This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.2 Peter 1:1-2 (WEB)
I have written a lot about the Proverbs lately, and decided to switch gears and move into a New Testament letter. I was reading Peter’s second letter a few days ago, and so thought I would share a few thoughts.
Slave and Apostle
The opening is straightforward enough, and we learn that this letter, like the first one, comes from Simon Peter. Peter is probably Jesus’ most well-known disciple, and a man infamous for leaping in, putting his foot in it and thinking more highly of himself than he ought. He even once dared to “correct” the Lord (see Matthew 16:22).
Yet, for all his pride, Peter denied Christ and this event likely humbled him deeply. As he introduces his second letter, he depicts himself as an apostle yes, but a slave also. Peter could have bowled in, laying down his apostolic rights and demanding to be respected, but instead he refers to himself as a slave. And notice, he says slave first, then apostle.
May I be known as a writer, yes, but a slave first. May others see me as husband and father, of course, but primarily as a servant of Christ.
May I be known as a writer, yes, but a slave first. May others see me as husband and father, of course, but primarily as a servant of #Christ. #BibleTweet
Whatever you “are” in your life, let your servanthood of Jesus be at the top of the list. The word “slave” (rightly) has negative connotations to us, and indeed we tend to prefer servant (although not a great deal more!) If indeed Christ is our Master, and we are fully submitted to Him and His authority, then slave is not a wholly inappropriate term.
I yearn to follow Him more deeply and more fully. I know He loves me and has good things planned for me, and so I joyfully submit to slavery in His care.
Peter does not address his letter to a particular group. It is not written to a church location, nor to the Jewish believers in a certain place. Instead, he writes to “those who share the same precious faith”
Christians often find many things to disagree about. I could write a list but not sure that would be the most encouraging! Be it points of doctrine, interpretation of Scripture, or the colour of the curtains in the vestry, we can usually find something to debate!
Despite our variety and differences, Peter unites us in sharing “like precious faith.” Whatever our background, whatever our age, whatever our language; whatever else that may differ about each of us, the thing that brings us together is our faith in Jesus Christ.
This faith is not to be taken for granted. Our faith is precious, meaning of great value. We treat precious things with a certain respect, and our faith is no different.
This faith, precious as it is, is not something we have bought or earned. If we read Peter’s words carefully, we learn that our faith has been given to us by God. This is truly astonishing because it shows us that we could not believe in Jesus had God not first placed faith in us.
In my post – Hope Comes Looking – I referred to a course I am currently studying, and the topic of the Lent season was on “predestination”. This is about whether God chose us, or if we chose Him. There are different views, but I now tend towards a view that God first chose us, and that even our faith in Him is entirely dependent on His Sovereign choice. This verse from Peter’s letter shows that even the faith we depend upon is given to us by God.
The WEB translation says we have been given this faith because of Jesus’ justice and fairness. Fairness is one of the reasons some do not agree with the view that God chose whoever He willed, because they deem it “unfair.” It is “unfair” for God to choose some for salvation and not others. I have said it before however, and state the same again now, we do not want fairness from God – we want mercy. Fairness from God is for Him to save no one, and leave us in the sin that stains us.
So, how do we read the above? Most other translations seem to render the words “justice and fairness” as simply “righteousness.” That, to me at least, feels a much better word. God is indeed righteous, and we praise and thank Him for bestowing this precious faith upon us.
Verse two says:
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.2 Peter 1:2 (WEB)
What a powerful little blessing this is. I pray this over every one of my readers today. May you indeed grow in the knowledge of the Lord (and I pray in some small way this post helps with that), and as you do so, may He give you more and more grace and peace.
May God’s grace be evident in your life more and more, and may His peace rule in your heart and your homes today.
Thanks for reading!