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II Peter Studies
Studies in II Peter
"Grace and Peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord." (II Pet. 1:2)
Peter concentrates some of the greatest Biblical treasures for the believer in this verse. One of the true miracles of the Bible is its consistent repetition and maintenance of critical themes throughout the scriptures. Here are three such treasures - The Grace, Peace and Knowledge of God and Jesus Christ
Grace and Peace
Even the word order is significant in that for one to have peace, God's grace must be granted first. Mankind is helpless to bestow God's grace upon himself. Grace is unconditional favor granted by the sovereign God and Monarch upon His subjects, (that's us!). He grants His favor under no obligation - He does not owe us anything!
Without the grace of God, the peace of God is not possible. To move from grace to peace however is no quick and easy jump. What we define and imagine to be peace, is not incumbent upon God to supply.
God's peace is not necessarily the cessation of hostilities or troubles in our lives. Actually an honest reading of the scriptures shows that God calls us to be "Partakers" in suffering and struggle. The Scriptures tell us that we are at war with the world. (Eph 6:11-15). That does not sound very peaceful does it?
Peter wants the believer to experience grace and peace no matter what the conditions of the battle may be. Peter knows that grace and peace will be increased as our knowledge of God grows. Grace and Peace are multiplied the more we know Him.
Knowledge of God
"His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (II Pet. 1:3). Read the Bible and you will find a constant theme God wants us to know him. He wants us to hear Him and obey Him. To take Him seriously and yield to Him as Lord.
It is not that "I accept Him," (which leaves me in control of our relationship). It is rather that I bow to Him as the God of the universe who already holds the breath of my life in His hands and will do with me what He wants. I accept that He is God and that I am not!
Lack of Knowledge
One of the most biting passages in the Bible is when God reveals His pain and anger in the book of Hosea.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (knowledge of God). "Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children". (Hos 4: 6)
Knowledge = Eternal Life
Jesus Christ Himself states this same truth of knowing God. Here the promise of eternal life is equated to the knowledge of God!
"And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent"(Jn 17:3).
"No One Can Know God"
I find it more than a little distressing when I hear Christians adopt the World's view that "we cannot know God." This unscriptural lie is perhaps excusable in unbelievers but a disaster in a Christian. If you contend that we cannot know God then why did He tell us about himself in the Bible? Why then have the Bible at all? For a Christian to say we cannot know God and then use that belief as an excuse to ignore or minimize God's Word is spiritual laziness of the worst kind.
Consider how the Word of God has, in many areas of Christendom, become little more than a good book that is "full of errors and contradictions." A book to be hauled out on Sunday, read a bit and then shoved aside: Or worse a book that is revered to the degree that it is worshiped and quoted but seldom read or studied by those professing its truth. Gold inlay and fancy covers mean nothing unless the book is first opened and then devoured.
Can We Study the Bible Too Much?
Some well meaning brothers and sisters say "We do not want to focus so hard on the scriptures and head knowledge that we ignore the God who wrote it. We do not want to become legalistic."
In thirty years of church membership, leadership and bible teaching, I have yet to meet a true believer who has studied the Bible too much. Of course I have met many who misuse and abuse specific passages in scriptures, but that is not what I am referring to. The vast majority of believers I have encountered have not studied the Bible nearly enough. We do not rely on the Scriptures. We do not take Scripture seriously. We should rather be like the Bereans,
"…for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
Peter, like his fellow apostles was concerned with false teaching in the Church and the tendency of the uninformed believer to fall into that teaching. To be able to identify and overcome false teaching one must continuously grow in the knowledge of God.
When the Bible says that we are to "Know God" does that mean that we can know everything about him? Of course not, it is absurd to even ask the question. Do you know everything about a car or an airplane or a computer? But you use them and benefit from them, right? And the benefits you receive increase as you know more and use them more. There are very few people who even know how a simple pencil is manufactured but they use pencils and the more they do the more they benefit from them.
We Can Know Him
Knowing God is not beyond our ability. Knowing God is commanded, and as He tells us in Hosea, His people will be held accountable and suffer loss for not getting to know and acknowledge Him.
So to sum up, Peter is telling us in verses 2-3 that we can multiply our grace and peace by getting to know God and Jesus Christ. The fact that knowledge of God and Jesus is equated to eternal life is staggering!
How then can we magnify our grace and peace? - Simple, get to know God more and more each day. And how can we know Him more? The answer is obvious. Study His Word in order to develop a personal relationship with Him and His people.
Encourage your pastor and elder board to teach you about the Bible. Read His words and His thoughts, then talk to Him, bring Him your hopes and fears, admit to your sin make Him Lord of your life and He promises to respond.
NKJV Bible - Scofield - (Oxford University Press, New York, 1982)
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