These Things — Part 1
I have been reading in 2 Peter this week, and am finding it such a rich time that I’ll probably stay here for a bit, and may blog more about what I’m seeing in Peter’s letter. As you know, one of the things I like to do as I read my Bible, is to look for recurring phrases. I’m seeing one in 2 Peter that I hadn’t noticed before.
Peter keeps talking about “these things” — ταυτα. So, this week and next (at least) we are going to look at “these things.”
It’s a single word, “these,” but different translations will append “things” because it feels awkward to just say, “these.”
As I read through 2 Peter 1 this morning, that repeated phrase stood out to me. We see it in verses 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 15. The chapter is only fifteen verses long, so better than a third of it is talking about “these things.”
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through [these things] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. — 2 Peter 1:3–4, ESV
Do not ever doubt, Christ-follower, that your life, your very existence has been infused with power — divine power, God’s power. What started out with your faith in the work and the person of Jesus has moved forward into an infusion of power that gives you everything pertaining to both life, and godliness.
When we discuss our walk with Jesus, a walk of holiness and godliness, the phrase “I cannot” never escapes our lips. We may say, “I don’t want to…” or “I am choosing not to…” but saying, “I can’t” is not a valid expression for the Christ-follower.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked — Ephesians 2:1–2a, NASB
We were dead in sin. I was dead in sin, and you were as well. Later, in that same letter, the apostle Paul said…
Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you. — Ephesians 5:14b, NASB
So, we were dead in sin, yet there is this concept of life being thrown in here.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. — John 5:24, NASB
Can you even fathom the power involved in bringing non-life back to life? We have passed from death to life! Selah! Chew on that one for a bit.
If God exercised the power required to bring us to life, he will exercise the power required to keep us alive. He will grant us all things pertaining to life and godliness.
When we are born into the family of Christ, we come complete, ready to go, with everything we will ever need to live a life of godliness. No special tools required. Your life comes fully assembled. Just go live it! It’s like Steve Martin’s biography — we are “Born Standing Up.”
The apostle Paul told the church in Colossae, “you are made complete in him” (Colossians 2:10). In this rebirth, God has called us to “glory,” and “virtue” or excellence. And again, we do not claim the inability to live up to that calling, because God has equipped us through his power to rise to the call!
We are equipped and abundantly supplied to proclaim God’s excellence.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. — 1 Peter 2:9, ESV
Our calling involves great and precious promises. We have all we need for life and godliness, and that comes with great and precious promises of one who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).
To Peter, the promises of God are precious, and as such, Peter puts them in a class with precious faith (1 Peter 1:7), the precious blood of Jesus, the lamb (1 Peter 1:19), the precious living stone (1 Peter 2:4), and the precious cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6). All that is precious has been entrusted to you and bestowed upon you.
Through these irrevocable gifts and promises, we become partakers of the divine nature. In saying this, Peter uses the same word he used to say we partake, or participate in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13). Through our participation in that divine nature, we escape the corruption of our default sinful desires. It is these desires that caused us to be children of wrath.
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. — Ephesians 2:3, NASB
But now, with a renewed heart, and renewed mind, we passionately desire those things that are in harmony with the divine nature, that which is true, just, and holy. We become a new creation. The old passes away and all things are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Having escaped the defilement of the world, and taken on the divine nature, the world’s defiling filth no longer holds our interest. It is only when we “make provision for the flesh” that our lust for what was overpowers the reality of what is. Peter describes this state as blind, short-sighted, and forgetful.
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. — 2 Peter 1:9, ESV
We will play with this idea a little more next week. Until then, blessings upon you.
Victoriously in Christ!