Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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2 Peter 1:1-15 Learning of Jesus
When we were recently at the funeral of my niece, Laura, in Washington State, letters were read that had been written by herself to her husband and to her daughter, which were to be read upon her passing from this life. In the letters she expressed her love for them, her appreciation and thankfulness for the relationships she had had with them, but she also pointed them to the future, emphasizing to them of the importance of knowing Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The minister who preached the sermon did a fine job of then connecting the letters that she had written with the Letter (The Bible) that God has written to us in which He expresses to us of His love for us, of the need/necessity of our getting to know Him as our Saviour and Lord through Jesus Christ, doing this by bringing us into union with Himself and His Son.

It was encouraging for me to hear the letters that were read as it had been my privilege on occasion to visit with Laura in her lastt years on the phone during which she shared some of her personal struggles with me. She was able, by the grace of God, to leave her past and to press forward toward the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, looking to the Author and Finisher of her faith, Jesus Himself. It was particularly encouraging for me and continues to be, as I reflect on her life with her health struggles, her personal struggles, in that she was able to live in forgiveness of her past, she was able to live in grace of the present and therefore, she looked to the future with expectation and hope. She could do so because her hope and joy was grounded in the finished work of Jesus Christ. This came forth clearly in her letters to her loved ones.

One of the greatest struggles we have in our lives is accepting the reality that what God has done for us through His Son is sufficient and that there are no additions that we must provide on our behalf in order to be reconciled/reconnected to God. We are called upon to believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ. God has done all the work, and we are called by God to believe upon that which He has done for us in Christ.

Laura, using a similar pattern, wrote the letters to her loved ones, in that she first affirmed her acceptance and love for them before giving them some guidance and direction for their lives, in that she longed for them to know her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In her letters, she followed the same pattern that God did in showing of His love for us. He first affirmed our value in Him by reconciling'reconnecting us unto Himself through Jesus, and He calls upon us to believe this for our eternal salvation. This is always the pattern with which our God approaches us in order to bring revelation of Himself to us.

First comes relationship, and then direction. And it is ever so important that our relationship with him be based upon what God has written as the basis of the relationship that He wants to establish with us. And not only establish, but to grow as well. He wants us to grow closer in oneness of heart with Him. That means go grow in our awareness and experience who we are in Him. It means that we are become participants in the body of Jesus Christ and partakers of the divine nature.

From these initial remarks, then we understand that all relationships need grace and truth to be established as well as to grow. But they need one more thing also: What do you think that is? They need time. The Apostle Peter, who wrote this letter, (2 Peter) the opening part of which we are going to read and meditate upon, certainly is a case in point in that Jesus, on the first occasion when He saw Peter, pointed to that which He saw Peter becoming in the future. (John 1:35-42)
Shortly after that He called Peter to follow Him so that He could make him a fisher of men. (Matthew 4:18-29)

Then for three years Peter struggled with what it meant to be a follower of Jesus as well as a fisher of men, not really coming to understand and experience what it was all about until after the Day of Pentecost. On that day when He was filled with the Holy Spirit, He begin to see in a clearer manner of that which Jesus had meant for Him to come to know and to experience through the knowledge of His suffering and resurrection. He begin to preach Jesus Christ and even though he continued to be subject to the frailities of his human nature, he nevertheless spoke of the rightousness of faith. He pointed to the finished work of Jesus Christ in his preaching, by his life and in his writings.

Laura needed grace, she needed truth, and she also needed time to gro.
Peter needed grace, he needed truth, and he also needed time to grow.
We need grace, we need truth, and we also need time to grow.
Our relationships with one another need grace, they need truth, and they also need time to grow.
Those we desire to lead to Jesus need grace, they need truth, and they also need time to grow.


KJV 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to (by his) glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Luther: "The knowledge of God is not only that we believe that He created all things, it is not only that we believe that the Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered, died and rose again, but that we believe that God is our God and that Jesus Christ is our Christ."

