Yesterday’s post and today’s is kind of broken up funny. We focused only on II Peter 1:16 yesterday, but to understand the rest of the thought, we will not only read verse 16 but also verses 17-19 in II Peter 1. We focused our attention yesterday on the phrase “cunningly devised fables” from II Peter 1:16. We saw how the Bible is not a fable or a myth, but the inspired truth from God. We went to several passages to show this fact and convince our dear readers of the treasure we have when we possess a Bible and read it. Peter said he was determined to remind brethren about the truth (not fables or myths) until his dying day!
When the apostle Peter made it clear that the apostles were not following “cunningly devised fables,” he used only two examples as evidence. His first proof for how they can know this was not something made up by men, was by reminding the readers of the Transfiguration. The “power and coming of our Lord” was real because the apostles were “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (II Pet. 1:16). Specifically, he, James, and John had seen Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13; Mk. 9:2-13; Lk. 9:28-36). Peter describes it in II Peter 1:17-18.
When we read Peter’s recalling of the Transfiguration, I find it interesting that what He writes about is not Jesus’ transformation or seeing the souls of dead heroes. His focus is on the words spoken from Heaven. When the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” were spoken, there was nothing else to say! Peter, one of three eyewitnesses of Jesus on the mountain, lets us know we can trust what was seen and can trust what was said from Heaven. The “present truth” concerning Christ and His doctrine (v. 12) had the “stamp of approval” from God and needed to be established in the minds of the Christians!
This same urgency needs to be with the disciples today (II Cor. 5:11, 6:2). People need to know and understand who Jesus is. We need to stand in awe of His majesty, and appreciate the fact that this Jesus of Nazareth came and died on the cross that we might be saved from our sins (Matt. 20:28; Jn. 10:10b). God spoke from Heaven, and those who were there heard His voice and saw the majesty. Let us trust what the witnesses have said, and let us obey the Lord’s command (Heb. 5:9). He will save all who submit to His plan (Matt. 11:28-30; Mk. 16:16). We can have blessings now and blessings to come in eternity if we listen to the eyewitness testimony! Will you do it, friend?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
For the second time in chapter one, Peter says there is something to which a Christian needs to “give diligence” (II Pet. 1:10). When we read the context, we see that it is connected with adding to our faith. In this case, we must be diligent in making our “calling and election sure.”
The phrase teaches me that “once-saved-always-saved” is a false doctrine. Though many teach it today, they are wrong. This passage says that Christians have a responsibility to be diligent (eager, earnest, Strong’s) to make our calling and election sure (steadfast, firm, Strong’s). There is no need for this warning if once one is saved, he is always saved and can never fall! A simple reading of verses eight and nine also show that Peter was teaching just the opposite! We can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith ...” (I Tim. 4:1). Therefore, we better be diligent in making our “calling and election sure”!
How do I make my “calling and election sure”? I do this by following what Peter taught in II Peter 1:5-10! I add to my faith or grow daily (II Pet. 3:18). I make sure that what is produced is genuinely in me and “abounds” (v. 8). This means it overflows. My life as a Christian is a truly changed life, being changed from the inside-out! Being a Christian is not like putting on and taking off a coat. Instead, the old man of sin was put to death and buried, and I rose from the watery grave of baptism ready to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4-7).
Making my “calling and election sure” is a full-time job! Satan tempts us constantly, looking for some weakness in us that he can exploit (Jas. 1:14-15; I Pet. 5:8). He wants us to leave the Lord and return to the kingdom of darkness. We need to remember how dangerous this is. “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. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (II Pet. 2:20-21).
Friend, make your “calling and election sure”! Live faithfully for God every day (Rev. 2:10; I Cor. 15:58). Add to your faith, grow closer to God daily (II Pet. 1:5-8), and see the blessings that come as a result of doing what God has said. There is nothing better we can do on this earth!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
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
This may seem like an odd title at first, but I believe it describes Nehemiah’s actions appropriately. Nehemiah’s occupation was cupbearer to Artaxerxes (Neh. 1:11). This work required him to be a trusted person, but also one who was closest to the king not only physically, but emotionally. He and the king were friends in a sense. R.A. Torrey describes it this way, “The office of cup-bearer was one of great trust, honour, and emolument, in the Persian court. To be in such a place of trust he must have been in the king's confidence; for no eastern potentate would have a cup-bearer to whom he could not trust his life, poison being often administered in that way. It was an office much desired, because it gave access to the king in those seasons of hilarity when men are most disposed to grant favours” (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge).
