27/10/19 – 2 Peter 1:1-11 “Partaking of the divine nature; escaping the world”
2 Peter 1:1 – Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
servant – doulos (slave; bondman; one in service to another; attendant; devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests) Translated “servant” 120 times (out of 127). Think of the difference between “servant” and “slave” as being whether you had free will or not. A servant is a slave with some measure of free will to serve. A slave doesn’t have any free will options! This is why MacArthur, as a calvinist, is forced to define doulos incorrectly as slave, not servant! “Non-free-will’ believers such as calvinists must translate doulos as “slave”.
apostle – apostolos (a delegate; messenger; one sent forth with orders; specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ; in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers) Used 81 times in the NT and translated “apostle” 78 times; “messenger” 2 times; “he that is sent” 1 time. Here it is probably used as being one of the 12 disciples, although his message here is as of one who has a mission to share certain necessary information with them, thus “sent forth with orders”.
have obtained – lagchano (obtain; obtain by lot; receive by divine allotment; to cast lots) This has the idea of having been allocated their salvation, something that calvinists love to emphasise, yet it must be noted that all mankind has been offered this allocation, a gift of eternal life to the whole world from God through Christ as per the whole-world propitiation of 1 John 2:2, and obtained by those who received it by faith. The calvinists persist in the lie that the Father only draws the elect to Himself (in John 6:44), because they refuse to accept that God has given man free will to resist. Their refusal to accept that man has free will forces them to limit such attention to only the saved. Here, being bound by the heresy of no free will for man, they are forced to teach that only the elect are allocated faith. But this is an assumption; it doesn’t say this at all! According to the Bible all have an allocation offered to them, yet only some will obtain it by free will choice! Think of it as a potential allocation; all may potentially obtain but only those who accept it by faith will actually obtain it.
like precious – isotimos (equally precious; equally honoured; to be esteemed equal to) From isos (equal in quality or quantity) and time (a valuing by which the price is fixed; the price paid or received for person or thing sold; honour shown to one; deference; reverence) Only used this once in the NT. (Note that “isosceles” = equal + leg, as in “isosceles triangle”)
The recipients of this letter would have been Gentiles as opposed to “us” who would have been either the apostles, or the initial church comprised mainly of Jewish Christians. (1 Peter is addressed to “strangers” which would have been the Gentiles.) What they have received is in no way inferior to the faith which the first believers received. The Gentiles were not to be treated as Christians with a lesser faith.
Faith here is likely to mean that which has been offered to them to accept and believe in; that is, the gift of salvation and the beliefs that go with it, although faith as a personal response to the God who promises such salvation cannot be dismissed. Probably both aspects of faith are meant here. Note the two aspects of faith in Romans 10:17 (faith as a response to God) and Jude 1:3 (faith as a belief system).
Peter is probably saying that their faith (as Gentiles, that is, not the original church believers) is no more nor less than that which he (and the other apostles, or the Jewish Christians) received. What they (the Gentiles) were given was equally honourable, to be esteemed equally with that given to Peter. The original believers did not get given a “better” faith deal than these later ones! And their acceptance of such promises by faith is no less valuable than that of the apostles.
faith – pistis (conviction of the truth of anything; belief) It can denote a response to God’s promises, or that doctrine which a person believes in. Here it is likely to mean both the response of the person in salvation by faith and the consequential belief system which defined them as Christian.
righteousness – dikaiosyne (in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God) Righteousness may be seen as being right in everything you do according to the laws that govern us. Thus God will not break even one of the laws He has put in place. This law demands the penalty of death for sin; even God will not disregard such requirements, which is why God’s righteousness demanded that someone pay the penalty for our sins.
The recipients of this letter are clearly those who have obtained eternal life via salvation through Jesus Christ. Peter is writing to genuine Christians.
