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Growing Up

2 Peter 1.1-2
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 PETER
 
First Peter was written just before the time that the Roman emperor Nero began to persecute Christians. Second Peter was written two or three years later after persecution had intensified. First Peter was a letter of encouragement to the Christians who were suffering, but 2 Peter focuses on the church’s internal problems, especially on the false teachers who were causing people to doubt their faith and turn away from Christianity. Second Peter combats the heresies by denouncing the evil motives of the false teachers and reaffirming Christianity’s truths: the authority of Scripture, the primacy of faith, and the certainty of Christ’s return.

GREETING

Peter’s greeting—which mentions faith, grace, peace, and knowledge—sets the stage for the letter’s purpose: to encourage his readers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3.18) in the face of false teaching.

Growing in grace (and peace, along with the other fruits of the Spirit) results from growing in our knowledge of Christ. As John writes, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1.16). On this principle of growth in the gospel, Paul writes, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3.18). An increase in the apprehension of God’s glory (see 2 Peter 1.16) in Christ is how Christians change. This, then, is how Peter begins his second letter, reminding his readers that grace is multiplied (made apparent and applicable in increasing dimensions of our lives) through the knowledge of Christ.

What are you doing to grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ? I encourage you to read through 2 Peter several times as we begin our devotionals in this important letter. Write down key words, themes, people, and points of spiritual instruction. And then memorize 2 Peter 3.18. Let this verse be the lens through which you view the whole letter.

Pastor Jeff
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