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Christ’s Divine Power

24 Feb
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Peter claims the believer has been given all things pertaining to life and godliness through “divine power” (2Peter 1:3), but is Peter referring to the Father’s power or that of Jesus? In 1Peter 1:1 Peter writes “…our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Then in verse-2 he again refers to Jesus with “…the knowledge of God, even Jesus our Lord.” The natural implication of the word divine in 1Peter 1:3 points to Jesus, i.e. Jesus’ divine power. It seems out of place, if Peter intends for us to understand the Father, because up to this point he is writing only of Jesus—our God and Savior and our knowledge of him. Why insert divine in reference to God (the Father)? It wasn’t worshipers of God who were being attacked, but worshipers of Jesus. Knowing Jesus as God was an astonishing revelation in the first century, and the mention of divine in verse-3 compliments Peter’s mention of our God and Savior in the first two verses of his epistle.

When Peter says believers have been “given all things that pertain to ‘life and godliness,” he is pointing to two mysteries that have been revealed to mankind in the persons of the elect in the last days of the age in which Christ was born. First, Peter refers to the unveiling of the mystery of our new life – i.e. Christ in us (Colossians 1:26-27; 3:4). The revealed secret of the Old Testament was that the Messiah would come **to** men, but the hidden secret in the Old Testament Scriptures was that the Messiah would come **in** men. (cf. 1John 4:2-3; 2John 1:7). If the Messiah were a mere man, he might come to men, but he couldn’t come in men. That requires power beyond the realm of men.

The second mystery to which Peter refers concerns godliness, and remember that this godliness has been given us by Christ’s divine power. This is the mystery of godliness, namely “God was manifest in flesh, justified in spirit, seen of angels, preached in the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory” (1Timothy 3:16). In other words, through the divine power of our Lord and Savior, we have been given not only the life of Christ within us, but the person of Christ in history (via the Gospel). He shows us what kind of God he is, and he holds us in his power (Colossians 1:17; cf. 1Peter 1:5).

All things pertaining to life and godliness have been given to us because of our “acknowledgment of him who has called us…” That is, these things are made effective in our lives when we receive him as our Savior. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing God could give us, and all things are found “in Christ”. All things in 2Peter 1:3 concerns the gifts of the Spirit that enable us to live our new life, which is Christ in us. Not only so, but these gifts also enable us to know God in the person of Christ who lived in history, and they enable us to preach him to the nations in a manner that he is believed by those who have had no previous knowledge of him. In this manner we announce the call of God to the world to repent and come under the power of his Kingdom.

Believers have been called “through” (dia – G1223 – the same Greek word as “through” the knowledge of him that called us) glory. Through whose glory have believers been called? Through the glory of God or for his name’s sake. Peter tells us the mystery of our salvation was known or planned for before Adam’s rebellion. The elect, to whom Peter writes (1Peter 1:1-2), were “foreknown” before Adam’s rebellion (cf. Ephesians 1:4). Because God planned our call even before mankind rebelled, he will bring it to pass because of his good name. Secondly we are called through “virtue”(G703). The LXX often uses this word to translate “praise” or what is praiseworthy about God (cf. Isaiah 42:8, 12; 43:21; 63:7). Peter uses the word in the sense that God didn’t owe us anything when he called us. On the contrary, we were called because of the praiseworthiness or excellence of God’s character. All things pertaining to our salvation have been done due to his own character or name. He devised a plan from the beginning and works out all things according to that plan (Ephesians 1:11). Nothing we have done or could do could prevent God from doing as he pleases (2Corinthians 13:8; Isaiah 46:10; 55:11). He has done all, because of who he is.

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Epistles of Peter, Gospel of Luke

 

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