2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
grace – charis (grace; favour; lovingkindness; unmerited favour) A word much overused by calvinists who claim to be the chosen recipients of God’s boundless grace, while the calvinist God fails to show any mercy to those he doesn’t choose (that is, most of mankind!). Grace without mercy is grace without love!
peace – eirene (tranquillity; peace; exemption from war; peace between individuals; harmony; accord; the way that leads to peace [salvation]; the state of the godly after death) Probably from a word meaning “to join together”. Here it relates to the peace that passes all understanding as per Philippians 4:7. The name “Irene” means “peaceful”.
the knowledge – epignosis (precise and correct knowledge; used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine) From epiginosko (to become thoroughly acquainted with; to know thoroughly; to know accurately; know well) Thus epignosis means a fuller, more complete knowledge than just plain gnosis (to know; to have knowledge (of); have discernment). Used 20 times in the NT. Peter uses it 4 times in this epistle: 2 Peter 1:2; 1:3; 1:8; 2:20.
2 Peter 1:3 – 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:
2 Peter 1:8 – For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:20 – For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
See also Ephesians 1:17 & 4:13 (Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge (epignosis) of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:)
However, it is 1 Corinthians 13:12 where we can compare the use of ginosko with epiginosko. [For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know (ginosko) in part; but then shall I know (epiginosko) even as also I am known (epiginosko).]
Therefore, epignosis is not just a surface, shallow knowing of God; rather it is the deeper knowledge which may be compared with the deeper, fuller knowledge that God has of us. Here it clearly means the deeper, fuller knowledge that can only come through being one of God’s children through salvation in Jesus Christ.
Many, in an effort to prove that you cannot lose your salvation, interpret epignosis to mean a knowledge of Christ yet without salvation in 2 Peter 2:20. However, it makes more sense if salvation is involved in the use of epignosis. It is clear, then, that 2 Peter 2:20 cannot be demonstrated to not describe salvation. That is, salvation cannot be dismissed from the meaning of epignosis in 2 Peter 2:20.
It is also clear from 2 Peter 1:2 above that such grace and peace flow from a knowledge of God and of Jesus; it is difficult, even impossible, to understand such grace and peace relating to a non-Christian, especially seeing how it relates to those to whom Peter is writing (2 Peter 1:1). It is also clear that eternal security may be claimed by those who have fully committed their lives to God. Thus a lack of eternal security may be attributed to those believers who have not yet given up the world of corruption, as per Vs 4 below. Partaking of the divine nature (Vs 4 below) appears to be an important factor in having an assurance of eternal life. Consistency reveals that if any could lose salvation, it is likely to be only those who do not grow, remaining babies in Christ (note Hebrews 5:13), who will not let go of the world, who do not partake of that divine nature.
2 Peter 1:3 – According as his divine power hath given unto us all things (pas) that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge (epignosis) of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
power – dynamis (strength; power; ability) We get “dynamite” from this word.
to – dia (through; by; by means of; by reason of; on account of) Translated “by” 241 times out of 646 times in the NT; “through” 88 times; “with” 16 times. It might be best translated as “by” or “through”. Thus “that hath called us by His glory and virtue”.
hath called – kaleo (to call; call aloud; invite; call by name; give name to; be given a name; called by/to title or office) Eg thou shalt call his name Jesus (Matthew 1:21).
they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).
Also see Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called (kaleo – called by name; called to service) (Romans 8:30) where predestination is a consequence of God’s foreknowing (proginosko) (Romans 8:29).
In Vs 3 here the calling is not to salvation but to service as one of God’s people.
Thus, “Even as His godly power has given us all things that are necessary for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His glory and virtue.”
This does define such knowledge as that which comes through the one who has called us. Such knowledge would have to be that of one who is saved, and requires this knowledge to grow as a child of God to serve and worship Him.
See the following where “hath called” is kaleo.
1 Peter 2:9 – But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (It could be a calling to service or a calling by name of those who have cried out for salvation; the latter would assume an election conditional upon God’s foreknowledge. The context of this calling does appear to be related to our ministry for God.)
God calls us by name to serve Him, to worship Him. Thus “knowledge” (epignosis) would relate to such a calling in Vs 3 above. Peter’s use of epignosis (note its verb form epiginosko as per 2 Peter 2:21) three times in our passage today (and again in 2 Peter 2:20) clearly applies to the deeper more complete knowledge that a Christian would have as a result of his salvation. Vs 1 above demonstrates that Peter is writing to genuine born-again Christians and therefore this passage today must be applied accordingly. It is those who have been saved by Christ who understand it more fully. Lack of such knowledge before we are saved is why we need faith to respond to the gift of salvation in the first place. It is a step of faith into the unknown. But after we are saved, then we may grow in the knowledge of Him who has called us.
