Greetings from the Heart of A Shepherd: With the finish line in sight, our two-year chronological Scripture reading program is nearly over. It has been my privilege to share with you the gleanings of my own devotional time in the Word of God. Thank you for taking this journey with me!
Changes are coming to “Heart of A Shepherd” in 2023: On January 1, 2023, I will launch my own independent website (the transition for current subscribers should be seamless, and without interruption). My commitment to the faithful exposition of the Scriptures will continue unabated; however, the look and design of the new website will be fresh, and I hope appealing.
Why the change? I anticipate a growing adversarial spirit in society toward a Biblical worldview. In fact, I believe the demand for censoring “politically incorrect” views and opinions will only intensify. After experiencing the “Facebook” graveyard (I was canceled without notice, August 2020), I fear it is only a matter of time before website hosts and other social media outlets will cave to political attacks and the demand for censorship.
To protect the content and integrity of “Heart of A Shepherd,” I look forward to my own website that will host past and future devotionals and video broadcasts. You are invited to make the transition with me, and renew your commitment to the disciplines and commitment necessary for studying the Scriptures. I invite you to download the 2023-2024 Scripture reading schedule, and return with me to Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
2 Peter 1 – An Introduction
The letter known as “The Second Epistle of Peter” (titled in some Bibles, “The Second General Epistle of Peter,” (general meaning it was not addressed to a specific individual or congregation), was written by the apostle Peter. Peter was numbered among Christ’s twelve disciples, and one of three members of His inner circle (the others being James and his brother John).
After a salutation in which he identified himself as the author (1:1), Peter addressed the recipients of the epistle. With loving affection, he identified them as having “obtained like precious faith…through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (1:1). You will notice a sense of urgency in the opening verses of the first chapter. Like Paul in his second epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1), Peter was mindful he was writing to believers living “in the last days” (3:3).
The Effect of Salvation (1:3-7)
Peter called on believers to grow spiritually, and pressed them to manifest the godly qualities that should be evident in the lives of all believers (1:3-7). Challenging the followers of Christ concerning the effect of genuine salvation and sanctification (1:3-4), the apostle called on believers to strive for seven godly virtues, or manifestations of spiritual character.
Peter wrote: “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (1:5-7).
Seven Virtues (1:5-7)
Understanding saving faith is the essential foundation of spiritual growth, Peter challenged believers to discipline themselves, and strive for seven spiritual virtues (1:5-7).
Virtue (moral excellence; the determination to “Do Right”); Knowledge (practical and personal knowledge of God and His Word); Temperance (self-control; having the mastery of one’s thoughts and desires; fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23); Patience (perseverance; enduring trials); Godliness (godly in relationships, Titus 2:12); Brotherly kindness (love of the brethren; John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:10-12); and Charity (self-sacrificing, unconditional, selfless love, 1 John 3:17-18).
Closing thoughts – So much more could be gleaned from today’s reading, but I will close drawing your attention to the phrase, “these things” (1:8, 9, 10, 12, 15). Five times, Peter impressed upon his readers the necessity of “these things” being “in you, and abound” (1:8). He warned, if you lack “these things” you are spiritually blind (1:9). Peter urged, by doing “these things, ye shall never fall” (1:10). He asserted, “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things” (1:12). Lastly, writing of his imminent death, Peter wrote, “I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (1:15).
What were the “things” the apostle impressed upon believers living in the “last days”? Answer: The seven virtues that define sincere faith, and sanctification: Virtue; Knowledge; Temperance; Patience; Godliness; Brotherly kindness; and Charity (1:5-7).
Are those “things” evident in your life?
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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