A Life of Godliness – 2 Peter 1:3-4

Discussions of 2 Peter tend to focus on the authenticity of the book and the possibility the book is pseudonymous. As interesting as these issues are, they distract readers from the rich theology of this often ignored letter of the New Testament.

First, the believer has all that is needed to live a life of godliness (v. 3). The two words translated by the ESV as “life and godliness” can be understood as a single idea, a “godly life” (NIV2011). If God has called us to be for his own glory and excellence, then it is important to realize that he has already granted to the one he has called everything he needs to succeed in that godly life.

MathIn some basic math classes a student is allowed to make a 3×5 card of information they might need to pass the test (basic formulas or methods for solving problems). Image a crafty student who prints out the entire math book in micro print and then brings a magnifying glass to class. He would be very prepared. Another student might just being a 3×5 card with nothing on it. But the most prepared student would be the one who had a card prepared by the professor with all the answers already on it.

By way of analogy, that is what God has done for us. He called us to live a holy life, but he also granted us all we need to actually be holy. He does not expect us to develop our own methods and rely on our own strength, but to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit which he has already given us at salvation.

The word “granted” is used several times in this passage and is a word usually associated with a royal or divine gift (Esther 8:1, for example). The highest authority in the universe has called us (at salvation) and given to us a task (godliness), and then he has given us a royal grant to enable us to complete that task.

The reason we have all we need is that God has granted to us all the knowledge of him we need. This may hint at what Peter’s opponents have taught to his audience, that the “real Christian” must be introduced to the deep things of God, the secret mysteries or advanced doctrines held back only for the ones who are deeply spiritual.

Second, God has granted to the believer precious and great promises (v. 4). What are these promises? The result of the promises that the believer has become a partaker in the divine nature. The believer can participate in this divine nature because they have already escaped the corruption of this world.

Is this true? Has God provided all we need to live a godly life? What might be included in this “grant” according to 2 Peter?


19 thoughts on “A Life of Godliness – 2 Peter 1:3-4

  1. I believe that God does grant us everything that we need to live a holy and Godly life and it can be seen in the example of Jesus. Being fully human, Jesus was open to the same temptations to sin that we are and yet He was able to withstand the devil. I think in HIs provisions God will always give a way out of temptation. Jesus is the perfect example of all of this. I believe that God’s strength is continually at hand and that we can always call on it. I think it can be mixed up because we do have a sinful nature, something we cannot avoid, but living a Godly life has nothing to do with that. Rather I think it means striving to do our best and put that reliance on God. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God’s provision is not that our sinful human nature will cease, although it will eventually, but rather that His strength is always there for us.

    • I agree with your points that God grants us everything that we need to live a holy and godly life. Looking at the example of Jesus helps us see a lot. I always think that it would be interesting to watch Jesus grow up and live. I think of different people in my life who are examples and when I was younger I looked up to for how to live a godly life. But what if I was actually able to watch Jesus grow up and live a life without sin? I believe that as Christians we can live a godly life. There are temptations that come our way and sins that we commit that we need to ask for forgiveness for. Every sin that we commit we must ask forgiveness for. We are to pray against temptations that come our way (Luke 22:40). God will always be there for us and I believe that we can live a godly life. Great post!

  2. 2 Peter 1:3 clearing states that God has provided us with everything we could ever need to live a Godly life, we must trust the infallible word of God. God isn’t out there to set up standards that are too high for us to reach, and God is quite aware of our humanness and our inability to completely detach ourselves from the ability to sin. But, Christ does call us to a pure life and for that reason we must strive to represent Christ to the best of our ability. Christ also doesn’t expect us to be able to refrain from sinning when we are not Christians, it is only with the indwelling of the holy spirit that we are even capable of right living. 2 Peter 1:5-8 provides tangible examples to us of how we might achieve all that we could need in life. Virtues like steadfastness, love, faith, and countless others can only lead to good things in life. It is rare that people persecute you for right living; God embodied all of these traits and for that reason for us to live a Godly life we too must try and embody them.

  3. Personally, I think it is true that God has provided all we need to live a godly life. However, I believe as humans we are going to try to place earthly passions into what makes the godliest life, and that is not what God wants. The Bible has everything that will help a Christian live a life that is godly, it even provides examples of what happened when someone screwed up. I think that eternal life can be included in the grant that God promises for his believers. We can hold true to this promise because we accepted God into our lives and are living accordingly to his plan of a godly life.

  4. Peter discusses how believers should live – a godly life. God calls each and every believer and has given the tools so that they may successfully live for him. This desire to live in a way that brings God glory with the focus that he has promises for their lives. Peter puts a particular importance is recognizing the fact that his readers – and believers overall – have “escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desire” (2 Peter 1:4). This statement puts light on the fact that these people should be living different lives because of their freedom from corruption.
    Jobes explains that the behavior and desire to live a godly life stems from the fact that salvation brings freedom from sin (Jobes, 375). Living in a way that is corrupted by futile thinking, sensual actions, and false teaching is exactly what Peter is focusing on as he writes this passage (Jobes, 369, 373-375). This is the devotion to godly living means putting away the sins of a person’s life before Christ and putting on the desires of God to live for him and be used by him. Peter puts a focus on this when he says, “so that through them you may participate in the divine nature”.
    In our own lives, there is often a desire to live in a way that is not honoring nor pleasing to God but rather be held captive by the “corruption of this world” that Christ freed us from. Peter speaks in a way that shows that the evil desires of the world lacked purpose, but God has given each and every one of us a purpose in his eternal plan. One of the most important ways he gives us purpose is by our desire to live a godly life. It is not to say that it is always easy, because any mature believer can tell you it is not. Although is it not easy, a life filled with desire to live for God is a life that will always be seen as different from that of someone living in the world.

