2 Peter 1:1-4 A Prayer to memorize - Gresham Bouma - Sermon Notes
Good Morning. The purpose of memorizing scripture is meditating on scripture. When we commit God’s word to memory it enables us to examine it and apply it at the time and in the situation it is most needed. There is no inherent virtue in merely memorizing scripture. Jesus pointed out that the scribes and Pharisees examined scripture, but missed Him, the object of scripture. I believe that the scribes and Pharisees had loads of scripture memorized, but it just added to their guilt and condemnation. The reason I am talking about memorization today is that I would like to examine our memory verse that has been up on the board, as well as its context.
Read II Peter 1:1-4
As a whole, when I read and re-read these first 4 verses I was struck by there up-welling of praise to God. This praise is made obvious in verses 3 & 4 by the superlatives used in those verses. Superlatives are words like glory, excellence, power, precious, and magnificent. These are words of praise and glory. But verses 1 and 2 begin this little anthem of praise. Peter starts out identifying himself as a bond-servant. Peter was once the most bombastic of the disciples, but now identifies himself as a bondservant, a voluntary slave. Peter who once was full of pride and brash confidence now is the humble slave that God has exalted to the calling of apostle. Here is the beginning of an upwelling of praise: Peter’s personal relationship with Christ, one of humility and exaltation. This progression echoes Proverbs 29:23 which says: A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.
Next in verse 1 God is credited as the grantor of our faith. This is not just any kind of faith, for faith is only as good as its object. This is a faith that has been received. This is a faith made available by Christ’s righteousness. This is afaith in Christ’s righteousness. And this is a faith in Christ Himself, who is both God and Savior.
So verse 1 identifies who is speaking, and who is being addressed, verse 2 moves immediately to an expression of goodwill: “grace and peace be multiplied to you”. It is God’s desire not to just give us some, not to just bestow a little, but that grace and peace would be multiplied, would abound in us because they have been granted to us. The conduit or channel is the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Verse 3 tells us that god is our powerful benefactor. By His power He has not just given us some of what we need, but everything pertaining to life and godliness. Everything is one of those universal words. There are no exceptions to everything. Here, when it says “His divine power has granted to us everything”, it means two things. First it means that God has given it all. He has not left anything pertaining to “life and godliness” out. It has all been given, none held back. Second, it tells us that He is the only source of life and godliness. All that we possess of life and godliness has been received from Him. We came up with none of it on our own and cannot credit ourselves at all. It has all been granted, it is all a gift that comes through the true knowledge of God, this God who called us by His own glory and excellence, and to His own glory and excellence or virtue. God’s glory and virtue or excellence are first of all expressed in our salvation. It is to God’s glory and because of His excellence that He saves. But secondly God’s glory and virtue are also given to us in our salvation. We become partakers of His glory and virtue! It is a little bit of a fine distinction I am making here, so I will say it again. It is because of God’s own glory and virtue that He saves us, and when He saves us we become recipients of His glory and virtue.
As we go on to verse 4, we see that it begins with the word “whereby” in the KJV. Whereby means “in this way” or “by this means”, or as the NASB renders it “for by these”. I believe that the whereby in our memory verse is referring back to God’s glory and virtue that just proceeded it, but also refers to God’s power mentioned at the beginning of verse 3. The word translated virtue in the KJ and excellence in the NASV could also be rendered quite literally as “valor”. I like valor because it carries a reminder that Christ went to war for us. He displayed infinite valor on our behalf. He who was infinite gave His all for our sake at the cross. Because of Christ’s valor shown at the cross we are given exceeding great and precious promises. Not just great, but exceeding great. Are His promises precious to you? Do you possess them as your most valued possessions? It is by trusting, believing, and possessing God’s promises that we escape “the corruption in the world”. The word corruption in the Bible should bring to mind both sin and death. This corruption is a result of lust, lust being man’s fallen passions. It is in our nature to lust because we are possessors of a fallen nature. The only antidote for this corrupted, lusting, fallen nature is a new nature. This new nature is mentioned at the heart and center of our memory verse when is says divine nature. If our old nature which we inherited from Adam is not replaced with Christ’s divine nature there is no hope for us, and there would be no hope but for God’s great and precious promises. These promises are conduits of God’s grace, glory and power on our behalf. These promises are great, exceeding great and precious, for by them we become sons and daughters of God, partakers of the divine nature.
I originally thought I was going to preach on prayer this morning, its proper attitudes and motivation. The story of King Hezekiah coming up in our OT reading schedule illustrates some of them, so that was going to be my text. The link between that and Peter was the memory verse which reminds me of prayer. It reminds me of prayer because prayer is where God’s promises are “spent” or “used”. I am convinced that we should take God’s promises to Him and with both humility and confidence “remind” God of His promises, calling on Him to fulfill them for the glory of His name and for His own honor.
If time: read 2Kings 19:14-19 as an example of how to approach God.