2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. NIV
In 2nd Peter, chapter 1, beginning with verse 5, Peter strongly encourages his readers to add some virtues to their faith. These virtues are characteristics of behavior, that should be seen in the life of any believer in Jesus. He speaks of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. He even says that if a Christian does not have those qualities, he or she is blind and has forgotten about the forgiveness and cleansing that has taken place in their life.
When you read that statement does it encourage you or does it make you feel like you could never live up to the demands of this “Christian” life? I know that for many, it would do the latter. It seems impossible to be the kind of person described in those verses. Try as we may, we continually fall short. As much as we would desire to live this way, we just do not have the power within us to do it.
If you fall into that latter category, there is great news for you in our key verse. Verse 3 reveals to us, that we do not have to rely on our own power to acquire these characteristics. Instead, the necessary power is given to us by Jesus our Lord! The verse also informs us, that this power supplies everything we need to live the life we are called to live.This is a staggering revelation and it should free any believer from the bondage of “trying to be a good Christian” by the strength of their own will.
Notice that the power spoken of in verse 3 is described as “divine.” What does that mean and why is it important? The Greek word used here for divine is theios, meaning “godlike.” A non-believer, at the time this was written, would most likely have understood this word as a reference to the kind of supernatural power that the Greek gods possessed. It would speak to them of powers a mortal being would not have. It is certainly not without reason that Peter uses this specific word. Peter is telling the believers that it is Jesus Himself, who gives us a supernatural ability, to do anything that He requires of us. In fact, he says that the power has already been given to us!
If anyone would doubt the veracity of this statement of Peter, all they need do is look at the life of the man who wrote the words. Peter, when relying on his own abilities, failed miserably to represent His master. This is especially evident when he denied Jesus three times during His trial and crucifixion. But follow his life after the Holy Spirit (who delivers that supernatural power to all believers), begins to work in Acts, chapter 2. Peter becomes the leader of the church in Jerusalem, preaching the word, healing the sick, being used by God to do amazing things! Contemplate the fact that Peter spent most of his life as a fisherman, not a biblical scholar or theologian, yet he wrote this chapter as well as many others, full of deep doctrine and theology! It would be impossible for him to do this without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working within him.
If this is all true, why then does it seem that we still fail so often to reflect that power in our daily lives? Well, it is not because the power is not there. It’s that we fail to appropriate that which God has already given to us. Jesus, when teaching His disciples how to pray, told them that they should ask daily for the provision of God. “Give us this day, our daily bread,” means more than just physical sustenance. Remember how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation to turn stones into bread to relieve His hunger (see Mt 4:4)? He said that man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We need to come daily before the Lord, confessing that we do not have it in our flesh to accomplish anything of spiritual value. We need to ask Him every day for the provision of His divine power to be manifest in us, so that we may accomplish His will and purpose for us.
The list that Peter gives us in this chapter, is almost identical to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. That informs us, that when we ask for the power of the Spirit to work in us, we can rest in the fact that He will work in us. It is not a matter of us striving, but a matter of us surrendering. Surrendering our will to His work. When we do, we will see this amazing, divine power working in and through us.
Now, there is one requirement for all of this to work. Notice in the key verse it says, “through our knowledge of Him.” In other words, in order to receive this divine power, you must know Jesus Christ in a personal way. The Greek word for knowledge here has the implication of being “fully acquainted” with something or someone. Are you fully acquainted with Jesus? It starts with acknowledging Him as your Savior and Lord, but it is more than that. It means that you spend time with Him, in study of His word and prayer, so that you may know Him more fully. You cannot get to know anyone without spending time with them, right?
The more time you spend with Jesus, the more your desire to obey Him will grow. As that desire grows, the more you will yearn for that divine power and thus, ask for it. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.” NIV
If you desire to see God’s divine power working in your life, so that you may live the way He has called you to, then spend time with Him daily. Ask for that power to be manifest in your life and you will have everything you need for a life of effectiveness and productivity in your walk with Christ!
God bless you,