All Things That Pertain to Life and Godliness

One purpose of the book of 2 Peter is to combat heresy and Gnosticism. True knowledge is introduced (1:2) and this through Jesus Christ. True knowledge comes from fellowship with Christ (Colossians 1:9-10). False knowledge is that Gnostic doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, that defies God’s authority, and is an inevitable failure under God’s plan of salvation. Another purpose of this book is to assure the Jewish Christians, to whom it was written, of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The main subject of the book of 2 Peter, however, is salvation to all men.

Simon Peter (1:1), of course, wrote the book. Simon was his given Hebrew name but this was later changed to Peter (πέτρος [petros] - a pebble). This name was given to him by Christ (John 1:42). Peter addresses himself as “a servant and an apostle” (2 Peter 1:1). He was a servant of Jesus as Lord, Master, and King. He was an apostle of Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ who brought eternal life.

Grace and peace” (1:2) is the usual apostolic benediction and these come only through the knowledge of Jehovah God.

Peter writes of “His divine power” (1:3) which refers to the divine power of God and not of himself. Since salvation is the subject under consideration, “His divine power” would necessarily refer to the Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). It is the Gospel that gives all men “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Therefore, any doctrine or practice that is not authorized by the Gospel does not have anything to do with spiritual life and godliness and is therefore damnable (Colossians 3:17). It is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that man has everything needed to live a godly, spiritual life and to go to heaven. This is why God has commanded “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). One who does not give diligence and who is not earnest in the study of God’s word is one that cannot be approved of God. But if one will exert himself in the study of God’s word and apply it to the actions of his body and his mind, his works will be approved of God and he will have nothing to be ashamed of.

One who gives himself to God and His Word may claim the “exceeding great and precious promises” of God (1:4). The promises are great because no one but God can grant such promises, and they are precious because all the wealth of the world cannot purchase them. The pure blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, purchased them. It is through these promises that one may partake of the divine nature which means that one will develop god-like qualities which will distinguish him from those in the world.

Then in verses 5-7, one is given instruction on how to become fruitful in the Lord. Again, one must be “giving all diligence” (1:5). No exertion must be spared. There must be the fullest cooperation with God. Then we are to “add to our faith virtue” (1:5) which is moral courage (non-compromising the truth). This is a natural part of trusting God. One must next add “to virtue knowledge” (1:5). Moral courage must be guided by knowledge. Not of self (as the Gnostics) but of God. And to “knowledge temperance” must be added to our lives (1:6). Temperance (self-control) is standing for right without undue anger. To this, one is to add patience (1:6). A Christian must be longsuffering, patient, and willing to endure (hold up under pressure of ) the heavy loads of life. To patience one must add godliness (1:6). This means reverence for divine things and fearing and obeying God. And to godliness one must add “brotherly kindness” (1:7). Finally, one must add to brotherly kindness charity, or love. This is the agape love that cares for both the physical and spiritual needs of all men (Matthew 5:44-46; Romans 12:20-21; Galatians 6:10). This love is to be characteristic of the Christian’s life.

It is these qualities in one’s daily life that will bring forth good fruit (1:8). Therefore, these qualities must abound and if they do, they will show forth the knowledge of Christ in us, they will show forth our sincerity as Christians, and our devotion to Christianity.

But without these qualities one is blind. He has defective moral vision, he cannot see what his future good requires, and he cannot see how once he was lost. One needs these qualities to make his calling and election sure.

Diligence to the end is needful in order to obtain salvation. With these qualities in use in one’s daily lives, he sets forth the proper example and his entrance into heaven will not be in question (1:9-11).

Gnosticism is a knowledge of self and denies Christ. Christianity is a knowledge of God and the hope of eternal salvation. Do you know the Lord? More importantly, does He know you? He does not if you have not obeyed the Gospel and are not faithful to Him (Matthew 7:21-23).