Peter declares himself the author of Second Peter, mentions his office as apostle to establish his credentials and then hurries to make the point that he and his readers enjoy equal standing before God on the basis of their faith in Jesus Christ:
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our [Savior] Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1).
It does not matter how long we have been saved or how much or how little progress we have made in our walk, we all come to God in the same way: through Jesus Christ. What is important is to always be making progress. In the faith-based addiction recovery program where I served, I used to have guys tell me: “I’m just coasting right now,” and I would tell them, “If you’re coasting, you’re going the wrong way because you can only coast downhill. Sooner or later, if you coast long enough, you’re going to run out of momentum and fall.” Whenever we fall, it’s because we are not believing and acting on truth.
Peter is going to address false teaching in this epistle, but before he does that, he spends 2 Peter 1:1-4 talking about the true Christian life, because the best way to deal with falsehood is to know the truth. When someone comes to your door with a false gospel, you don’t have to know their doctrine to refute them. You just have to know yours. It’s how Paul dealt with false teachers and it’s how Peter does as well. We need to do the same. We need to know our doctrine.
So, Peter makes three affirmations about the Christian life. (See 2 Peter 1:1-4)
First, it’s faith in a Person – a real Person – Jesus Christ (vv. 1:1-2). The Bible never asks us to believe in believing or to believe in a state of mind or to trust in a concept. Bible faith is always founded on relationship. That relationship is with God and our Savior Jesus Christ. It is based on faith because we only have God’s Word to go by when it comes to our Savior, but He is a real Person and one day our faith in Him will be rewarded by sight “for we shall see Him as He is” (See 1 John 3:2). Like Paul, Peter describes Jesus as “God and our Savior,” making Father and Son coequal as well as the same Person. Jesus did say: “I and the Father are One.” In his opening verse, Peter affirms that our faith is in that Savior.
Second, saving faith means saving power (v. 3). It is the power of God that brings us to repentance (See Romans 2:4). It is the power of God that gives us “all things that pertain [to] life and godliness.”
Third, faith in God is based on trust in God’s promises (v. 4). One of my favorite salvation stories in Scripture is the conversion of Abraham where Abraham simply trusted God’s promise that the Lord would make him father of many nations. Genesis 15:6 tells us “he believed in the LORD; and He [God] counted it to him [Abraham] for righteousness.” It was thinking on that exchange that helped me finally realize that salvation is us taking God at His Word. Period. End of sentence.
The takeaway from theese first few verses if Second Peter – or at least one of them – is if you’re trying to overcome an addiction, a stubborn habit, or you’re just trying to get your life back on track with God, if you’re willing to trust Him and His Word to get you right, you have the power of God Himself to lift you out of the miry clay. Peter is testament to that. In his early years he was up one minute and down the next. He had a reputation amongst his friends for being a great guy, but all over the map. Jesus named him “The Rock” (long before Dwayne Johnson, by the way), and basically declared: “I am going to take this man, and even though Satan wants to sift him as wheat, I am going to so revolutionize his life and make him so grounded people can only say that this is of the Lord!”
Jesus did that with Peter, and He can do that with every one of us, if we’ll trust Him to do that.