Generosity Empowered – Received by Knowledge
2 Pet. 1:3
“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.”
I am impressed, the more I read the Bible, how much truth is expressed in only a few words.
Human, uninspired writers tend to be verbose; and I see this trait in some of my own writing. Apparently some writers think more of the quantity of words, than the quality of the message. In Eccl. chapter five Solomon made the observation about “a fool’s voice” being “known by his many words,” and in the same context he said: “in the multitude … of many words, there is also vanity.” (Eccl. 5:3,7) So it is refreshing to find messages of great and profound quality conveyed in the Bible, with a minimum of words.
2 Pet. 1:3 is such a case: NKJ: “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” NAS: “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” English Standard Version: “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.”
This Verse Is About God’s Generosity
Just consider the word “given” – “His divine power has given to us…” Or, in the NAS & ESV, “granted.” When there is giving or granting – that’s generosity. The root is “gen,” having 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 human reference, generosity is what you produce or grant for the good of another.
Now, here’s the marvelous thing about God à Everything God 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 in Genesis 1:31: “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Every product of His creative work is for our good! God is generous in the highest sense of the word.
One of the classic statements affirming generosity is James 1:17. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Do you realize everything on earth that is good can be traced back to God. Everything that is evil has another origin. But with Him, there is “no variation or shadow of turning.” NO VARIATION: there is never a time when God is not doing good. NO SHADOW OF TURNING: since He is the Father of lights, there is no casting of any shadow.
God displays perfect generosity and this is reflected in our text, here in 2 Pet. 1:3 – “His divine power has given to us…” Or, “granted to us!” In Christ – we receive a gracious grant from God; a gift from His perfect generosity.
This Verse Is Also About God’s Power, “His divine power.”
In order to survive, and to excel – there must be power. In your career; in your marriage and home; in your use of money; in matters of communication, transportation and physical health – power is essential. In order to survive and excel – there must be power. Even if you want to be generous, there must be the power to execute that care.
And in our time – we say about certain people: “He is a powerful man. She holds great power.” So we all acknowledge that power is necessary in life – and we believe we can recognize it; we may express our admiration for it, or our contempt that some have power and mis-use it.
Power is the strength to accomplish your will. Though you are generous in disposition and temperament, power is necessary to act.
Now in our text – in 2 Pet. 1:3 – this is a reference to “divine power.” God has the strength to do whatever He desires. He holds ultimate, perfect power, always well directed by His wisdom. In fact – there is no competition; no rival – to His Divine Power. What God wants to do for us (generosity, grace, love), He is able to do because of “his divine power.”
Impulsively someone might argue, “Sin is the ultimate power!” Well, sin is powerful; sin can seduce, entice, capture, hold us captive and lead us away to death and Hell. But sin is not the ultimate power. God gave the gospel of Christ, which is more powerful than sin. Rom. 1:16 says the gospel is the power God uses to save us from sin.
If we will take the gospel – receive the gift; apply the remedy - sin finds its defeat. And the glory must be given to God, for by His divine power – we have the solution to our problem.
God’s Sufficiency Is Reflected In The Phrase: “All things that pertain to life and godliness.” NAS and NIV: “Everything”
God gives physical life; God gives spiritual life, and God supplies everything necessary for us to be good, godly people! This is about God’s sufficiency: “All things that pertain to life and godliness.”
One modern translation in English says: “Everything we need!”
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. I’ll check to see if you need help later.” No. “His divine power has given to us EVERYTHING WE NEED…”
This is God’s sufficiency and we ought to relate this to Christ, and to the Word we have. The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient; His example is perfect; His intercession; His leadership, more than adequate to meet our needs.
And the Word of God, the inspired revelation we have, requires no human supplement! Did you know – you can take the Bible by itself and be a Christian! In fact, if you take the Bible plus something else – that will interfere with your efforts to be a Christian. You can read the Bible - - without commentary, creed or communiqué from men, and just be a Christian. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”
This Verse Also Tells Of God’s Means: “Through The Knowledge Of Him Who Called Us By Glory And Excellence.”
In some translations, the last word in verse 3 is “virtue.” 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!
1 John 2:3 tells us what it means to know Him in this sense: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” This “knowledge of Him” is the knowledge of faith and obedience.
Paul was expressing his desire to mature in this kind of knowledge – in Phil. 3:7-11. When Paul said, “that I may know Him,” do you think – this is just an academic knowledge, like when you memorize facts for a test? No – this is the knowledge of faith in the heart, obedience in life; a knowledge that finds its’ hope in the resurrection of the dead.
God is abundantly generous and gracious – willing from His divine power to give us “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” but God does this THROUGH MEANS; through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. When you hear the gospel – you learn of His glory and virtue. When you respond – seeking to know Him and serve Him – you become a personal recipient of all that God offers. Grace received.
Just this verse – informs us, motivates us, and enables us. God has the generosity, the power to offer from His grace, the knowledge is provided for us. It is sufficient! Praise Him.
Because of this – what can I do? Just keep reading.
1. I can obtain precious faith (v.1).
2. I can be a partaker of great promises (v.4).
3. I can escape the corruption that is in the world (v.4b).
4. I can add to my faith (vss. 5-9).
5. I can make my calling and election sure, avoiding stumbling (v.10).
6. I can be received “into the everlasting kingdom,” (v.11).
Do you see anything here that you need? This is what Peter says I can do and you can do because, His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness! But I can do these things and have these blessings – remember? “Though the knowledge of Him.”
In my response to Christ. In Him - in relation to Him; through Him - as I believe and obey Him, I enjoy “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”
By Warren E. Berkley
Expository Files 23.9; September, 2016