As we have with all of the New Testament letters, we need to begin by looking at the structure of the writing. Peter declares that he is the author of this letter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. The letter is written â€œto those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.â€ Peterâ€™s first letter was written to the â€œpilgrims of the dispersion.â€ Peterâ€™s second letter has a broader audience, written to all Christians. In verse 2 Peter gives his salutation to these Christians: â€œMay grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.â€ Peter then neglects to offer a section of thanksgiving. I believe this indicates the author has a pressing need to get on with the point of the letter and feels compelled to omit the cordial parts of the letter. This is also seen in the fact that Peter also omits a closing and omits a greeting at the end of the letter. Verse 3 sets the theme of the letter:
â€œFor His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.â€ Quite simply, God has provided everything we need for life and godliness. Life and godliness comes through the knowledge of God. Peter is going to write about what the Christians need to know for life and godliness.
Know Your Salvation (1:4-11)
God has given us all we need so that we can share in His divine nature. Notice that Peter does not say that we are sharing in his divine being, but that we are becoming like God. We are escaping the corruption of the world by not acting like the world. But our faith and our salvation is just the start of our sharing with God. Therefore, we are to make every effort to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love to our faith. Peter is emphasizing how these characteristics must be part of our character. â€œFor if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christâ€ (1:8). Peter says we must have these qualities and we must be growing in these qualities. Otherwise, we will be found useless and unfruitful. Further, Peter calls the person who lacks these things â€œblind,â€ â€œshortsighted,â€ and â€œforgetful.â€ Do not forget the cleansing from sins that Christ did for us. Do not be blind to the fact that God has given you a great salvation. Do not be blind to the fact that more is required for salvation than just faith. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love must be ours and increasing to keep our calling and election sure (1:10).
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