Among the things I give thanks to God for this Thanksgiving week is the grace He has given in delivering me over the years from enslaving sin.
How does that happen? We find a significant key in Peter’s second epistle.
Second Peter addresses a threat to the church of Jesus Christ in Peter’s day in the form of heresy, false teaching. Chapter 2:1 says – there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them. Their error was libertinism. They promoted license. They preached a perverse understanding of freedom and grace that entice by sensual passions of the flesh (2:18). Anything goes was the name of the game for this bunch. Grace covers.
Peter aims in this book to take such foolishness to task and arm the church with weapons of warfare to counteract the attack. He begins this letter with the indicative before ever stressing any imperatives. He talks of what is before what should be. He lays out a grand description of what God has done in saving His people. He bases his prescriptions for godly behavior on an eloquent description of what God has done.
In so doing he tips his hand at what makes for the key idea in the entire book. We see it in 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied to you. That’s not an unusual opening to any epistle. We find it often. The writer expresses a profound wish or hope that the letter to unfold in their hearing will prove to channel rivers of grace and oceans of peace to their lives – that such blessing be multiplied, be ever increasing in their lives. Where? Look at the rest of the verse – in (or through) the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Who doesn’t want the favor of God in his life? Who doesn’t want the peace of God in her life? Who doesn’t covet ever increasing doses of grace and peace? Such can be found in only one source – the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Don’t miss the connection in v. 2. You have no true knowledge of God if you do not claim Jesus as Lord. Jesus Christ is God. He is divine. In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col. 2:9). John 17:3 – And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. There is no true knowledge of the Father apart from an intimate knowledge of the Son.
Grace, peace, life, godliness, all the things that truly matter, the ultimate treasures, come from the knowledge of God in Christ. So we don’t miss it he says it again in v. 3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him (emphasis added). The words know and knowledge appear some sixteen times throughout the three chapters of this little book. Peter is trying to tell us something! It matters what you know. Perhaps it would be better to say it matters Whom you know.
There is nothing that matters more in our battle against sin than a passionately personal, thorough going, ever increasing knowledge of God and His Son the Lord Jesus.
Do you want to win the battle over sin and its grip in your life? Give yourself to the vigorous pursuit of the growth of your knowledge of Him.