2 Peter 1:4 – Whereby (per God’s glory and virtue) are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Whereby – These great and precious promises are included in the “all things” of Vs 3 above, which are ours through the glory and virtue of God.
exceeding great – megistos (exceedingly great; greatest; very great) The superlative form of megas (great).
precious – timios (of great price; precious; held in honour; esteemed; especially dear) From time (see Vs 1 above)
partakers – koinonos (partaker; partner; associate; comrade; corporation; sharer; holding things in common with others) From koinos (common; ordinary; belonging to all; profane) Thus partaking of the divine nature in common with all others in the Church. Note its use in 2 Corinthians 1:7 – And our hope of you [is] stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so [shall ye be] also of the consolation.
having escaped – apopheugo (escape; flee from) Also used in 2 Peter 2:18 & 20.
the world – kosmos
lust – epithymia (desire; lust; craving; desire for what is forbidden; longing) From the verb form epithymeo which is derived from epi and thymos (passion; anger); more than just passion but a deeper, more pronounced passion, probably as one who is addicted.
These promises are greater than just any promises; these are from God Himself. For when God promises, it is backed by Himself, for he can swear by none greater.
Hebrews 6:12-13 – 12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Promises therefore cannot be greater than these ones.
These promises enable us to be partakers (in common with all other believers) of God’s divine nature. Our lives are hid with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:2-3 – 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
By these promises we have been made partakers of the divine nature because we have escaped the corruption (the consequence of our addictive passion or love of the world).
ye might be – ginomai (to become, to come into existence; to happen; come to pass; be wrought) That is, by these promises the partaking of the divine nature would occur. The partaking of the divine nature is a consequence of these promises. This partaking of the divine nature also appears to be portrayed as an alternative to the corruption of the world.
The message is clear here: we cannot be partakers of the divine nature while still having a passionate lust for the things of the world. Thus we can’t be partakers of the divine nature if we do not flee (escape from) the corruption of the world. We must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24).
1 John 2:15-16 – 15Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father,
Note also 2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee (pheugo) also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
“flee” (pheugo) here is the same root word as used for “escaped” (apopheugo) in 2 Peter 1:4 above.
Once again, we can see that all this can only apply to Christians, and even then, they must still flee from the corruption that is in the world first. It is inconceivable that non-Christians should be in any way partakers of the divine nature! But how many Christians today haven’t yet made much effort to flee from the world? And therefore how many Christians are not really partakers of the divine nature? Or, are you actually a genuine Christian if you refuse to flee from the world’s corruption?
Therefore the knowledge (epignosis) that prompts this (Vs 3 above) can only be that which may be known by God’s children. This understanding of this word “knowledge” is very important when we get to 2 Peter 2:20.
2 Peter 1:5 – And beside this (or And for this very reason; And on this very account; But for this very cause also), giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
knowledge – gnosis (knowledge signified in general intelligence; understanding in general terms; the general knowledge of the Christian religion; moral, spiritual and ethical discernment) This word is not the deeper epignosis which relates to the deeper knowledge that a Christian has of God and that God has of His people. Ellicott says: By “knowledge” here is probably meant spiritual discernment as to what is right and what is wrong in all things; the right object, the right way, the right time. ….. It means …. knowledge that still admits of growth, not yet ripe or complete.
And for this very reason (that is, Vss 3 & 4 above) we should be thoroughly diligent in adding virtue (moral goodness) to our faith (as per Vs 1 above), and then adding knowledge (some measure of discernment) to our virtue. Faith is worthless without moral goodness (Faith without works is dead – James 2:17). Your faith must demonstrated by that which is good, not evil, and moral goodness is of little value without the ability to discern between good and evil.
2 Peter 1:6 – And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
To your knowledge (discernment) add temperance (self-control), and to your temperance add patience (steadfastness; endurance) and to your patience add godliness (reverence; respect; piety toward God). Discernment is of little value if you lack the self-control to act upon it, and self-control itself is worthless if it cannot be maintained for the long term. Then apply all this to building godliness, a true reverence and piety for God, the realisation of God’s abiding presence.