As we wrote earlier, we live in the knowledge and experience in this union with Christ through the His finished work. This is our experience through faith. This is what it means that we have obtained "like precious faith." Because we have this experience, which must come through repentance toward God and because of faith in Christ Jesus, we are living in the growing awareness and knowledge of the grace and peace of God and of Jesus our Lord. Peter here expresses the wish that this grace and peace from God would be increased in us, that it would be multiplied. This is much more than the word "adding" would imply, as we can easily see that the if one takes the number 5 and doubles it, one comes up with the number 10. But if you multiply 5 times 5, one arrives at 25. We will come to the word "add" later.

Let us prayerfully consider to what Peter may be referring to with becoming a "partaker of his divine nature," which he writes about in verse 4. In verse 3, he refers to the reality that God has given us "all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to/by glory and virtue. In verses 3 and 4, the foundation is laid, which is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Everything is built off of this reality. If we do not have this as our foundation, the rest of the text is meaningless for us, for it will become a work by which we will try to fix our problems and strive to improve our life with external means. We must believe and live in the experience that God has given us all that is needed in our union with Him and that everything that is His is ours. Jesus, in His high priestly prayer, alluded to this "oneness" when He prayed for us shortly before He gave His life for us.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The Apostle Paul referred to this union, comparing it to a building in which God lives through His Spirit.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

In other words, we are to be in practice what we already are. When we have troubles in our life, we think that all we need is a verse or two, but we need a lot more than that. We need to understand the first four verses of 2 Peter 1 in that we have been given all things which pertain to life and godliness. We have much more than a life coach who can give us a few principles or bible verses. We are in union with the living God, for He dwells in us by His Spirit. God has given us all things that are needed when He has given us salvation. On Christmas Eve, remember getting a toy that required batteries but there were no batteries, and all the stores were closed. God has given us the gift with the batteries, the power, the Holy Spirit.

Now Peter addresses that age old question that has plagued and continues to plague the church: Since we are saved by grace through faith, are works needful? He says, they are not only needful, but that they will follow a faith that is living. And they are evidence of that our faith is alive and not dead. Here are a few verses which speak of faith, in the negative and in the positive.

KJV James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

KJV Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

KJV 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
KJV 1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
KJV 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.


Note that it goes from relationship with God, to our relationship with others. This is the pattern we see in the Ten Commandments, in the Beatitudes and even somewhat in the Lord's Prayer. God always addresses first His relationship to us, (v 1-4) our relationship with Him (v 5-6)and then our relationship with others. (v 7) Let us look at verses 5-7.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; (moral goodness) and to virtue knowledge; (understanding of what is right according to God)
6 And to knowledge temperance; (self control) and to temperance patience; (steadfastness, endurance, perserverance) and to patience godliness; (reverence, respect, piety towards God)
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness;(Christian love toward one another) and to brotherly kindness charity. (Love to not only Christians, but to everyone, for as Christians we have no enemies)

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luther: "That is, if you do works of these kind, you are on the right path and have a true faith, and the knowledge of God is active and fruitful in you. Therefore see to it that you do not make light of this. Hold your body in subjection, and do for your neighbor as you know that Christ has done for you."

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Christianity does not stop when we come into a saving relationship with Jesus. If we are truly united with Him in union, it cannot be so. How can one plant good seeds and they not come forth into beautiful flowers? Or a beautiful harvest of corn? The nature of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is to grow and to flourish for the glory of God in Christ Jesus. For the glory of God is to save sinners through His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter, in the beginning of this chapter prays that our knowledge of who we truly are in this union with Christ would grow exponentially, that it would multiply in our knowledge. Then he calls upon us to build upon this awareness and experience by adding to our faith through yielding ourselves to the constraining influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives for the benefit of the growth of the kingdom. We must always remember that the end of our growth through this process is not our "increased spirituality," but rather the goal is that we would be a spiritual blessing to others in that they would come to know and experience the saving work of Jesus Christ. Peter warns us against retreating into ourselves, whereby we become blind to that who we are in Christ, forgetting that He has wiped our slate clean through His atoning for our sins.

