Power and Providence and Calling
2Peter 1:3 kjv
Notice the punctuation in the English? Verses 1-4 are all part of the same sentence; one complete thought. Chapter and verse markers were not added to the Bible until the 16th century. While verse marks are very handy for us to reference and quote from, if we are not careful, they also can chop up the author's intended meaning. Therefore, we have to consider that the power, providence and calling that Peter is about to describe to us also has a direct connection back to righteousness of God and Savior and the grace and peace being multiplied through epignosis.
Righteousness directs divine power, what it is, where it goes, what it is to do. God also directs HIS providence and calling by the same means. If it is not sourced in righteousness and or does not perform righteousness it is not divine by its very nature. We would like "All things pertaining to life and godliness" to mean God provides whatever we ask or want, whenever we want it, by whatever means we want it. If this were true, God would be directed by our unrighteous beck and call. That would not be God, that would be a magic genie.
To interpret this passage as Peter meant it, one has to place power and providence and calling back into the broader context of righteousness.
Of Righteousness - Still
Let us begin on the topic of righteousness. In context this righteousness is best understood in that it has:
- brought about a special and costly "like precious faith" (v1).
- brought about a special grace and peace (v2).
- provided for us all things pertaining to a special life and godliness (v3).
- promised the means of escaping the corruption of this present world (v4).
- allowed for us to partake of a special nature only available in Christ (v4).
This list is a good starting point for our consideration. Everything on this list is righteous for God to do from conception to execution and end result. Divine power and providence can stand firm without hesitation or compromise in support of these stated objectives.
Many of the things that we would be asking God to provide would work against these stated divine objectives, else they are already covered in HIS general universal graces. Why would God provide us that which works against HIS objectives? It is obvious that "all things pertaining to..." does not mean "all things" according to us.
For instance, there are many people and religions that view God as a gum ball machine. They insert their personal merits in the coin slot, pull down on the handle of prayer, bingo - what they have asked for appears. What does this type of view say about God with regard to HIS righteousness? It says that HE is a machine, and we are the machine's operators. It says that gum balls are a matter of having enough merit; and we get to decide what is and what does or does not meet the standard.
What? has God worked against HIS own stated objectives? HE meant for us to have a special and costly "like precious faith", a special grace and peace, all things pertaining to a special life and godliness, the means of escaping the corruption of this present world, to partake of a special nature only available in Christ; but these silly gum balls are all that we ever asked for? What does this then say about HIS power to do anything other than what we ask?
No sir, only the righteousness of God can be consulted when considering the divine actions of power, providence and calling. The source and destination of all this action is the righteousness of God and Savior. We in turn connect to this righteousness through EpignosisKnowledge - our recognition and acknowledgment of God and Lord.
Neither can we eliminate the person of Christ from any of this equation as most the people of this world do. Without Christ there is not the "like precious faith". Oh, there is faith like any other man or woman could imagine for themselves, but that is not like faith obtained through the righteousness of God and Savior. Without Christ there is not this multiplying grace and peace. Oh, there is a kind of grace and peace as any other man or woman could make for themselves, but that is not like the grace and peace brought about through the death and resurrection of God's only-begotten for righteousness sake.
Christ redeems man from the present earthbound domain of sin and death. The spiritual regeneration and deep soul cleansing He brings affect our lives and heart so completely. The setting apart and re-purposing of a man or women, the assurance of an eternal hope, these things bring one into a much more suitable "righteousness of God and Savior" influenced "all things pertaining" form of life and godliness.
It follows, then, that without Christ there is not the receiving of a Christ given life nor godliness. Oh, there is a life as any other man or woman would presume is godly for themselves, but there is not the life and godliness that divine and miraculous power would bring upon us. That form of life would have a form of godliness of its own, but deny the true power thereof - God's (see: kjv@2Timothy:3:5). That would be because there is not the righteousness of God and Savior received by us in the EpignosisKnowledge of Him (Christ) who has called us to glory (His glory) and virtue (His virtue).
Throughout His life on Earth, Jesus exhibited this miraculous power to every person brought to Him. Not only did Jesus use this power, He did so free of any charge or expectation in every case. These qualities point to Jesus like no other person in human history. His many exhibitions of this on earth are prerequisite to our better understanding of DunamisPower in the larger eternal and infinite scale.
In Jesus' death and resurrection the Father exhibits even more miraculous power. Like no other person on record, the Holy Father has confirmed and glorified of HIS Son by such miraculous power. So miraculous is it that it is hard for most of us to grasp and believe. Peter himself struggled to believe it early on, even though Jesus had told him of it in advance on several occasions. Peter and others even had a personal glimpse of it on the Mount of Transfiguration and still found it difficult. It is a hard thing to wrap one's head around, no doubt, but shouldn't such a confirmation and glorification of God's anointed Savior so be? If it had not been such, what reason would there be for us to take notice of it?
We should not limit the divine power of God to some future date: the glorious day of our eternal salvation. The text here makes it clear that God exerts this power towards everything pertaining to life and godliness here and now as well. We are not left to our own resource and determination until that glorious day.
There is a long distance we will need to travel between here and there that will daily require this divinely given provision in our daily affairs. It is too far a distance and too steep an incline for us to go it alone, yet how many of us operate our Christian faith as if this further need is not so. We must recognize and acknowledge the person and the power behind the person calling us to these lofty heights, rely upon Him and His power to get us all the way there.
- Consider everything that God's power has to accomplish in order to transport us into this calling to glory and virtue. It has to:
- sever the reigns of sin and death to which we have been bound
- ransom us from the debt owed and the enslavement to corruption of so many generations
- quicken our lifeless spirits
- transform and make us into the kind of men and women capable of receiving and partaking in His glory and virtue
- conform us as predestined to the image of God's Holy Son.
It is no small task being asked of God here. God must exert this miraculous power and exert it most righteously. Otherwise, the glory and virtue we have been called to would not be assured. It is for certain that we could not have performed the steps listed above ourselves by natural or human means?
Of Life and Godliness
"...all things pertaining to life".
Life is dict:strongs G2222 "Zoe". ZoeLife means life both figurative and literal. This is not just the life that you and I possess for ourselves to do as we see fit, it is a life that is called to a special glory and virtue. Our lives are now called out of the existence that we once knew into a new life HE has designed for and planted. Like a seed sown in the compost of that former life, HIS spiritual seed has sprouted within ours. Divine power has provided everything required for this new life to continue growing, its spiritual sun, its breathable air above, its spiritual nutrients and moisture below; "all things pertaining".
"...all things pertaining to.... godliness".
Godliness is dict:strongs G2150 "Eusebeia". EusebeiaGodliness means piety or the reverence with which that life is lived. This is not our former life nor is this our former godliness. We had a godliness then, so we imagined, but look where that godliness got us. The Pharisees also had a godliness, but look where it got them. Their type of righteousness lead them to oppose and deny the very Christ that stood face to face before them, to do away with Him in whatever fashion that they thought that they could. No, this godliness Peter speaks of is a godliness God has handed down to us. We must recognize and acknowledge the person and the power calling us to this glory and virtue. Everything pertaining to this godliness is thus given.
Of Glory and Virtue
The word for glory that Peter chose to use dict:strongs G1391 "Doxa". DoxaGlory is a word often associated with God; God is this glory, not us, not anything we do. If there be anything that we would consider ourselves to glory in, it is that we would rather "glory in God's glory". God does have a considerable amount of glory in which we should glory. Compared to HIS glory our own personal glory is nothing.
Not only is God glorious, everything surrounding HIS presence is glory. God cannot escape HIS glory. Christ is the express image of God's glory:
Hebrews 1:3 kjv
Not only is Christ the express image, He has been raised back into this immediate presence of God's glory:
1Timothy 3:16 kjv
Hebrews 2:9-10 kjv
Here again there is the glory as we once knew it. How easy it still is for us to glory in the "faith" itself not in Jesus, in the "Law and Moses" not Jesus, in "Mary" not Jesus, in the "Church" itself and all its comfy trappings and not Jesus, in icons and symbology and rituals and works and missions and repetitions and feasts and observances etc... not Jesus. These things, while they do have their place in our new life and godliness, do not have "the place" or take "the place" nor share "the place" of "the glory" found alone in God the Father and God the Son called Jesus. Let us not ever lose sight of that.
Virtue dict:strongs G703 "Arete". AreteVirtue means manliness, as in being a man of valor or intrinsic/attributed excellence. It is also translated once as praise or praiseworthy. God and Christ indeed have been this for us. This we should also become for our brethren's sake in response to God. We cannot summon this form of valor from within ourselves but, it comes as God and Savior's righteous effect deposits it into us. We can only become this as a result of God and Lord's miraculous power which has been given (without charge or expected repayment) through the EpignosisKnowledge recognition and acknowledgment of HE who called us into this.
I fear again that we confuse the valor of the new life with the manliness of the past life. It is one thing to be courageous towards a moral excellency. So many world religions and cults exhort its followers to be such. Even the majority of non-religious consider themselves to be of a virtuous fabric. It is not that people are not trying to do what is right, it is that they are only trying to do what is right in their own eyes. What is right in each of our individual eyes or in the eyes of the majority may be right as it concerns us. That does not guarantee that it will be right in God's eye, it might well be a corrupted right or a right that only goes so far.
Virtue is a two-sided coin. On one surface it reads "knowing what is ultimate and right", on the other surface "the valor to actually do it". Each coin carries a certain value or worth based upon the sum output of these two things. The world's coinage is worth a great deal among its own, however, it is worth very little in comparison to God's. On the one side of it the world knows little of what is right in God's eye, on the other it lacks the valor to overcome the extreme forces that come against it getting its mission done.
The history of the universal church body has been a rocky one. Throughout, men have attempted to pave it with a worldly virtue masquerading as "like precious faith" virtue. They have not smoothed nor eliminated the boulders and ruts of underlying sin and corruption. The hardened fasad of this virtue cracks and crumbles easily under foot. With each generation the world again knows and criticizes that church by its political inquisitions and military conquests, its hypocrisies and frequent in-fighting, its abrupt failings and social insignificance. Peter could well have reminded the followers of his time the evidences of this already exhibited in the faith of the universal body. So much more now today can we.
We live in a day and age that suffers from both the lack of direction and the means of getting beyond where we are. It is as if our calling is to this life and a relative human godliness instead of to God's glory and virtue. Self empowers our lives and godliness instead of God's DunamisPower. We suppose that our calling is to be the best person we can make ourselves to be. Nowhere in this text is this notion expressed.
Our calling is not to be the best people we can make ourselves to be, it is to be in the presence of the remarkable person who has called us be with Him. We have not the power within ourselves to live a life or perform a godliness worthy of elevating us into this glorious and virtuous presence. DunamisPower has to provide unto us the "all things pertaining" before we can live such a life and godliness that is worthy. It is not then our worthiness that brings us, it is His worthiness, His power that brings us into His glory and virtue. Self has no part of this equation other than to recognize and acknowledge who it is performing all of this.
"All things pertaining to" the life and godliness points us to His life and godliness. His miracle filled life and godliness are more than sufficient get us to where He has called us to go. He has sacrificed His life and godliness, and in return has received it back from the Father confirmed and glorified. Now that same life and godliness of His is graciously shared to benefit those of us who are without a valid life and godliness of our own. We now sacrifice our lesser life and godliness as has been modeled so well for us; for no other reason than it is right for us to do so.
How different this faith is from the way in which we approach it today. It is little wonder that we are fruitless against the growing corruptions and false teachings within the faith that oppose this.
Of Epignosis of Him Who has Called Us
The recognition and acknowledgment of Christ is vital to the glory and virtue to which our new life has been grafted. My hope is that now we all can begin to recognize who is who, and who is doing what, and by what power. Then, in our daily lives and action we can be the better acknowledgment of this. This EpignosisKnowledge is just as important here as it is to the previous multiplication of the grace and peace needed to operate in it. The righteousness of God and Savior is at the root source and drive of all of this coming to meaningful fruition. Like and precious!
DunamisPower - Word study ZoeLife - Word study EusebeiaGodliness - Word study KaleoCalling - Word study DoxaGlory - Word study AreteVirtue - Word Study TorreyCalling - Doctrinal Study TorreyGodsGrace - Doctrinal Study