by Mike Ratliff
2 χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη ἐν ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. (2 Peter 1:2 NA27)
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you by the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
Ambiguity and relativism, unfortunately rule our day within the “visible church.” In this post we will look at 2 Peter 1:1-11, in which the Apostle speaks of precise doctrine, exact knowledge, not something vague and relative to each person’s experience. To Peter, Paul and the other Apostles the modern philosophies of “open-mindedness” and “tolerance” were foreign to their thinking and they should be expunged from the thinking of Christians today. Those who have been ensnared into that deadly trap though may have many fooled, but there is problem; μαρτυρῶ γὰρ αὐτοῖς ὅτι ζῆλον θεοῦ ἔχουσιν ἀλλ᾽ οὐ κατ᾽ ἐπίγνωσιν· (for I bear witness to them that a zeal of God they have, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:2)
In Romans 10:2 the word “knowledge” translates ἐπίγνωσιν (epignōsin) the Accusative, Singular of ἐπίγνωσις (epignōsis). As in our post Knowledge we looked at a derivative of the root of this word, which is γνωσις (gnosis), which means “knowledge,” in this post we are concentrating on a compound of γνωσις, which is produced by adding the prefix ἐπί (epi), “motion upon or toward.” Ἕπίγνωσις, then, takes on the meaning of “an experiential, personal knowledge that is full and thorough.” However, it is not according to personal interpretation, but is of “precise and correct knowledge.”
1 Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας, 2 κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρὸς ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη. (2 Peter 1:1-2 NA27)
1 Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to the ones having obtained a faith of equal standing with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you by the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
To whom is the epistle written? It is for believers only. In v2 he gives a blessing to all believers who read this that God’s grace and peace be multiplied to them “by the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” As John MacArthur says about this verse, “this is a strengthened form of “knowledge” implying a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. The Christian’s precious faith is built on knowing the truth about God (cf. v. 3). Christianity is not a mystical religion, but is based in objective, historical, revealed, rational truth from God and intended to be understood and believed. The deeper and wider that knowledge of the Lord, the more “grace and peace” are multiplied.” Despite what the mystics say, we know God and grow deeper in our faith this way rather than through “mystical experiences” of any kind.
3 Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν δι᾽ ἀναστάσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, 4 εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον, τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς 5 τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ. 6 ἐν ᾧ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὀλίγον ἄρτι εἰ δέον [ἐστὶν] λυπηθέντες ἐν ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς, 7 ἵνα τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως πολυτιμότερον χρυσίου τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου διὰ πυρὸς δὲ δοκιμαζομένου, εὑρεθῇ εἰς ἔπαινον καὶ δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· 8 ὃν οὐκ ἰδόντες ἀγαπᾶτε, εἰς ὃν ἄρτι μὴ ὁρῶντες πιστεύοντες δὲ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ 9 κομιζόμενοι τὸ τέλος τῆς πίστεως [ὑμῶν] σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν. 10 περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν προφῆται οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες, 11 ἐραυνῶντες εἰς τίνα ἢ ποῖον καιρὸν ἐδήλου τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ προμαρτυρόμενον τὰ εἰς Χριστὸν παθήματα καὶ τὰς μετὰ ταῦτα δόξας. (2 Peter 1:3-11 NA27)
3 As all things have been granted to us by his divine power for life and godliness having been given through the knowledge of the one having called us to his own glory and virtue, 4 through which things the precious and great promises he has given to us that through these you may become sharers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Also, for this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly love, and brotherly love with love. 8 For these things being in you and abounding makes you neither unproductive nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For with whom these things are not present, he is blind, being shortsighted, having forgotten the cleansing of his past sins. 10 Therefore, rather, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For in the practice of these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
How do we become partakers of the divine nature? It through the implantation of the great promises of God by his grace as our true knowledge of him becomes according to what he has revealed to us in his word. As we put this into practice through our Sanctification, we become more and more knowledgeable of God personally as well as of him and his ways. We become more and more separate from the corruption that is consuming this world as well as the unfruitfulness of false forms of religion and that would include false forms of Christianity. However, notice the character changes that take place in vv5-7. I know no one who is totally like this outside of the grace of God. However, I have seen very gracious people that are full of the Holy Spirit and you can see all these characteristics growing in them. As we grow in Christian maturity our calling and election is made sure in that our assurance becomes nailed down. We are not becoming more saved, but our assurance becomes firmly rooted because it is based in the perfect knowledge of God.
As we observe the versions of Christianity in our time that are based upon a “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge,” know for certain, that many of those driving that will, unfortunately, be told by our Lord on the Day of Judgment, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” What we have to do is remain steady on the path the Lord has given us. That is, to stay in the Word, obey him, and continue to walk in repentance. That means we do not go after fads and every new thing that comes along that sweeps the unknowledgeable into the wrong yet wide path, but we stay on the narrow, straight, yet often difficult path that the world hates for it condemns it.
God is still building his church. This morning at Church we had 6 baptisms with each one giving their testimony before being baptized. Our pastor said before his sermon that there were between 20 to 30 others that were being counseled that desired baptism. Our pastor preaches the Word. We are a doctrinally sound church and even though those who cry that that goes against what society demands and that churches must change or die, we are growing, but not just in numbers, but also in spiritual depth. God blesses that. We may never be as large as some of those Seeker churches in our area, but is that even a goal? No, we are just trying to be Biblical and obedient as we grow in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria