MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 1
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Join Nathan and Vic who are excited to have you continue down the Rapture Road with them for a verse-by-verse study of the incredible prophetic book of 2 Peter! You can start with Part 1 or listen in to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast (above).
Becoming a Bondservant of Christ
Nathan Jones: Let’s now get into reading 2 Peter. The first section contains the usual greeting that all of the Apostles gave in their letters. Letter writing is a lost art nowadays, but the Apostles lived in a time when they could only communicate long-distance by letters, and so they included these wonderful intros. Second Peter 1:1-4 reads:
“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as 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, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Vic Batista: That right there is a powerful opening! I love the term bondservant. It’s a ‘word literally denoting being a “slave” to Jesus Christ, in other words, sold out to the Lord. Once we give one-hundred percent of our lives to the Lord, it’s not like we are the kind of slaves a master whips, rather we give our lives freely out of love for our Savior. We lay down our lives in submission to the Lord and do whatever He has called us to do.
Nathan Jones: I’m reminded of the old tradition that was popular during the New Testament times. When a slave was freed, if the slave wanted to stay with the family, he would actually pierce his ear to the doorpost. He’d poke a needle through his ear and pin himself to the doorpost. It’d be like saying: “I am yours forever. I will serve you forever. But, I do so of my own accord.” It all sounds rather painful to me. It’d be like declaring, “I’m sticking with you.” That is what Peter is saying. He is a bondservant by choice in serving the Lord.
A bondservant has been bought at a price. All of us who in faith have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior have also accepted the price that Jesus paid by dying on the cross for our sins and forgiving us. We may be servants, but the Lord says that we are even more than servants — we are also children of God. We become heirs, almost like brothers to Jesus. That places us at a very high status unheard of when it comes to slaves and bondservants.
Vic Batista: Sometimes when it comes to biblical prophecy, people approach the subject as a matter of gloom and doom. Rather, Bible prophecy is meant to encourage Christians to grow in their relationship with the Lord. And, that is what Paul is doing here in his introduction. His example demonstrates that Christian’s should not look at themselves all haughty, but rather as bondservants, slaves even, in our faithfulness to Christ. Such humbleness is something that is lacking today in Christianity. Wouldn’t you agree, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: At least here in the West, Christians really don’t know persecution. If you live in the East, say you are one of the Christians living in an Islamic nation, then you know persecution. ISIS is murdering you. Since you live constantly under attack, you develop that great faith because God is seen as your only hope. But, here in the West, we put our hope in other things such as our wealth, our insurance, our friends, our family, and God is one of the things we put our confidence in, but not the only thing. And that is a shame. True Christianity thrives under persecution.
Peter knew this. He lived in a time period when the Jewish people, especially the Christians, faced fierce persecution. The Jewish people would see in just a few decades after the Church formed that the nation of Israel and the Temple would be destroyed. Peter knew personal persecution for he was executed for his faith. Peter learned to put his faith and trust in God. Christians should place our faith and trust in God and God alone because everything else in life will fail us.Nathan Jones: Christians should place our #faith and trust in God and #God alone because everything else in life will fail us. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: That reminds me of the movie called Ben-Hur. Much of the story focuses on the arena of Caesarea where they used to feed the Christians to the lions. Peter is writing during the times when Christians were being fed to the lions and they were being hunted down and killed. You are right, our day is way different. Our persecution today is more emotional, such as when someone says something mean about us and so we leave a church.
Nathan Jones: Or, when someone puts a nasty meme about Christians on Facebook and we get all offended. We experience microaggressions, which is a popular word now. These are not major aggressions. There’s not a gun being forced against your head and you are demanded to deny Christ or die. It just hasn’t happened here yet, and I hope it never will. I hope we are raptured before the persecution here gets that bad. But, that is the way the world is going because Jesus said that the world would hate us because of His name, and they do they hate us because of His name.
And so, Christians live in a difficult time. Peter is trying to reach Christians and Jews who are living in difficult times and encourage them to keep their eyes focused on Jesus’ ultimate victory. That’s a message that was relevant in Peter’s time some 1,900 years ago, and that is a message that remains relevant to us today.
Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises
Vic Batista: Let’s look deeper at 2 Peter 1:4 which reads, “…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
I love that the passage says Christians should expect “exceedingly great and precious promises.” Not little tidbits, mind you, but in Christ, we have so much.
Nathan Jones: What promises do you think Peter is referring to here?
Vic Batista: One of those promises is salvation through Jesus Christ. Also, once saved, we are filled with the Holy Spirit who guides us in holy living. We become empowered by the Lord Jesus Christ because I noticed Peter here says, “…having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts.” We gain that through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can better walk holy and pure in this fallen world.
Nathan Jones: I also think Paul is referring back to verse 3 concerning, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Christians are promised all things that pertain to living and to being godly.
Also, the passage notes “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”, indicating Christians gain knowledge about God through His Word the Bible, as well as the Holy Spirit who calls us by glory and virtue. We have a promise that one day we will live in glorified bodies, that we’ll witness God’s glory face-to-face, and we will live in virtue and purity and holiness forever. These are all amazing promises, promises that were bought by the very blood of Jesus Christ. So amazing!
And this is just what’s been said in a greeting, right! But, 2 Peter 1:1-4 is so packed with doctrine and theology.
Vic Batista: Yes, that’s just the beginning of what is found in 2 Peter. Only three small chapters, but it’s powerfully packed with prophecies and encouragement.
In the third part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll discover how to grow by being “in the faith” as taught in 2 Peter 1:5-11.