God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Our God is not stingy. He is not in spiritual or financial need. He is the author and source of everything and He provides for His people in abundance. So how do we become recipients of all that? Through His very great and precious promises in the Bible.
It’s good to be with you again, sharing out of truths that life has taught me, truths that have made the difference between success and failure in my life, and can do the same in yours.
In my first two talks this week I’ve explained the special role that the Holy Spirit plays in enabling us to claim our inheritance. Now today I’m going to explain the actual form in which our inheritance comes to us. This is very important and it’s something many Christians have never seen clearly. Consequently, they have not been able to enter into their inheritance as God intends they should. The key passage for understanding this is found in the second epistle of Peter 1:2-4. I’ll read these verses and then I am going to make a number of comments on them.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power [that’s God’s divine power] has given us everything we need for life and godliness... [I’m going to read that sentence again because that’s the key:] His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these [that’s the glory and goodness of Jesus] he [God] has given us his very great and precious promises... [Now that’s the second phrase that you’ve got to fix in your mind: God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them [that is, through the promises] you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (NIV)
I marvel sometimes at the writings of Peter because he was apparently a comparatively unlearned man and yet so much of tremendous truth and so many concepts and words that indicate a high level of education. Of course, Peter got his education through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is really the best educator in the world and He still is today.
Now let’s look at what Peter is saying. I want to point out a number of important points to you in logical order. Going back to the second verse, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance...” The first thing I need to point out is that God’s provision for us is in abundance. God is not a stingy God. He’s not poor. He’s not in financial need. He’s not in spiritual need. He’s the author and source of everything in the universe and when He provides for us, His people, He provides in abundance.
Peter goes on, “...through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” This indicates that every provision of God comes through knowing God and Jesus. There’s no other way that provision can come except through knowing God and Jesus. I put it this way: God is the only source, Jesus is the only channel. And I want to emphasize the word “only.” God is the only source; Jesus, the only channel.
And then we come to that astonishing statement at the beginning of verse 3 where it says, “[God] has [already] given us everything we need...” and we must be careful to observe the tense of the verb. It does not say that God will give us, it says God has already given us everything we need. God has already supplied all our needs. Lay hold of that fact because if you miss that, then you are not going to be able to understand the nature of God’s provision. God has already given us everything we need.
And then in the second part of verse 3 Peter returns to the theme that it’s all contained in Jesus, “through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and [virtue].” It’s so important that we understand that it’s all contained in Jesus that Peter states that twice. However, in that second passage the word that’s translated in the English version “knowledge” is not exactly the same word as is translated “knowledge” in the previous verse. In that third verse, the word “knowledge” in Greek means “acknowledge.” So it’s not just an intellectual, theological knowledge of Jesus, but it means acknowledging Him, seeing who He is, recognizing Him and giving Him His rightful place in our lives.
Let’s go back over those four comments that I’ve made already as the basis of what I’m going to say next.
First of all, God’s provision for us is in abundance.
Secondly, God is the only source. Jesus is the only channel.
Thirdly, God’s power has already given us everything we’re ever going to need, and I emphasize the perfect tense. It’s all been done. God has already given!
And fourthly, this is a repeat of something, an extension of it, it’s all contained in knowing Jesus. But it’s not just knowing Him intellectually or theologically or having doctrines about Jesus, but it’s knowing Him as a person and giving Him His right place in our lives. It’s really making Jesus Lord in every area of our lives. That’s what’s contained in the word “acknowledging Jesus.”
I’ve been saying that God has already given us everything we’re ever going to need. Now you may look at your life at this point and say, “Well, if God has given it, I don’t see it. There are needs in my life that have not been met and yet I’m a believer and I’m doing my best to walk the Christian road and to serve God and to be one of God’s people.” Well, here’s the really important key. This is something that the Holy Spirit revealed to me years ago and it’s been a major factor in my own spiritual progress. Where is everything? If God has already given it, why don’t we see it? Why don’t we seem to have it? Now, here’s the answer. I’ll read the words of Peter and then I’ll comment on it.
“Through these [that’s through the glory and goodness of Jesus] God has given us his very great and precious promises...” (NIV)
In the previous verse we read, “God has given us everything we need.” Now in this verse we read, “God has given us His very great and precious promises.” What is the conclusion? It’s very simple and very logical. Everything we need is contained in the promises of God, so when God has given us His promises, in them He has given us everything we’re going to need for time and eternity. I say it this way, “The provision is in the promise.” Now that’s so important that I want you to fix it in your mind. I’m going to say it again. “The provision is in the promise.” That explains why, on the one hand, God says He’s given us everything and on the other hand, so many Christians are obviously lacking things they need. The answer is they haven’t discovered where God’s provision is. God’s provision is in His promises. Logically therefore, in order to receive your provision, you have to know the promises of God and you have to know how to claim those promises, how to move in and possess the promises of God.
Now I’m going to deal with that part of the teaching more specifically later this week, but for the time being I just want to go back to this passage in 2 Peter and explain to you what happens in our lives when we realize that God’s provision is in His promises. When we find the promises that we need and we begin to claim them and apply them to our lives, there are two amazing results that follow. First of all, Peter says:
“...so that through them [that’s through the promises] you may participate in the divine nature [and then he goes on to say:] and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (NIV)
So there are two results of claiming the promises of God. The first is positive, the second is negative. The positive result is that we participate in the nature of God Himself. That’s an amazing statement. If it wasn’t right there in the Bible, I don’t think I’d ever dare to say it. But it’s so explicitly stated there that through appropriating God’s promises we become partakers of God’s nature. That is, through the promises, the very nature of God Himself comes into us. We become more and more divine. Do I dare to say that without offending you? I believe it’s legitimate. The very nature of God Himself, through His promises, when we act upon them and appropriate them, when we make them ours in experience, then through that the very nature of God begins to come into us.
And that leads us, logically, to the negative result which is “that we escape the corruption in the world through evil desires.” Our old fallen nature is essentially corrupt, morally corrupt, spiritually corrupt and physically corrupt. But as the nature of God comes in, it replaces that corruption by the nature of God and the nature of God is, in essence, incorruptible. So a new kind of nature, a new kind of personality, a new kind of life comes into us as we appropriate the promises of God. It’s the nature and personality and the life of God Himself coming into us through the promises that He’s given us in His Word in the Scripture.
You see, this leads us to a very important and wonderful conclusion. Ultimately, God Himself becomes our inheritance. Ultimately, it’s not just things, it’s not just blessings, it’s not just experiences but our ultimate inheritance is God Himself! We become partakers of the very nature of God! Beloved, don’t stop short of God! Don’t stop at just experiences or blessings or gifts. They’re all wonderful, but the real purpose of God is that you inherit God Himself through His promises.
All right. Our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing, in a practical way, with the actual steps we have to take to enter our inheritance.