II Peter 1: 2-3.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Continuing his greeting, Peter prays for increased grace and peace for his readers, stating clearly that it will come with increasing knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ.
We have a strong advantage, in our time, over these new Christians. They didn’t have the entire Word of God. It was being written, indeed, even as they read Peter’s words. How they must have treasured the letters he sent to all the believers in Asia! His words were straight from the Apostle; therefore straight from God!
Through God’s divine power, he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. I had to stop and think about those lines. I understand what His divine power is, as much as I can in my limited human understanding. Over my 75 years, I have come to realize that He can do whatever He chooses! And that He loves to answer our prayers, no matter how small or enormous those prayers may be. For instance, yesterday Terry was looking for a tool. He knew he had it (I don’t know how he can keep the mental catalogue of his tools, which is gigantic–makes the Sears catalogue look small 🙂 ). He was frustrated, not finding it where he thought he had used it some time ago. “Well, I haven’t prayed for the Lord’s help. Guess I’d better.” And in a very short time, he found it! This happens to him on a regular basis. He has ADD and tends to forget where he puts things down. I DON’T have ADD, but I have Forget-Brain these days, so I feel the frustration.
Is that incident an example of God’s giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness?
Here is the definition I found for life, in the BlueLetterBible.com:
- of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through Him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature
- life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.”
Read it carefully, more than once. There’s a lot in there. Not only does He supply what we need for a good and active life; He supplies it in excess of our expectations. He supplies an abundance of life!
How about the godliness part of that phrase? In this context, it means reverence, respect; piety towards God and godliness.
When I was a lot younger, I grew up thinking that someone who was labelled as “pious” was overly, and annoyingly, concerned about being extra good. That’s not what it means at all. The word has been co-opted by those who are uncomfortable with any degree of spirituality shown in their presence. Therefore, “He’s so pious” has become an insult. That’s too bad, because that’s not what the word means. Its simple definition is “devoutly religious.” What I would like to know is why it’s just fine to be devoutly devoted about, say, football or baseball, but not about faith. It’s okay to spend four+ hours watching a game, but not talking about Jesus. Or it’s fine to debate politics, but not faith. Don’t misunderstand, please. Athletics is not wrong. All I’m saying here is that if our fervor for Christ were equal to our fervor for other pursuits, the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in!
God has given all we need pertaining to a rich, full, active life. He has given us all we need in our pursuit of godliness. These things are gained through knowledge of Him; we have the completed Word of God to guide us in gaining knowledge of Him.
He has called us to glory and virtue. Glory has many definitions, depending on context. Of course we know that ALL glory belongs to God! In this context, it is “the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour’s return from heaven” (BlueLetterBible.com). We can have fulness of life here, and we are promised GLORY in heaven!
Virtue is defined as moral excellence. In Christ, we develop this goodness of character through our knowledge of Him, through His Word. Virtue seems to be in short supply these days, as we truly do not know who to believe in public, political life. And that is because we have pushed God out of the public arena.