1. Peter said he had like precious faith; the same as any other Christian. The difference between Peter and most of us is that he used his faith more then most Christians. He had the same faith in the same word of God that other Christians have only he lived by it more then most.
People say, I wish I had more faith, as if it were dispensed in fluid ounces or pounds. But the amount of faith isn't the issue; Jesus said, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains.
The quality of faith is the thing that makes the difference. Strong faith is believing what the word of God says, and acting on it. Strong faith is acting in accordance with the written word of God even when it costs you something personally.
Faith isn't a mystical, mysterious, nebulous thing that exists somewhere in the twilight zone. Faith is a concrete thing; you believe the word of God and you act accordingly. That's faith, and the more you do that the greater your faith is.
I suppose faith can be measured, it can be measured by percentage, low percentage of obedience to the word of God is small faith and high percentage of obedience to the word of God is strong faith.
2. The closer we are to Jesus, the more peace we will have. The Bible says that God is the God of all comfort, but if you don't know him, and you're not close to him, because you don't read the Bible and you don't talk to him, then he's not going to pass that comfort on to you.
I pity those who go through life rejecting Jesus Christ, and therefore are not led by Almighty God. They do not have the assurance that whether things go well or badly he's in control and he is working all things together for their good. They're driving, not God and consequently they're are headed for a wreck.
3. Don't tell me that Jesus Christ doesn't give Christians all that they need to live a godly life in this world, because I don't believe it. Those who say the problems are more complicated today so we need more than the Bible, and Jesus are lying, or they're just stupid because it's not true. You say: how you know it's not true? Because the Bible says so right here: "his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life, and godliness through the knowledge of him."
The more we know Jesus the more power he gives us to live a godly life; that's what the Bible teaches, and there are no alternatives to that.
So we see that there are no tricks, or techniques to holiness. Throw away your how-to books: how to live for God; how to be holy; how to get along with your spouse; how to make right decisions; etc. etc. etc. turn the television off, turn the radio off, open up your Bible, read it, read it, read it, meditate on it, and talk to God because he will infuse wisdom and holiness into your soul like nothing else can.
Holiness is a result of you and I spending time with Jesus. Spending time with Jesus raises the godliness bar in our soul. Spending time with Jesus raises our holiness goal, and empowers us to reach those goals more often than if we did not spend quality time with Christ.
I can't get away with anything because God has set such a high standard in my soul, and I would not have it any other way. I read and study the Bible so much; I generally read and study until I'm too mentally, and physically exhausted to go on anymore, and because of that I'm close to Jesus, and because of that the bar has been raised in my soul to the point where the least little thing that I do wrong will bother me, and that's how it should be.
Some evangelical psychologist will say: Meurett your sick, you're mentally ill, you're obsessive-compulsive with a guilt complex. Oh shut your un-biblical mouth because you're polluting the ears of Christians who seek truth. The words of Almighty God written in this book will consume your high sounding folly like a blazing fire consumes dry straw.
We should be close to Jesus in order to be super sensitive to any spiritual flaw so that we can confess it and find mercy and strength to improve, not out of fear, but out of love for Jesus and the desire to please him more.
3,4. God's power through Jesus Christ doesn't just save us from hell, and sin. It also saves us from the corruption that is every where in this world. Consequently through the power of God, and through our relationship with him Jesus saves us from the corruption and confusion that the (perhaps) well-meaning psychologists are always trying to untangle in the lives of people today. The word of God and a close walk with Jesus keeps us from getting into that mess in the first place.
5. Faith is just the starting point. If we want holiness and deliverance from the moral corruption of this world then our faith must produce a determination to work hard at being good. That's what God means when he says "make every effort."
Make every effort: work hard, try your best, do your best, use all the energy that God gives you to add virtue to your faith. If you do, then it will result in a closer relationship with God. And one great byproduct of a closer walk with God is more knowledge, including a better understanding of what he wants from us. But God doesn't stop there, there's more.
5,6. God says practice self-control. In other words, quit committing sin that you know is sin; quit behaving like a moral reprobate, and start living like a child of God, which you are if you are Christian. Start saying no to your sin nature. Tell your sin nature: you've had it! I don't owe you anything and I'm not going to please you; I'm going to please my Savior to whom I owe everything. That's self-control; that's what God wants us to practice. There's nothing complicated about it; it's not hard to understand; it's a choice.
Until Christians decide to practice self-control saying things like: I want to do what God wants me to do; I want to please my Savior will be nothing more than Christian cliches in our life.
7a. Once we are more patient, and more godly, and learn to love the will of God even more, then we will be more kind to others, even with all their flaws. Do you see how these things contribute, and really more than contribute, they actually bring about good relationships with other people?
When saved, spirit filled Christians out of a love for Jesus are godly, and practice self-control, and patience, and consequently are kind to others, even when others do things that they don't like, they won't have any trouble getting along with each other.
7. The sum total of all these virtues which have been listed in the previous few verses is love. Actually these christian virtues constitute individual petals in the flower of biblical love.
Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. We love ourselves even when we do things that are wrong. You say I don't, I hate myself when I do things that are wrong. No you don't! The Bible says no one hates themselves, even when they do things that they don't like. They don't like the things that they do sometimes, but that's only because they love themselves so much that they want to be better.
So we love ourselves even though we hate what we sometimes do. Therefore, in the same manner love others even though you sometimes hate what they do; that's loving your neighbor as yourself; that's what Jesus commands.
8. Many Christians waste their life. They never mature spiritually. They make it to heaven if they truly have saving faith, but for the most part they're useless to Jesus.
