II Peter 1:4 completes the thought from verse 3. Since God has “given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” Christians are also recipients of God’s precious promises and made “partakers of the divine nature” since we have escaped the corruption of the world. What does this mean to Christians? While it is a “mouthful” to read, the truth behind it is simple.
Peter is merely reminding Christians that we are the recipients of God’s “exceeding great and precious promises.” This is an overwhelming thought when we think of all of the promises God has made to His children. The beautiful thing is that God has not forgotten us, and we have access to His many promises as a result of being in Christ.
“By these” promises, we are also made “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). What does this phrase mean? A way that helped me understand was to think about other times when the word “partaker” is used in Scripture. Often, the Bible speaks about a man “partaking” in sin with someone else (I Cor. 10:20-21; Eph. 5:6-7, 11; II Jn. 11). In other words, the Bible is saying do not have fellowship with those in sin. In II Peter, though, we find just the opposite. Since this is God’s blessings, and bestowed promises under consideration, this text encourages us to be a partaker, share, or have fellowship with God!
Just think -- that which was lost at Eden has been restored in Christ! Though our sins are many, they can be forgiven (Acts 2:38)! Though we have been separated from God because of sin (Isa. 59:1-2), we have the opportunity to enjoy fellowship (be partakers) with God once more in Christ! Since we have escaped “the corruption that is in the world through lust,” we have access to blessings we might not have considered before. We have these because we “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” delivered through the apostles, and now are “made free from sin” (Rom. 6:17-18). Now is the time to enjoy the fellowship we have with God!
If you read this and realize that you are not a Christian, then why not become one today? Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24; Heb. 11:6), repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 17:30), confess your faith in Christ (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10) and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). When you do this, you can have access to God’s blessings, His promises, and be in fellowship or a partaker of the divine nature. What’s stopping you from doing what the Lord says? Obey today (II Cor. 6:2; Heb. 5:9)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (II Pet. 1:2). Read this verse again carefully because I don’t know of any two things more sought-after in this world right now than grace and peace. Grace (put simply, unmerited favor) and peace (lack of hostile feelings toward another or toward you) are things that soothe the soul of man. We clamor for this in a world where many are hostile and uncaring. Look around, and in the US, rioting seems to occur daily right now. Police departments are threatened with being “unfunded” (This has already happened in some cities. Think about the consequences of no police protection in an area.) and many atrocities are committed by people claiming to be “oppressed.” Our social media is often filled with those who seem more ready to “bite and devour” (Gal. 5:15) than to love and understand. Yes, there are those still willing to talk and work out differences, but this rarely happens in a “tweet” or a Facebook message. This is something that happens one-on-one when we can face one another and talk and understand our differences.
Why the lack of grace and peace? I thought we were “enlightened” and above petty differences! Have we not grown beyond the petty bickering and the turmoil of the past? Without God, the answer is no (Jer. 10:23). Man continues to sin (Rom. 3:23), and he remains in his downward spiral so long as he refuses to acknowledge God and His truth (Jn. 17:17).
In contrast, grace and peace are “multiplied” (not merely “added”) “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (II Pet. 1:2). What a concept! When we strive to know God and strive to learn what Christ taught us while on this earth, this is when grace and peace are multiplied to us! How much time are YOU spending in God’s word? Availing yourself of the knowledge found in Scriptures will multiply grace and peace for you. Rejecting it will not bring grace and peace of any kind.
Haven’t we spent enough years NOT reading God’s word? Why not take some time (30 days perhaps?) and read God’s word daily. Then be amazed at how you are benefited by the knowledge of God and Jesus when you apply it to your life.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
The apostle Peter’s second epistle was addressed to those “who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 1). II Peter is one of the epistles commonly called “general epistles” by men seeing as there was no specific person addressed. Yet, when I read this, I read of a particular group of people addressed. Peter addresses those who have “like precious faith”! In that sense, he has specified one group of people as his target and excluded the majority of the world. Not everyone enjoys a “like precious faith” with Peter. Do you, dear one?
The two English words, “like precious,” are derived from the single Greek word “isotimos,” meaning equally honored. The term “faith” or “Pistis” in the Greek has to do with persuasion and conviction. Peter thus says that his writing is to those who share an equally honored conviction or persuasion through Christ. Do you share this with Peter? If not, you can change that today.
If you would believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 8:24), and repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3), you can then confess your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The same writer of II Peter preached the first gospel sermon in Acts 2, and made it clear that when we repent and are baptized, we will be forgiven of sins and receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit.” This gift connects us in fellowship with other Christians, including Peter, who possess a “like precious faith” to our own! How amazing it is to think that we who accept the Lord’s plan of salvation are children of God as Peter was, and have access to the same blessings (Rom. 8:16-17)!
