“Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours…” (2 Peter 1:1).
“I believe in God” has to be the most self-deceptive phrase ever used by man; the faith that the Bible refers to as saving faith is not the faith that most people have when they say, “I believe in God.” Peter describes saving faith in the opening remarks of his second letter.
Saving Faith is Honorable, Precious, and Enduring
Peter addressed his hearers as “…those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours…” A closer look at the Greek that Peter used is necessary to get a clearer understanding of what he meant. Peter wrote to those who received a faith that was “Isotimos” or honorable, precious, and equal. Saving faith then is first honorable and worthy of praise, hence saving faith could not come from hell deserving sinners but must be as he says, “…received a faith…” In salvation, there is only one worthy of praise and honor and that is the God of our salvation and the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, saving faith is precious, which means it is not ordinary or common faith, it is not possessed by the masses, instead it is precious like a rare jewel or metal. It is worth a great deal and possessed by few.
Lastly, the faith that Peter talks about is equal to his own. Some might say, ‘according to the Gospel accounts, Peter did not have great faith,’ to which we might respond, neither did any of the disciples; what makes saving faith honorable and precious is its enduring quality. Peter faltered in the beginning, but he became a faithful Apostle, and helped lead the first church in the way of true holiness. By faith, he allowed himself to be held accountable to the younger Paul and repented of his sin (Galatians 2). Eventually, his faith would lead him to be crucified upside down according to tradition and for Christ’s glory. The faith of Peter was honorable, precious, and enduring, just as Jesus said, “Those who endure to the end shall be saved.”
What kind of faith do you possess, where does your faith look when you are in dire circumstances?
Saving Faith is Given by the Determined Will of God
Regarding saving faith Peter uses another Greek term “Lagchano” or to obtain by lot, receive by divine allotment, and/or cast lots. By the Holy Spirit, “Lagchano” is also used in Luke 1:9, “and according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense,” speaking of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist. It is also used in John 19:24, “So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; this was to fulfill the Scripture : "THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS," speaking of the soldiers who crucified our Lord.
The first mention of the “lot” is found in Leviticus 16:8, "Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” Concerning this verse John Gill had the following to say, “…however casual and contingent the casting of a lot may seem to men, it is certain to God, the disposal of it is of him, and according to his determination, Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Peter is making a very clear point that saving faith is not arbitrary according to the whim or will of sinful men, but according to the determined counsel, wisdom, and righteous will of Almighty God.
Do you fully understand that even your faith is a gift of God, and that you play no part in your salvation? If you do, your faith will bear the fruit of humility and a selfless love for God and others.
Saving faith prompts to action
When Peter uses the term FAITH in chapter one and verse one, he is referring to the conviction of truth that God exists, and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ, and with the predominate idea of trust in the faithful character of God and Christ. Such a faith as this is not a mere intellectual acknowledgment of Biblical facts but a casting of oneself upon the ability, mercy, and willingness of God to save. Peter in the opening verses of his second letter makes it perfectly clear that saving faith sees salvation as of God and of Him only. Thus he continues, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
It is by God’s divine power that the saved receive EVERYTHING belonging to life and godliness, which includes faith. In addition, this salvation is in accord with a TRUE knowledge of Him, not one manufactured by sinful men who imagine they have done something to save themselves.
Those who possess saving faith possesses a faith that is praise worthy, precious, enduring, bestowed by the determined will of God, and prompts men to the action of casting themselves upon the mercy of God, which leads to the action that Jesus Christ is Lord.