Monday, August 19, 2013

2nd Peter 1 - A bond-servant

"Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ," (2 Peter 1:1)
Many of the Apostles, in sending their greetings in the opening of their letters, refer to themselves as "bond-servants" of God. I have heard some bristle at this term, claiming to be more and a servant and greater than a slave, and rightly so, for Jesus told us, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15) and Paul reminds us that, "you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:7) However, even armed with this information, the apostles and many of the disciples still saw themselves as servants of God.

To understand this, we must hearken back to a time when Jews owned Hebrew slaves. Jews who found themselves in profound poverty and unable to provide for themselves or their family, would sell themselves as slaves to their fellow Jews. They would serve their Jewish masters for six years and then, on the seventh year, they were to be let go free. However, if their love for their benefactor was greater than their love for freedom, they could choose to stay with their master. "But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently." (Exodus 21:5-6) These early believers understood this and their love for God compelled them to bind themselves permanently to God as his bond-servants; to accept the same piercing that also pierced Jesus, who was Himself  "door of the sheep." (John 10:7) Some people are simply happy to follow Jesus but others, out of their deep and abounding love for God, also desire to be His servant.
"To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1)
The Greek term translated here as "same kind" can also mean "of like preciousness" or "of equal value or honor." Peter was not writing to those who merely knew the truth, but to those who loved the truth. He was writing to those for whom the truth head the same value and place of honor in their hearts as it did for Peter. Those who know the truth often fail to understand the truth because they have no love of the truth within themselves. Paul warns us of the coming Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, and the destruction that will come upon many, "because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:10) Our challenge, as we read the rest of Peter's letter, is to ask ourselves, "is our faith of the same preciousness as it to Peter?" and if not, why?

Peter also reminds us that, this faith we have received, we received not by our own righteousness or strength, but it was a free gift given to us through the righteousness of Christ. Our faith becomes all the more precious when we realize that we did not earn it but rather that it was given to us as a free gift, a gift we didn't deserve, a gift we couldn't purchase on our own, a gift freely given to us by a loving God. Jesus paid a tremendous price that we might posses such a precious faith, and this price He freely paid because of His great love for us.
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2)
It is the knowledge of God through which grace and peace are multiplied in our lives. However, such knowledge is not the knowledge of the things of God, or the knowing of certain facts about God, it is a knowledge that actually knows God. I have knowledge of our president and I know many things about him, but I do not know him. The same can be said of God. Many people have a knowledge of God and know many thing about God, but few actually know God. Jesus chided the Pharisees for their much studying and learning that never lead them to a true knowledge of God. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." (John 5:39-40) Jesus came to reveal the Father, so why should we be content with mere information and facts about God when we have been invited into a relationship with God that we might truly know Him. It is only in such a relationship that we will come to know Him and find the peace and grace that flows from His heart into our lives.

David Robison

No comments:

Post a Comment