God’s Power Expressed
2 Pet. 1:3
Warren E. Berkley
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
Just in this single verse, there is rich teaching about the nature of God, given by the apostle Peter as the basis for the instructions that follow for Christians.
This begins with God’s Power: “His Divine Power.” On the first page of the Bible, the reader becomes acquainted with the power of God. He spoke everything into existence. Power is the strength to accomplish your will with whatever resources are required. God has this. He can accomplish whatever He wills to do and has whatever resources are necessary at his disposal. He holds ultimate, perfect power, always well directed by His wisdom. In fact – there is no competition; no rival – to His Divine Power. But along with this superior power there is . . .
Generosity. Just consider the word “given:” “His divine power has given to us…” Or in the NAS, “granted.” When there is giving, or a grant, there is generosity. This word “generosity” is interesting. The prefix is “gen,” and that’s the root of a Greek word that has to do with bearing, begetting, producing. A genealogy is a record of those born of a certain family. The book of Genesis is about what God produced. The word “gentlemen” has to do with the behavior polite, mature men produce. So the idea behind the prefix “gen” is to produce. In the context of giving generosity is what you produce for the good of another. The marvelous thing about God’s giving is, everything He produces is for our good. God is generous in the highest sense of the word. And this affirmation about God is one of the earliest things we learn about Him, for example in Genesis 1:31: “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Every product of His creative work – for our good! God is generous in the highest sense of the word (see more of this, Jas. 1:17).
God’s Sufficiency Is Reflected In The Phrase: “All things that pertain to life and godliness.” One modern translation in English says: “Everything we need!” I have often asked a class to write down what they need for their spiritual welfare. I often get this kind of list:
Then I take the class to this passage and stress, God provides everything we need. God doesn’t say: “Here, I’ll get you started … I’ll give you something … here are a few pieces of the puzzle . . . here are some of the materials you need.” No. “His divine power has given to us EVERYTHING WE NEED…”
The verse also tells us of God’s means: “Through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and excellence.” God gives us all we need. God grants us power over sin. God gives us exceedingly great and precious promises – through Jesus Christ! It is through the knowledge of Him that we become rich recipients of all that God offers. Though we have sinned. God will forgive us and bless us and save us after death. But it is through the knowledge of Him. And this is not just academic knowledge, where information is learned. This is intimate, spiritual knowledge. This means you know Him – not just in mind, but in love, in life, in hope! (See further at 1 Jno. 2:3 and Phil. 3).
It is through Jesus Christ that God expresses His gracious power, and that means – on our side of the relationship – we must know Christ and accept His call! Knowing Christ means learning who He is and what He did for us (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are dependable teachers!). Accepting His call happens when you are baptized into Christ and as you follow through by living in obedience to His teaching and example. If you want to be a participant in the riches that is produced by a perfectly generous God, please understand that His divine power flows “through the knowledge of Him,” Jesus Christ!