It takes work, and spiritual toughness to be useful to Jesus in this world and many Christians don't have the spiritual determination to do it.
9. A Christian who does not have the qualities laid out in verses five through seven is shortsighted. That is, he doesn't see what God requires, or he doesn't take it seriously if he does see it. He's content being exactly as he is: mediocre at best, lukewarm at best.
Complacent, spiritually lukewarm Christians evidently think that God is satisfied having them go through life as a defeated, spiritual mess, no different than the unsaved of the world. But God has so much more than that for his children if they will only follow his word.
10. "You will never stumble" doesn't mean that we will never sin, but rather we will not completely fall away from Jesus and lose our faith. By the grace and power of Jesus we are as secure as we choose to be.
Good works do not save us or keep us saved, but good works do keep us closer to Jesus; living right helps to keep us closer to Jesus, and people who learn to love Jesus deeply do not become apostates.
Our love for Jesus which is facilitated by the word of God and holiness along with confession when we fail acts as a buffer to losing our faith.
10,11. There's only one way to get into the kingdom of heaven, and that is through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. However, some Christians will be happier than others when they see Jesus, and that's because they were more dedicated to him in this life.
There will be degrees of happiness in eternity for the saved just as there will be degrees of torment in hell for the unsaved, depending on what we did with our knowledge and our opportunities.
12,13. Peter says: I'm reminding you of things that you have already heard, of spiritual truth that you already know, but I'm telling you again. That's why you will often hear me say: I've said this before, but I'm saying it again. People forget, but God doesn't want us to forget what is true so he repeats himself in different places in the Bible.
The false teachers of today will have a field day with you if you forget what the word of God says. False teachers will add error to your thinking with things that may sound feasible, but contradict Scripture. They will distort your thinking, and just as sure as I'm writing this, ruin your life as well.
14,15. Peter knows that it won't be long before he is murdered by those who hate Jesus. In John chapter 21 Jesus told Peter that he would eventually die by crucifixion. Emperor Nero was crucifying Christians even as Peter wrote, and he knew that it wouldn't be long and it would be his turn. As a result, Peter is trying to help Christians by teaching truth so that they will be okay after he dies.
The goal of every single born again Christian, every true Christian should be to help prepare those they know, to better serve Jesus in the future. Unfortunately many professing Christians don't even think in those terms and that's because many professing Christians think that ministry is strictly for a preacher, but it isn't.
Too many Christians see Christianity as a spectator sport with the preachers being professional Christians, and they the spectators. But every Christian needs to be involved in the Ministry in some manner. That's our calling!
16. Peter and the other apostles taught that Jesus would return to earth in a glorious way.
False teachers were saying that the apostles made that story up. But Peter was not making it up. In fact he even saw a preview of the second coming while he, James, and John were on the mount of Transfiguration with Jesus.
17,18. Peter, James, and John didn't see God the father while they were on the mountain with Jesus, but a bright cloud surrounded them, and from that cloud the Father spoke: this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.
The Father said: My Son pleases me and perhaps one of the reasons He said that is because our Lords death on the cross was drawing near, and the Father didn't want his apostles to think that Jesus would suffer such a terrible death because He was in any way displeasing to him.
Sometimes when bad things happen to Christians other Christians are quick to speculate or conclude that they must have done something terrible to deserve it. No one should ever jump to that conclusion; to begin with we all deserve death and hell so what your point, and secondly to pile accusations upon a Christian who's already suffering is unloving and un-biblical.
19. The Old Testament predicted the Savior would come twice. People of faith believed it because because the Bible taught it, and that's the way it should be. However Peter and the other apostles also believed it because they saw a preview of it.
We do not need proof that the Scriptures are true; they are true. And if someone doesn't believe that then that's a judgment on them, not the holy word of God. People are not qualified to stand in judgment on the holy word of God, to determine if it is true, or false, or what parts are true, and what parts are false.
The Bible is true, all of it is true, and it should be believed because God spoke it. When God on occasions supplies proof beyond the word itself, as he did on the mount of Transfiguration for the apostles, then it serves as a reminder that we can trust the entire written word of God.
20,21. The false prophets of today will often piously preface their declarations by saying: thus says the Lord, which isn't anything new because the false prophets throughout the Old Testament did the same thing. And it was, and still is: thus says the Lord, followed by telling backslidden, lukewarm at best believers exactly what they want to hear. Thus says the Lord: God wants you to be rich. Thus says the Lord: you are going to live a good long life full of health. Or at times it's "thus says the Lord" followed by pios sounding nonsense designed to impress those who hear.
But to those who put words in God's mouth by uttering false prophecies, to them I say: you will face the wrath of God in ways that you can't even imagine. You will face his wrath because you are misrepresenting him, and doing terrible damage to other Christians who are gullible enough to believe you.
I knew a young lady several years back who was told by a false prophet in a Pentecostal church: thus saith the Lord, God has called you to take his word to foreign countries. Well she had a close walk with the Lord and she never had a desire to be a foreign missionary, never even thought about being a foreign missionary. Her heart's desire was to get married and raise godly children, and so she came to me downcast, and discouraged because she was told by this "prophet" that that wasn't God's will for her. I told her to disregard what that person said and never go near him again. The Bible says: "go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge."
God says this regarding false prophets in Jeremiah 23:16, "they are speaking the imaginations of their own mind." That's in contrast to holy Scripture which did not come from the writer's own mind. You can't trust anyone today who says: "thus says the Lord." However you can trust that every word contained in the holy Bible is: thus says the Lord.