Summary: Sermon 17 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 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. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
THE RECIPIENTS OF THE LETTER
Unlike 1st Peter, the Apostle does not designate this letter for any certain region or city. There may be any number of reasons for this; one could even be that it was in the original manuscript but somewhere along the way got dropped. It really doesn’t matter, and in fact, may be the greatest of blessings if it was dropped. The exclusion of a specific address may even have been deliberate on the part of the author for the reason I am about to cite.
You see, lacking any particular designation to a physical place or an historical group of people makes the wording of his salutation panoramic in its scope in regards to its target audience. Of course, since it is inspired by the Holy Spirit it is certainly timeless and sent to all who believe in all times.
But despite our tendency to think in finite terms, we can read these opening words of his and without presumption say, ‘this was sent to me, because I am one of those he describes here’, if we are indeed a Christian.
Who is Peter writing to? “Those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
Let’s break it down some.
First, he says ‘those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours’.
That is a vitally important distinction to make. There are many faiths in this world. By that term we mean ‘belief systems’. People put their faith in something. When they say they have no faith in anything or anyone that is not entirely accurate. Because when a man comes to deny faith in anything outside of himself his faith is usually in himself.
If he has lost that also he is usually ready for some serious counseling and is probably not very productive in his daily life and routine. By the time a person has rejected faith in all else and lost faith in self he or she has nothing to cling to for hope.
So laying the condition of those poor souls aside for the moment, I repeat, people have faith in something, whether it be a god, a philosophy, their material endeavors, their hedonistic pursuit of the lusts of the flesh, or just a silly, thoughtless generalized so-called ‘faith’ that everything is going to be okay, even though they have nothing of substance in which to base that trust.
Now in the time that Peter wrote the most prominent religious or philosophical faiths would have been Judaism, Agnosticism, worship of the Greek gods, or a declared atheism, which is a faith whether the professed atheist thinks so or not.
So it was important for him to address his letter to those who shared a like faith with him and his companions in ministry, because it was a faith based upon right standing with God through faith in Jesus Christ. For anyone who did not fit that designation this letter could not begin to have application.
That is especially important for us to understand today in our century, believers in Christ, because there are many in our world today, even some cult groups that call themselves ‘Christian’, who think that no matter what the distinctives of our various religions are, if we have faith that is all that matters and we are all going to go to a heaven of some form or another and there is no difference between us that would make one of us more right than the other.
In fact, the thinking inspired by the spirit of the age is that if we declare that our faith is valid and other faith systems are not, that alone proves that we are not right, and sets us apart as narrow-minded, intolerant and bigoted.
So Peter could not simply say, “to those who have faith”. He could not even say “to those who have faith in God”.
How applicable is the question of the prophet Amos who asked, (3:3) “Do two men walk together unless they have an agreement?”