2 Peter 1:4 ESV
The Bible is God’s word telling us about himself, his plan to bring glory and honor to himself through the Lord Jesus Christ, and about his desire to share his love and riches with a people rescued from sin by Jesus, the Son of God. This plan involves making that rescued or saved people God’s people. In the OTS the Lord God did not reveal the fullness of his plan, but in the NTS the Spirit tells us that the people are the spiritual body of Christ. This idea is made known in a number of places. We will now consider the Promises.
I. A great gift
A.The importance of the promises
1.The Holy Spirit uses the promises of God in our renovation.
Illustration: The promises are like his blueprint for what he wants to do.
2.As the Spirit by grace has given a new heart to change us, so he uses God’s promises to influence and to mold our behavior from the inside out.
B.The content of the promises
1.The forgiveness of sins – Heb 8:12
2.A new heart – Col 3:10
3.The indwelling of the Holy Spirit – Rm 8:12ff
4.The rule of grace – Rm 6:14
5.Partnership in God’s family – Mt 6:25ff
6.Mercy and grace through prayer – Heb 4:14-16
7.Future glory – 1 Jn 3:2-3
Illustration: Each promise is a gift that we are to “unwrap” and use.
II. The reason for the gift
A.To escape the corruption in the world
1.There is corruption in the world and it is caused by evil desires.
Illustration: Consider how nice city neighborhoods have been turned into slums.
Comment: Place of desires – compare Seeing with New Eyes
2.“When the promises are understood and believed, the desires get a new direction, which leads them out of this world.” [Brown, p. 136]
Illustration: The grubby boy who “suddenly discovers” girls
B.To participate in the divine nature
1.This does not mean in the essence of God’s nature but in its moral characteristics or disposition or inclination.
2.“It is by understanding and believing the gospel revelation that our mind is brought into conformity with God’s mind—our will into conformity with His will; it is thus we become godly—God-like, spiritually, heavenly minded….” [Brown, p. 137]
3.This happens over a period of time. It is like the gradual, but ongoing, renovation of a house.
1. To live as we ought, we have to know what we are by grace in Jesus Christ.
The Christian life was never meant to be a continual search to find out who you are, nor to be a search for some kind of second blessing.
Illustration: When you get a car repaired, you do not want to spend your money for needless repairs.
Instead, God has given us what we need. “You are one of God’s children. That is all that you need to be. Now act like one of God’s children ought to act.”
2. Polemic importance in the context of 2 Peter and beyond – Here is a foundation for combating the error of the false teachers.
They thought that knowledge dispensed with the need for godly behavior, so Peter stressed the opposite. This is the ancient intellectual trap (cf. Rm 1:23). Christians will do well to avoid the “doctrinal knowledge” variation of this trap.
They thought that godly living was impossible, so Peter shows them God’s provision. To someone who is not in Christ, a godly way of life is impossible; but it is not for the Christian. God had outfitted us for the task.
Illustration: In Pilgrim’s Progress, Hopeful and Christian were held prisoner in Doubting Castle. All the time, they held a key called Promise that could have easily unlocked all the doors.
The false teachers assumed that a person escaped and participated either by law-keeping or by nature, so Peter proclaims that it is by grace. Here is a base for joy and peace in the Christian walk. Realize that you stand by grace.
3. Acknowledge sin; avoid despair.
As believers, we ought to be much more Christ-like. We should confess our sin that we are not. But in the words of John Brown, “let them not despair—let them resolve to use more carefully, than heretofore, the abundant provision which has been made for their indefinite progress in holiness; for there is no saying what measure of a divine nature we may obtain—how much like God we may become, even here, in holiness and happiness—how much of heaven we may enjoy on earth….” [Brown, p. 138]