There came a day, though, when Nehemiah saw he had to do something else. Jerusalem’s walls lay in ruins (Neh. 1:3), and it seemed no one else would take up the responsibility to repair those walls. Therefore, Nehemiah took it upon himself to lead the people in this work. He prayed to God about it (1:4-11, 2:4), and then requested “time off’ from his job to go and help the people (Neh. 2:5-6). The king consented to this, and Nehemiah went to Jerusalem (2:6-11).
Nehemiah then worked to lead the people and get them to do the work of rebuilding the walls (Neh. 2:17-18, 3:1-6:15). In fifty-two days, the walls were repaired, and the gates were attached! The work had been accomplished in spite of ridicule they faced, the physical threats, and attempts to get Nehemiah to compromise. Not to mention the internal issues (Neh. 5), and the general unrest at times when people were scared of the enemy or just frustrated because of the work. Despite all of this, we see success and happiness when the work was completed. Nehemiah, the “Tirshatha” (governor, Neh. 7:65, 70, 8:9, 10:1), had led the people, and they were blessed.
I hope that we can already see the comparison between Nehemiah and Christ. Just as Nehemiah, Christ was sent to do a job (Jn. 3:16; Heb. 3:1b). The One described as “in the bosom of the Father” or “in the closest fellowship with the Father” (Jn. 1:18, KJV, NET) was sent to this earth because men’s lives were in ruins and no one else could repair this problem (Jn. 10:10; Rom. 3:23, 5:6-8). Christ came to this world and led the people to the truth (Jn. 14:6). Even though Christ had the plan, each person must follow it on his own (Mk. 16:16; Rev. 22:14, 17; Jas. 2:24). As Nehemiah had a title, so also Jesus wears the title of King (Jn. 18:33-37; I Tim. 6:15)!
Like Nehemiah, Christ endured ridicule, physical threats, and hatred for what He did (Matt. 16:21; Lk. 6:11, 15:2; Jn. 7:1, 11:47-54; etc.). Unlike Nehemiah, however, Christ died for what He did, and saved not merely Jerusalem or the Jews, but saved the world (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 5:9)!
What beautiful foreshadowing we see in Nehemiah! When we read the book and marvel at Nehemiah's words and actions, let’s make sure we also see Christ.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
After Haman’s plans for killing the Jews, including Esther, were revealed (Est. 7:6), things moved very quickly. Mordecai’s enemy ended up hanging from the gallows he had made for him (v. 10). Not only this, but the ring Haman once wore was given to Mordecai (Est. 8:2). The position once held by Haman, Mordecai now held. The entire population of Jews, once oppressed, were allowed weapons and to have a fair fight against the Persians (Est. 8:11-12, 9:2-3). Yes, God in His providence caused a complete reversal in the plans of Haman “the enemy of the Jews.”
This is not the only time we read about this happening. When Jesus spoke about the eternal destiny of the rich man and Lazarus, we find another time when things were reversed (Lk. 16:19-31). Specifically, Abraham reminds the rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (v. 25). Upon analyzing the context, we see many “reversals” that took place between the rich man and Lazarus. Just like Haman and Mordecai, many things changed between them. I marvel at this because perhaps those five brothers he left behind thought of their brother as a godly man and one bound for eternal bliss. God knew what was going on “behind the scenes,” and this man got what he deserved. In reality, the rich man and Lazarus experienced a true reversal from what they had experienced on earth.
The most significant reversal of all was the reversal Christ performed when He made salvation possible through His death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 26:28; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:28; I Jn. 2:2; Rom. 6:2-6, 16-18; I Pet. 3:21). Satan thought that he had won. He had succeeded in tempting the first people to sin (Gen. 3:1-6). They sinned, and we have had to live with the consequences on this earth ever since (Gen. 3:16-24). Satan then tempted Cain (Gen. 4:1-11), Abraham (Gen. 12, 20), Moses (Num. 20), David (II Sam. 11-12), and every other man and woman on earth (Rom. 3:23)! He succeeded in getting humanity to sin and to jeopardize their souls before God.
Satan seemed to be winning until Christ came to earth! At that time, we see a reversal taking place. Christ was tempted like others, but did not yield (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 4:15). He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Furthermore, when He died, He did not die in sin but died to be a sacrifice for others’ sins (I Pet. 3:18). Where Adam brought death, we see that Christ brings life (I Cor. 15:22). Yes, a complete reversal is possible in Christ!
Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you ready for “light, and gladness, and joy, and honor” (Est. 8:16)? Spiritually, you can have these things by following the Lord and doing what He says. Become a Christian (Acts 11:26; Mk. 16:16). Live faithfully for the Lord (I Cor. 15:58), and you can look forward to Heaven (another reversal from life on earth) when this life is over (Matt. 25:34)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs