2 Peter #1 2 Peter 1: 1-2 A Slave With A Status
2 Peter #1 2 Peter 1: 1-2 A Slave With A Status
In his first letter, Peter was concerned with how to live an exemplary life in a hostile world. Loving others is the key to living an exemplary life. Jesus is the model, who sacrificed the comfort zone for the mission, of meeting the needs of others by doing the will of the One He called Father. Especially in the family of God, we are to love one another, taking care of one another. Outside the congregation, good deeds silence the slander of outsiders. Followers of Jesus are to be lovers, looking beyond themselves to be a blessing to others.
In his second letter, Peter is concerned with false teachers. False teachers lead followers of Jesus astray. “Bad teaching results in bad behavior; bad behavior is a symptom of an incorrect faith.” (Daniel G. Powers, 1&2 Peter Jude, A Commentary, in the Wesleyan Tradition, p 172) Living an exemplary life is a demonstration of possessing right beliefs. “Peter establishes Scripture and apostolic tradition as the litmus test for orthodox Christian teaching.” (Daniel G. Powers, 1&2 Peter Jude, A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, p 171) Peter teaches that the Scriptures are God inspired and not the result of well-fabricated tales and can be considered the guide to living your life to the full, living moral, and ethical life. The second coming of Christ is linked with the Day of Judgement and Peter uses the familiar apocalyptic picture of fire destroying the old order so that God can establish the new. Only those who are living a devout and holy life, growing in righteousness, enter into a new heaven and a new earth.
2 Peter 1:1-2 (MSG)
I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
Peter describes himself as a servant and apostle. Recall servant is a more palatable way to render the original language which means slave. Slave to Jesus, that is a picture of the kind of commitment you make when you bend your knee to the Lordship of Christ. A slave is tasked with doing the will of the Master. Being a slave of Jesus has tremendous perks, the primary one is knowledge of God that leads to life eternal, and the secondary one is living your life to the full here and now.
To become a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit first awakens you to the fact that you are a sinner. A sinner is out of sync with God. The symptom of being out of sync with God has damaged relationships with others and with yourself. Those relational messes in your life are the result of sin. Sin is anything that deters, damages, or destroys righteous relationships. The messes we make with our poor choices, with our negative habits, attachments, and addictions are indicators of being out of sync with the person God created you to be. The Ten Commandments are given to illuminate our sinful behaviors, given not to condemn but to awaken us to our spiritual need to be right with God.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall make no idols.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not lie
You shall not covet.
When we examine our behavior and see the inconsistencies in living up to our moral standards let alone God’s it is all the confirmation we need to know that we are a sinner.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t stop with this awakening, this is the starting point that sets us on the course to find out why we are not living up to our expectations, why we can’t, and why we keep messing up our most intimate of relationships, why we are so dissatisfied with life. That sincere search may have brought you here today so that you can hear the good news of the gospel.
John 3:16 (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
Believing is being convinced that Jesus made an atonement for all your sinful behavior, somehow he took upon himself the full brunt of the penalty for living an out-of-sync life with God, made it possible to be forgiven of our sin, reconciled to God, and given a new lease on life. That new lease on life with a right relationship with God is described in scripture as being a new creation in Christ, now empowered to live an exemplary life.
Awakened to the need, believing Jesus to be able to meet your need you commit to be a follower of Jesus. Like Peter you offer yourself as a slave to Jesus, learning how to do life Jesus’ way, loving as Jesus loved. We’ve called this bending the knee to the Lordship of Christ. Genuflected is a sign that you recognize the authority of one greater than yourself. It is a sign of submission and fidelity. It is a sign of loyalty and integrity.
Then you ask God to accept your faith and make you His slave. That prayer for help is answered by the infilling of the Holy Spirit empowering you to make good on your commitment. God allows you to become His slave, but not like the slaves we are so familiar with in Western culture, no you become part of the family. God adopts you as His own, call you son or daughter.
To get right with God, acknowledge, believe, commit, and ask. If that is something you desire to do today, Do It! Right now evaluate, do you want to be right with God? Make your decision right now. Maybe is a no. Later is a no.
2 Corinthians 6:2-3 (MSG)
God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late,
Let me know what you decide.