2 Peter 1:7 – And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
To your godliness add brotherly kindness (philadephia – brotherly love; love of Christian brethren for each other), and to your brotherly kindness add charity (agape – love of God for man: love of Christians for God; love of Christian for Christian; love of Christian for the lost). A godly attitude should result in brotherly love (Romans 12:10 – [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love (philadelphia); in honour preferring one another;) which should be extended to the love (agape) God has for mankind in general, including the lost.
2 Peter 1:8 – For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge (epignosis) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
abound – be super abundant; to exist in abundance; to increase.
barren – argos (free from labour; at leisure; lazy; shunning the labour which one ought to perform) From the negative form of ergon (work; employment; industry)
Science measures the amount of work in “erg” units (cm-gm-second units)
unfruitful – akarpos (without fruit; unfruitful; barren; not yielding what it ought to yield) From the negative form of karpos (fruit)
Note John 15:16 where the disciples were called to bear fruit. Those who didn’t bear fruit were pruned from the vine. Is this what happened to Judas who was one of those called to bear fruit in John 15:16?
knowledge – epignosis This is again applied to a specific knowledge of God and of Christ through being partakers of the divine nature. As Ellicott says: the fuller, more advanced knowledge of 2Peter 1:2-3, and 2Peter 2:20. This is the goal towards which all these virtues tend, the fruit which they tend to produce—the perfect knowledge of Christ. Those who are the most like Christ in their lives have the fullest knowledge of Him in this world, a knowledge to be perfected in the next world, when, purified from sin, “we shall see Him as He is.” (See 1 John 3:2)
2 Peter 1:9 – But he that lacketh these things is blind (or mentally/spiritually blind), and cannot see afar off (near-sighted), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
cannot see afar off – myopazo (see dimly; see only what is near) From mysterion (hidden thing; secret; mystery) and optanomai (look at; behold; appear). It has the idea of what you see being somewhat of a mystery. We get myopia (= short-sightedness) from this term.
Cf Mark 8:24 – And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
It would mean that a person who lacked such things would be spiritually blind and would lack discernment in spiritual matters, like the pharisees who thought they knew everything (they couldn’t be wrong) but really knew nothing. Are today’s pharisees called calvinists?
Matthew 15:12-14 – 12Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
forgotten – lethe (forgetfulness) From lanthano (to be hidden; secretly; unawares; without knowing) It is more to do with a deliberate decision to hide what you know so that you “forget” it.
And has chosen to forget (or ignore) – or has taken forgetfulness upon himself – the fact that he had been purged from (cleansed of; purified of) his old sins. That is, he makes a decision of some sort to put out of his mind (or thinking), to try and forget the purging of his sins in the past, to not be mindful of what has been done in order to purge him. This is the consequence of lacking or denying the attributes of the godly person (Vss 5-7 above), and the consequences of not partaking of the divine nature (Vs 4 above), presumably because he had not really wanted to escape the corruption of the world. (Note Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10)
The context does appear to support the idea that he once had these things and now lacks them (or consciously determines to forget them). This lack of attributes has rendered such a person spiritually blind and spiritually near-sighted; he lacks that epignosis (deeper knowledge) which arises from the abundance of these things (Vs 8 above) and that gnosis (discernment – Vss 5 & 6 above). This then leads directly into the next verse.
On a side-note, while Romans 9:21 says that God is able to make vessels of honour and dishonour, 2 Timothy 2:20-21 says that a dishonourable vessel can be purged to become a vessel of honour.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 – 20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. (where “purge” here is from the same Greek root word as “purged” in 2 Peter 1:9)
2 Peter 1:10 – Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
calling – klesis (a call; invitation [to a feast or banquet]; of the divine invitation to embrace salvation of God) While kaleo (Vs 3 above) refers to being called by name, or giving a name to someone, or being called personally to a ministry or office, klesis here is an invitation to salvation (cf the wedding feast – Matthew 22:1-14). It is the noun form of the verb kletos which refers to being invited to attend a feast, banquet, salvation, etc.
Matthew 22:14 – For many are called (kletos – invited), but few [are] chosen (eklektos – chosen; elect).
