Monday, June 30, 2008

II Peter 1:1 The Author-His Humility and His Authority

In life, you have to decide what hill you’re going to die on. There are some things that you have to be willing to say “You know what? This isn’t that big of a deal. I’m going to just let this one go.” In auditing, often times I find things that are problems and I have to decide how big of a deal I want to make out of it. I have to apply professional judgments to decide whether or not I am going to consider something to be “material” (that’s auditor-speak for “a big deal”). As a Christian, I also have to make decisions as to how strong I’m going to stand for or against something. For instance, I’m a Calvinist. However, I’m not going to have any sort of problem fellowshipping or ministering with someone who disagrees with me. I’m willing to agree to disagree on that topic. However, there is one thing that I cannot and will not bend on-the sufficiency and authority of Holy Scripture. That, my friends, is paramount for us as Christians to proclaim and stand on. Jesus said in John 8:42 that the truth would make us free. Likewise, Paul says in II Thessalonians 2:9-12 that those who will be deceived by the Antichrist will be deceived because they “took pleasure in wickedness” and that they did not believe the truth. Peter, in his second epistle, writes these believers to encourage them to believe and remain faithful to the truth that they had been taught. As we study this scripture, you and I can be encouraged to do the same.

First of all, let us take note of the author of this epistle. He identifies himself as “Simon Peter”. This, of course is the same Simon Peter who preached the sermon on the day of Pentecost. He is the same Simon Peter who, when asked by Jesus “Who do you say that I am?”, readily affirmed the deity of Christ and the fact that He was the Son of God. Of course, this is also the same Peter who told the Lord “Give me a bath” when Jesus said he needed his feat washed. And yes, this is the same man who was so scared to death when a little girl ID’ed him as being a disciple of Christ that he cursed and denied our Lord. Personally, that’s why I love Peter. When he got it right, he got it right. When he goofed up, it wa a humdinger. I can relate to that. He had his flaws but God still used him. That gives me hope.

Peter further identifies himself as “a bond-servant…of Jesus Christ”. The word translated “bond-servant” is the Greek word “doulos” (1401). A more precise rendering of the word would probably be “slave”. Essentially, someone who was a doulos was property. They had no rights and could not do as they pleased. They lived to serve at the beck and call of their master. As Peter identifies himself here as a bond-servant, he is being quite humble. We all should remember as Paul tells us in I Corinthians that we were bought with a price. If we see ourselves as Peter did, as slaves, is there anything that God would ask us to do that we would say “No” to? Where could He send us where we would “pull a Jonah”? We should serve Him out of love because of the wonderful grace He has shown us but we should always remember that He is not only our Savior but He is also our Lord..

We observe that while Peter is humble and rightly so, he speaks with authority and that authority is not his own. He writes in verse 1 that he is an “apostle of Jesus Christ”. The word “apostle” is a transliteration of the Greek word “apostolos” (652) which means delegate or ambassador. This was not a title that a person could take for themselves. He was one of the men specially commissioned by Jesus to go and preach the Gospel of Christ. He was sent as an ambassador and the message that he brought was not his own. He wasn’t making this stuff up, folks. In the book of Acts, he preached sermons, raised the dead, healed the sick as he had been empowered by God through the Holy Spirit to do.

While the office of apostle is not an active office in the church today, you and I are apostles of Christ in the sense that we are called to preach the good news to people we meet. As we do that, we should follow the example of Peter and recognize our position as humble servants of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible Copyright 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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