Peter calls himself a slave and calls himself an apostle. Apostle means one who is sent. In Peter’s case the title Apostle identifies him as one who was with Jesus, one selected by Jesus, one of the original Christ followers who saw all the Jesus did and heard all that Jesus taught. Peter is a slave with a status. He has been given a job with the authority to carry it out. He has been entrusted with a mission. When you become a slave to Jesus you also have been entrusted with a mission and given authority, the power to carry out that mission. Jesus tells each of those who commit to following Him--
Matthew 28:18-20 (MSG)
"God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.
You’re a slave and an ambassador. An ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a country or in this case kingdom, the Kingdom of God, as its official representative to a foreign country. That foreign country is a spiritual one in which the inhabitants do not know God. You are a citizen of a heavenly kingdom sent to this place to represent the interests of Christ. Are you sacrificing your comfort zone to carry out your mission? That’s what is expected of a disciple of Jesus.
Peter continues, “I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” As a slave and an ambassador, you are one equal status with Peter. No hierarchy here. All who have bent the knee to the Lordship of Christ are on equal status before God. (Powers p. 174) If you recall from his first letter Peter .wanted to assure the Gentile converts that they were on equal status with the Jewish Christians. Peter again is assuring gentiles, who are those not born Jewish, that there are no second-class citizens in the kingdom. Every Christ follower has access to the same blessings and privileges.
It remains a mystery as to how but notice all the life-change that has come and is coming is because of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Peter equates Jesus with God. There are only three other scripture references that explicitly do the same: John 1:1, John 20:28, and Hebrews 1:8-9. Early on believers acknowledged the divinity of Jesus. The church will continue to struggle with how God the Father and God the Son are different yet the same. Further the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit will also be acknowledged as God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are different and distinct yet the same. It’s really a mind-blower as to how this can be. One God exists in three divine persons. By 325 AD the church came up with this statement of belief:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth… And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made ...And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified…
This belief becomes known as the doctrine of the Trinity. One God in Three Persons.
Peter identifies Jesus as both God and Savior. A savior saves. He “rescues humanity from their sins and keeps them safe.” (Powers p 175)
1 John 2:2 (MSG)
When [Jesus] served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world's.
The forgiveness of sin is what is necessary to reconcile one’s relationship with God. Jesus accomplished this for everyone who wants to be right with God. Everyone is included, doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you have done, whosoever will (Revelation 22:17) is the open invitation to receive the benefit of Jesus' sacrifice. We are rescued from spiritual death and the dead-end way of living that is a manifestation of being clueless about God.
Those who are slaves to Jesus are under His protection and His care. You do your part, Jesus does His. The result is you live your life to the full (John 10:10) as you carry out your mission and when your death comes, waiting is life eternal.
John 6:40 (MSG)
This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time."
We fancy ourselves as self-sufficient, but life has proven over and over again that each one of us will require a savior. Often people need to get in a no-win situation before they realize that they do not have what it takes to survive the circumstance. Who is going to give you a hand up when you hit rock bottom? Who is going to help you get through the storms of life when they rage? Who is going to light a path when you stand in the darkness of confusion? Who is going to be by your side when no one will stand with you? Jesus can be that savior for you. You just have to establish that relationship on His terms.
In verse 2 Peter gives his readers a prayer greeting. Grace and peace be yours in abundance. Grace is a gift of the desire to do the will of God and the power to accomplish it. Peace carries with it the idea of possessing everything you need to live a good life. Both are yours in abundance as you mature in your relationship with God. As your experiential knowledge of God increases you access more grace and peace. Peter is going to differentiate between true knowledge and false knowledge. True knowledge of Jesus unites head and heart, belief and action. (Powers p 177) True knowledge is transformative, you become more and more like Jesus. The morals of the Kingdom become your own.
We can take away a couple of important concepts from these first 2 verses. Jesus is God. This is a supremely significant principle in Peter’s teaching. There is also something that should be contemplated. Misbehavior is due to inadequate relational knowledge of God. The way to overcome misbehavior, disobedience, and besetting sin is to draw closer to God through the practice of the 7 habits of a disciple: bible study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation are the way to request an audience with God. It is through these encounters that your relational knowledge grows. As your relational knowledge of God grows love compels you to refrain from anything that would hinder that relationship and engage in anything that will strengthen and nurture it.
We will pick up next time and consider verses 3-4. Until then put into practice what Peter is preaching.