Philippians 3:14 – I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling (klesis) of God in Christ Jesus.
election – ekloge (the act of picking out, choosing) Those who are chosen Elect (eklektos) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Peter 1:2).
Both ekloge and eklektos are derived from eklegomai.
Note that Judas was eklegomai (elected; chosen) as one of the 12 disciples in John 6:70, and that Jesus lost Judas in John 17:13.
The biblical process is very clear. God has provided a full atonement for all mankind, that is, all without exception, making it possible for all people to be saved, pardoned from all penalty prescribed by the law for all their sin. This has been offered as a free gift to all mankind; the pardon only being applied (activated; made effective; obtained) upon the acceptance of that free gift by the sinner through calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) by faith. All are called (drawn via the cross) as per John 12:32. All those who sin (Romans 3:23) are justified freely (Romans 3:24), yet it only becomes a reality through faith (Romans 3:28). All are kletos (invited to be saved) but only those who accept by calling upon the name of the Lord are saved (Romans 10:13). Many are called but few are chosen.
Because God is eternal, He exists at all times at all points of time simultaneously. (This is what I AM means.) Therefore His foreknowledge is perfect from beginning to end from the foundation of the world.
God calls (kletos) man to be saved, and then chooses (ekloge) by foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2) those who accept that salvation offer. This is your calling (klesis) and your election (ekloge).
But how do you diligently ensure your calling and election? For it is certain that, from this verse, both calling and election are tied together; your election follows your acceptance of your calling. John 6:44 teaches that none may come unless drawn by the Father, yet John 12:32 says that all mankind is drawn via the cross. God chooses His elect when they call upon the name of the Lord to be saved after hearing the gospel (which is their klesis, their invitation to come). All are drawn, all are invited, all are called, yet only some actually come in faith (and therefore become the chosen, the elect, by the foreknowledge of the Father). And if you do make both your calling and your election sure, you shall never fall (you shall never [certainly not] fall [stumble; fall; err; make a mistake; sin; fall into misery; become wretched]). It doesn’t primarily appear to have the idea of falling away from salvation (but could ultimately mean this). Vs 9 above does depict someone who has chosen to ignore or forget the cleansing (purging) through his salvation in order to justify sinning via the corruption that is in the world. Such a person might be able to sin without feeling guilty because he has conveniently forgotten (somewhat deliberately) his previous purging of his sins of the past.
James says that faith without works is dead (James 2:17) and that we are justified by our works (James 2:24). That is, our works are the justification for our claim to be saved. Without those works, we would appear to be liars, not having the faith we claim to possess. 2 Peter 1:10 above has the same idea: that our diligence (that is, effectively works) makes our calling and election sure (stable; fast; firm; sure; able to be trusted). Our diligence to these matters gives good support to our claim of being one of God’s children. If we are saved, we’ll act like it.
However, if we have no works, as per James 2:24, then it is possible to interpret our faith as dead. This does appear to introduce the possibility of losing our salvation if we haven’t been partakers of the divine nature as we should have (presumably because we refused to flee from the corruption of the world). Also note 2 Peter 2:18-21, a passage which today’s passage is leading toward. That is, our faith may be dead if we do not leave the world behind us when we are saved. It does suggest that in order to have eternal security we must flee the corruption that is in the world in order to partake of the divine nature instead. No “easy-believism” here!
never fall – primarily to be read as never being utterly cast down as per Psalm 37:24, but could ultimately mean that those who were purged of their sins in the past could purposely “forget” their salvation to the extent that they could utterly fall! (See Vs 9 above)
2 Peter 1:11 – For so an entrance (into the kingdom) shall be ministered (added; supplied; bestowed) unto you abundantly (or richly) into the everlasting (or eternal) kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“For in this way an entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shall be richly bestowed upon you.”
Philippians 2:12-13 – 12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].
It could be saying that if you do fall as per Vs 10 above, then an entrance into the kingdom may not permitted you. In the context of 2 Peter, this is something that cannot be ignored: that those who are purged from their sins (in salvation) yet do not partake of the divine nature, having not escaped the corruption of the world (see Vs 4 above, also 2 Peter 2:18-21) may not be assured an entrance into the kingdom.