Summary: Peter urges believers to make their election sure by understanding their salvation by grace, and by adding 8 virtues to their lives.
What were your school reports like? Did you ever have these words written about you by a teacher “Great potential but lazy.” I never had the words “great potential” but I may well have had the word “lazy” written on a few occasions. But far more importantly would those words apply to your Christian life? If you were to get a report card concerning your Christian life would it read - “Great potential but lazy?” The uncomfortable truth this morning is that those words are far more accurate than we would care to admit. 2 Peter is written to believers who are in danger of becoming lazy and growing cold in their Christian faith. In this letter the apostle Peter sets out to remind them of the Christian basics of the faith. Peter is coming near the end of his life and knowing time is short he writes this letter to the believers, probably, in Asia Minor, but the letter does not state clearly to whom it is addressed initially. Peter is probably in prison in Rome, facing death, when he pens this letter and it is probably dated 64-68 AD. The key word in the letter is ‘knowledge.’ 11 times Peter mentions ‘to know, knowledge or full knowledge of God’ in this short letter. So the main thrust of the letter is to encourage the believers to know God and the practical outworking of that knowledge in their daily lives. So let us this morning turn to the first 11 verses of the 2nd letter of Peter.
VERSES 1-4 INTRODUCTION.
These verses reflect the standard introduction of a letter in 1st century AD. Simon Peter, the author, designates himself a ‘servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.’ By this introduction Peter reminds the believers of several things – 1st that he once was Simon but after meeting Christ became Peter. His life was changed, hence he describes himself as ‘a servant.’ A servant is one who is no longer his own but belongs to someone else. He is no longer his own master. He has been bought with a price – in Peter’s case the cost was the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 6v19-20). As a servant Peter is a man under the authority of another and he follows his master’s instructions and will, not his own. He further describes himself as ‘an apostle.’ I know I have told you this before but to be an apostle you had to have seen the risen Christ and have been called by God. Peter as an apostle has authority in the church as one who speaks the Word of God. He is in fact God’s messenger to them. He, along with the other apostles (including Paul), alone had the authority to lay down the teaching of the faith.
Then Peter goes on to say to whom this letter is addressed. Look at how he addresses them – READ 1b. He addresses them as those whose faith is as precious as ours (the apostles). Even though he is an apostle he recognises and he wants them to understand that in the Christian faith everyone is equal and everyone is given the same gift of faith by God the Father through Christ the Son by God the Holy Spirit. Look at what he says to them – ‘you have received a faith’ – faith, their faith, is a gift from God which they have received. On what basis was this gift bestowed? Well Peter tells us – the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This gift of faith is bestowed on believers on the basis of the righteousness of Christ – not anything they themselves have done. In essence Peter is saying to them here – you are saved by grace and not by anything of merit in your own life. From this fact Peter moves on to pronouncing a blessing upon them (verse 2). I want you to note in verse two that ‘grace and peace’ comes not from their circumstances but from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I think some of you here this morning need to hear that. Grace and peace comes to your life not through your circumstances but through a relationship with God in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without that relationship you will not have grace and you will not have peace in your life.