What are you doing to maintain that “like precious faith” (II Pet. 3:18)? Let’s make it a priority to tell others about this faith and bring others with us to Heaven.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Obadiah was a prophet sent to the Edomite nation (v. 1). This short book speaks volumes about the sins of the Edomites and how God was not going to allow their error to continue indefinitely (v. 4, 8-10, 15, 21). Among the sins of the people, God lists pride as a great sin that ruined those people. He said it deceived them (v. 3).
Pride in this text refers to a man’s arrogance, insolence, or presumption. To deceive means “to lead astray, seduce, beguile” (Strong’s). What pride did was lead the Edomites astray from the truth and the reality of God’s power. This is what pride does to men today! God says He hates even the “proud look” (Prov. 6:17). Solomon adds to our understanding by saying that a man’s pride precedes his destruction (Prov. 16:18). Can we see that there is nothing good associated with a man’s arrogance or presumption (pride)? David begged God to “keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:13).
Pride deceives us! In the past, pride deceived Edom into thinking that they were untouchable by the enemy (v. 3). Pride deceives Christians into thinking they cannot be touched by sin. Pride deceives the lost into thinking that they are saved. Let us beware of the danger of pride. It will destroy a nation like Edom, a family, a church, and even an individual (Prov. 16:18)!
What is the cure for pride? It is humility! Rather than being arrogant and haughty, let us be “clothed with humility” (I Pet. 5:5). Let us humble ourselves now that God may exalt us “in due time” (I Pet. 5:6; Jas. 4:10). It is not the most pleasant decision we will make, but it is for the best. Humility now will save us from destruction later.
Christ reminds us, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 14:11). The Edomites were going to experience that truth. What about us? Will we humble ourselves now that we might be exalted later? Friend, don’t let pride deceive you anymore!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
When the walls of Jerusalem were erected, and only the gates remained to be hung, Israel’s enemies again tried to stop the progress. Seeing that brute force would not work (Neh. 4:7-23), Sanballat and Geshem tried a more “diplomatic” approach where perhaps they could get Nehemiah to compromise with them. They asked him to stop the work and meet them in one of the villages in the plain of Ono (Neh. 6:2-3). Nehemiah was not falling for this, and refused, even though the men hounded him for a meeting (v. 4-5).
When Nehemiah refused, Sanballat sent an open letter (Neh. 6:5) accusing him and the Jews of rebellion against Xerxes. Understand, an “open letter” was a form of insult against Nehemiah. Yet, when insulted, Nehemiah spoke the truth that Sanballat made up these charges. He then prayed for God’s strength (v. 8-9). He faced yet another test when Shemiah tried to get him to hide in the Temple under the ruse that Nehemiah needed to do this to save his life (v. 10-11). Thankfully, Nehemiah refused to listen and stood his ground with his people, again turning to God in this time (v. 14).
Satan does the same to us. First, he tempts us to give in to our lusts and sin against God (Jas. 1:14-15). If temptations that lead to rebellion do not lure us, then he uses other tactics, like compromise, to lead us away from the Lord. We see this in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 when Satan tempted Christ. When other tactics failed, he tried to get Jesus to compromise. If Jesus bowed and worshipped Satan, He would have the “kingdoms of the world”! He could avoid the cross altogether (Matt. 4:8-10; Lk. 4:5-8)! Why not compromise, Jesus? Isn’t this a way to “have your cake and eat it too”?
Compromise with the truth has been Satan’s tactic for years. He wants men to feel good about their partial obedience and then justify the behavior we want to do. For example, we might not yield to the temptation to be homosexual (Rom. 1:26-27), but Satan wants us to say we love others and will accept this behavior in others (ignoring Rom. 1:32). Similarly, we might not drink alcohol (I Pet. 4:3), but Satan says we ought not to condemn others who drink and exercise their “rights” in the USA. If someone takes a stand for truth and says that there is only one way to Heaven, through the teachings of Christ (Jn. 14:6), Satan’s minions will hound us and call us “narrow-minded,” and a “Pharisee.”
Yes, when Satan fails at getting us to turn from the Lord, he will try to get us to compromise. Friend, what will we do about this? What have we done? I hope we haven’t fallen into the trap of compromising with sin, but if so, know that there is still time to repent while we live (II Pet. 3:9; Heb. 3:7-8). If you need to be baptized for the remission of sins, then do it (Acts 2:38; I Pet. 3:21). Don’t compromise with false doctrine on this issue or any other! Take advantage of the time we have and do what God says without compromise or apology -- just like Nehemiah!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs