God gives his people what they need to live

Leonard Lauriault

I’ve heard that preachers eat fried chicken to get even with the rooster for reminding Peter he hadn’t been faithful in keeping his promise to always stand by Jesus (Matthew 26: 31-35; 69-75).

Learning from the rooster incident, Peter determined to keep Christians (including us) reminded of the unchanging value of knowing Jesus and the essentials of faith and faithfulness (1 Peter 1: 6, 7, 23-25; 5: 12; 2 Peter 1: 12, 13; 3: 1-3).

Peter reminds us that God is to be the object of our faith because he gives eternal hope through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 18-21; John 14: 1, 6-11) to those that please him (Hebrews 11: 6; 2 Corinthians 5: 1-10).

We’ve been born again into God’s family — not because we earn family membership and the eternal life it includes, but because of God’s great mercy (1 Peter 1: 3, 4; Ephesians 2: 4-10). God graciously saves us through faith, which is another gift from him we choose to exercise (John 20: 25-29). So, faith is a role we do have in our salvation (Acts 2: 40).

According to Peter, the subject of our faith (what we believe), in addition to God’s existence, is Jesus‘ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 10: 9, 10), which paves the way for our resurrection into eternal life (1 Corinthians 15: 12-23; Romans 6: 3-11; 1 Peter 3: 18-22).

The goal of our faith is our salvation (1 Peter 1: 8, 9) – our redemption from a useless life through Jesus’ blood. We must replace the empty way of life with usefulness for God by offering acceptable sacrifices of worship and service (Romans 12: 1, 2; Philemon 11; 1 Peter 2: 4-10) in submissive obedience.

Jesus’ resurrection came only after his submissive obedience (Luke 22: 41-43) in finishing the work God had given him to do (John 17: 4; 19: 30; Hebrews 5: 7-9) to bring glory to the Father and to enter into his presence (Philippians 2: 1-11). We also must follow through on acts prompted by faith to take advantage of God’s grace and enter his presence (1 Corinthians 15: 1, 2; 2 Thessalonians 1: 11, 12; John 15: 1-10; Colossians 4: 17).

Peter states that purification (sanctification) comes through obedience (1 Peter 1: 2, 22; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; Acts 22: 16; Galatians 3: 26-29; 4: 4-7; Revelation 22: 12-16). Submissive obedience is not earning our salvation, it‘s simply another role we have in our salvation because it’s how we become intimately acquainted with God (2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10; James 2: 17).

Peter reminds us that our faithful obedience isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime event, like Jesus’ death (Hebrews 9: 27, 28) and our identification with him in that death (1 Peter 2: 21-25). It’s to be as eternal as God (1 Peter 5: 6-11; 1 Timothy 1: 17), being exhibited in all aspects of our lives (1 Peter 1: 13-17; 2: 11-20; 3: 1-17; 4: 1-11) and continuing whether times are good or bad (1 Peter 4: 12-19; 1: 6, 7).
Sustaining faith results from personal growth (1 Peter 2: 1-3; 2 Peter 1: 5-8), which is how God recreates us in his image (Colossians 3: 1-11) and uses his power to shield us during trials (1 Peter 1: 5).

Being re-created takes the rest of our lives, during which we must not forget that we’ve been forgiven (2 Peter 1: 9-11; Acts 2: 36-41, 47) because if we do, we become unproductive and can fall from our secure position, being worse off than before we became Christians (2 Peter 2: 20-22; Hebrews 10: 26-31; 6: 4-6).

We’ll still occasionally sin, but God patiently forgives us as his children, if we follow his directions (2 Peter 3: 8-13; 1 John 1: 5-10; 2: 1-6).

Peter concludes his second letter reminding us to grow in our knowledge of Christ so we’re not misled by those who distort God’s guidelines (2 Peter 3: 14-18), either by adding to them (requiring more than God does) or omitting some of them (Revelation 22: 18, 19; 2 Peter 1: 16-21; 2: 1-19).

He began that letter by reminding us that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness through knowledge of Jesus so we could receive our inheritance as his children (2 Peter 1: 1-4). To that end, we must be faithfully patient (Hebrews 6: 12), not drawing back (Hebrews 10: 35-39).

Peter reminded Christians of this throughout his life and he continues crowing about it to us today (2 Peter 1: 14, 15) because knowing who Jesus is and becoming known by him by following his eternal word is our only hope for gaining eternal life (John 6: 66-69, 63; Luke 6: 46-49; Matthew 7: 21-23).

Leonard Lauriault is pastor at Tucumcari’s Church of Christ.