As we meditate upon these truths, and struggle to understand not only the meaning of them as well as the application of them into our lives, perhaps a couple of modern day experiences will assist us in seeing just what it is that Peter is teaching us in these verses. One is from our sister in Ghana, Alice Magola, who is in fellowship with the Foreign Mission Board of our Federation of churches and the other illustration is from a young mother who sent me an email some time ago.Here Alice shows us the meaning of compassion: Experiencing pain and hurt because of suffering combined with a desire and willingness to minister to those who are in need, spiritually, physically and economically)


"I thank God that He has been faithful to all of us including everybody reading this report. Many of you will be touched in one way or another. If a neighbor, work mate, a relative to us or someone we know and the list goes on pass away due to Aids, surely we are affected. I for one have badly been affected as quite a number of my relatives and some friends died untimely deaths due to Aids. Some it was due to not living right but some were innocently infected by either spouse or blood transfusion. This is the sad part of this disease. I have chosen therefore to turn my pain into something that can change somebody’s life. To show the Agape type of love and I pray that God will always help me not to judge why people are in that situation. I just want to show them to the Cross of Jesus. Hallelujah!!'
Alice Magola

The person that sent me the email had read this daily devotion by Oswald Chambers, which he entitled "THE WATERS OF SATISFACTION SCATTERED," using this following scripture verse as his basis.
Nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord."2 Samuel 23:16

What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently - love,friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul, you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. You can never sanctify to God that with which you long to satisfy yourself. If you satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you; you must sacrifice it, pour it out, do with it what common sense says is an absurd waste. How am I to pour out unto the Lord natural love or spiritual blessing? In one way only - in the determination of my mind. There are certain acts of other people which one could never accept if one did not know God, because it is not within human power to repay them. But immediately I say - This is too great and worthy for me, it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out unto the Lord, then these things pour out in rivers of living water all around. Until I do pour these things out before the Lord, they endanger those I love as well as myself because they will turn to lust.We can be lustful in things which are not sordid and vile. Love has to get to its transfiguration point of being poured out unto the Lord. If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you clutched it for yourself; whereas if you had poured it out unto the Lord, you would have been the sweetest person out of heaven. If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you.

This part of the devotion really moved that person.
"If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you."

The person's comments:
"I'm not sure how that will play out exactly... I will let you know how things develop. I reached out to a few people today, who I believe are unsaved or struggling in their faith. I was thinking of texting them once a week, just with a bible verse or encouragement of some kind. Today I asked if there was anything I could pray for them specifically, and 3 out of the 4 responded to that with requests. So, I don't know what will happen. I will pray about it, and see where God leads".

These are personal experiences of two people who are living union with Jesus Christ and they are seeking to add to their faith, not for merit of self, but rather to live in outward expression of that which they are as a result of being united in the body of Jesus Christ. Their desires are becoming the desires of God even as yours and mine are. Peter continues on with his letter to his beloved readers, concluding with the encouragement that they/we would give diligence to that which he has written concerning our living and active faith. In verses 12-15, he pours out his heart to them/us, not wanting that "these things' would be forgotten, but that they/we would remember them always. May we never forget that which the Lord has done for us, that which He has given us, and that which He calls us to be as His people.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Let us pray
Lord, thank you for your grace, thank you for revealing your truth unto us through your Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Word. You have come to us, you who knew no sin, and you became sin for us that we might be reconnected with you through faith.
Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit inspired and written Holy Word, so that we might remain grounded upon that which you have established. Thank you that we have those around us who by their words and examples encourage us as well as challenge us so that we would not be stagnant in our relationship with you.

Lord, as they speak with us and to us, may we would not forget that we have been forgiven our sins and that we do not need to allow them to torment us any longer. Lord, help us to be servants of one another, rather than expecting to be served. Please keep these things in our remembrance so that we would not forget who we are in Christ Jesus. For in Him we have been given all things which pertain to life and godliness. We have no need of anything else.

Help us to see ourselves as you see us and that which you desire to work in us. And then Lord, help us to see and to treat one another as you see them and what you desire to accomplish in them through knowledge and experience. We have this in remembrance that your Son saw Peter in the beginning of his life as an opportunity for His grace, rather than a liability in His kingdom. Lord, you ministered grace unto Peter, you placed truth in front of him, but you were also very patient with him and in your time, he came to understand and experience the power of your resurrection. We thank you for your grace, your truth and your patience toward us, Lord. Amen.

Together in His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 26 Apr 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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