek word in the original manuscript is isos, meaning “of equal status and standing.”  And our faith is just as “precious” – time, an ancient Greek word used to indicate something worthy of honor and attendant with great privilege.

We believe what Peter believed and as Peter believed. Consider that this very man got an absolute revelation about the reality of Jesus in Matthew 16. It was Peter who spoke these words about the man from Nazareth:  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). The statement remains our Rock of testimony. Upon Him, who is our Foundation, are we built up as the  Lord’s Temple fashioned of living stones.

We have what we have because it was made ours through the gift of God. Christ put upon us His righteousness. This is a positional truth related to our salvation. The moment we believed we were hid with Christ in God. We were made one with the Holy One from Heaven.

This is a permanent status conferred on those in the family of God. Our understanding of this multiplies grace and peace to our hearts. The more we purpose to know this placement of ours in Him, the more able we are to partake of His “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

Farewell Words

It is important to note the tone and timeframe of the letter known as 2 Peter. This is something of a farewell address from the Apostle. Peter was likely being held in Rome and he sensed that his death was imminent.

Peter and Paul were both martyred during the reign of Emperor Nero in the 60s, about 30 years after the Ascension of Christ to His throne on high. This maniacal dictatorial ruler orchestrated the burning of the capital city and blamed Christians for it. His accusations stirred the first of what became a series of seasons of persecutions that befell believers in the Empire through the first two centuries.

Tradition holds that Peter was crucified upside down. This information dates to the writings of a couple early church fathers, the leaders who likely sat under the Apostles and succeeded them. Peter reportedly requested this mode of execution so that his crucifixion would not be similar that of Jesus.

He gave these words to encourage us, and all Christians who find themselves in hostile atmospheres. By the Lord’s divine power and His glory and excellence, what has been granted to us are “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Decisions, the hundreds of small choices made to redeem our moments bring us to godliness. Click To Tweet

With diligence, we are exhorted to pursue a way of living in the knowledge of Him who delivered us from the “corruption that is in this world because of sinful desire” (1 Peter 1:4). The letter reveals a pattern for our progression in sanctified experience.

Faith worked out unto love goes something like this, according to Peter:  “… 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” (2 Peter 1:6-7).

Virtue begins with our agreement with the Word of God and its instructions, statutes, precepts, and commands. We heard that we must be born again and answered those words when we called upon Him to save us by grace through faith. Now secure in Him, we can begin to live according to what we learn and know — the truth revealed in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit’s power enables us to move toward wisdom. This truth in application brings control to our lives and carries us forward in determination and faithfulness.

Decisions, the hundreds of small choices made to redeem our moments bring us to godliness. The word in Greek means “worshipping well.” And right worship is best discovered in community where we share affection and fellowship, allowing ourselves to grow into the crowning action of love. We come to live and breathe the agape of God for ourselves and for others.

View Toward Glory

A bit later in this letter, Peter offered these instructions:  Remember, remember, remember and thereby “be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:12). The meaning here is important to recognize. Truth has solidity and permanence. It is always present. It is eternally real and right.

Before Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).

Others may follow “cunningly devised fables” – things fabricated by human philosophy and religious rationale. Truth, however, remains ever present as the “more sure Word of prophecy.”

How could Peter say this with such confidence? That’s an easy one to answer. Peter knew what he saw. He could not keep quiet about the Son he saw, heard, and touched. He declared that the testimony he and his fellow Apostles provided for the world was valid for it came from the “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

Peter closed this portion with an account from the gospels. With James and John, this Apostle was with Jesus “on the holy mount” according to Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. There, the Savior was transfigured into the fullness of Light as He spoke with Moses and Elijah. The three disciples had been sleeping, but awakened in time to view Him in His glory. They also heard the Voice from Heaven, saying to them, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

I think with this vision of Christ in His mind, Peter waited for death to come. He did so with the expectation of this glory to clothe him once and for all.  His voice would be gone from the earth. His witness would continue:

“… We have the prophetic Word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

So it should be with us. The Day of the Lord shall dawn soon. Our times are dark and likely to get much darker. But the Light of God shines. Our “Morning Star” is risen. Our Redeemer lives, and we shall live with Him.

 

 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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