  5. I agree that God grants us everything we need to live a godly and holy life. I understand that God sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for us to receive salvation, but I also understand that was not the only reason Jesus was sent. Jesus and His actions can be observed and be looked at as a modeling source for us as Christians to use. Since we are able to see that Jesus was entirely human in the book of Hebrews, it can be determined that using Jesus as a model in our lives fits perfectly. Therefore, I believe that God provides His people not only with the information through scripture but with a model in which we can follow and relate to in our own lives. When it comes to temptation, Jesus is definitely someone to look to. Jesus was tempted just as we Christians are tempted in our daily lives. We will fall but God provides us with the strength and resilience to be restored. I do believe that God provides His people with everything they need to lead a holy and godly life. He provides us with reassurance in scripture and the most perfect model of all, Jesus Christ. There will be times that are more difficult than others that we will all endure but that does not allow us to distance ourselves from the word assuming there is no answer. God provides us with all resources we need it just takes time and development in order to utilize what He has given us.

  6. To live a Godly life, I think that God has provided us with everything we need to live a life chasing after him and his will. Although we all have a curious mind into who he is and how we can know more about him, this just makes us dig deeper and try to understand the personality of God and how we can be more like him every day. He sent us Jesus and in doing so we have a person and icon in which we can strive to be like. I think that God has a mission for each of our lives and although some of us may not know what that is right now, if we cling to God, he will guide us on the route in which he wants us. God also has given us the Holy Spirit and in which this is a way that God can speak and guide us as well. Although we might miss it at times and also fail, God will never leave us but instead will always choose to love us. So in all of this God has given us everything that we need to do his work and find a purpose and reason to do so.

  7. Jesus Christ will help you find anything you need. They Bible and Jesus’s walk on this earth has given us an example to follow. God has given us the answer key to the test, Jesus. We are to live a Godly life; Godliness is a life centered on God and genuine reverence toward God. A Godly life goes beyond church and being a good person. Its living a life of energy, passion, faith and service to God. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). Admitting that you can’t save yourself and the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. Sin causes us to search for our own evil desires and wants. As true Christians we are to know the “deep things of God, the secret mysteries or advanced doctrines held back only for the ones who are deeply spiritual” (Philip Long). As Christians we understand that Jesus is our example to follow and that we ought to deepen our relationship with God so that we can know Him and be his humble servants.

  8. I believe that we were given all the materials we need to live a Godly life. Do we take all that is given to us into account and try and know how to live a Godly life, I do not think so. I think a great example we have would be Jesus, and Paul. They both lived their live for God. They gave all that they had to serve him with all their heart. They did not strive for perfection, they strove for a relationship with the Father. I know that in 2 Peter 1:5–9 talks about the efforts we can make in our faith walk with God. The more we take into account that a relationship with the Father is better than being a good person doing good works, the more we know about the Father and the more sensitive we are to the Holy Spirit. God does not look for perfection, he looks for the willing, we are to be willing to serve him in any capacity just as Paul and Christ did. The more we search for God’s heart and will, the more we will know about the God we serve and the more Godly our lifestyle will be. Because it is a lifestyle.

  9. I agree as well that God has provided everything needed to live a godly life. God has provided us with scripture, with Jesus and with the capability of prayer. I think that God has never let us down nor will he ever. When I hear someone say “well, the Bible does not have what I’m going through, what should I do?” & although the Bible does not give every single situation a person may go through down to the specifics, it has very similar situations to anything that we may go through. Also, I think that is also why God gave us prayer. If we feel stuck, we can go to him directly and he will guide us. Luke 11:9 says: “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (ESV). It may not always be in the time that we want or think, but God always provided for His people and we must always have faith in his love for us. God has always provided for us. Even before His people had Jesus to go to as a role model, God still provided them the tools and the knowledge necessary to live their life according to Him.

  10. That analogy of the notecard was insightful. I had a few teachers in highschool that would let us do this. Sometimes making the notecard was harder than the actual test. It is easy to fall into the mindset that we have to figure it out on our own. When God calls us to live a godly life, He does not expect us to scramble and try to figure out the right way to make everything we need to know fit onto the little card. God wants us to stop and recognize that He has already done the work. He has already given us the ability to become Holy. God wants us to trust His power and faithfulness through the Holy Spirit into our lives. Even when you write the entire chapter on a notecard, it still does not give you the answer to the question. You sit scrambling to find the right equation. When we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead our lives with the confidence of God’s power, the answer comes easier to us. With this, we look for the answer from the right place, God’s truth. As a believer, Peter talks about the depth of Christian life. 2 Peter 1:4 talks about those promises in-depth. The promises are eternal life. It is the promise of hope, peace, and purpose in life. God has provided all we need to live a godly life. He gives us the truth, people, and most importantly the Holy Spirit so we can rely on them.

  11. I feel God has granted us access to him through Christ Jesus, who one, he is the Word, The Word was created through him and for him, which for every believer to accept that there is more to God through the trinity and His Word, one must and submit to wanting to seek God with all their hearts and every part of this individual. I do believe with some restraint the Lord hold some things back, because it may be too much for a human to fully understand, but shouldn’t stop us to wanting to spiritually grow in him every day. Jobes made a good statement that Peter wrote this letter “because he believes his readers cared about how they lived (353). Also, it is a good point to understand that every believer must decide how to live. It was a good point mentioned on this blog, “the highest authority in the universe has called us (at salvation) and given to us a task (godliness),” this proves accuracy in how our actions reflect the Word of God and our faith in Christ Jesus about transformation and spiritual growth.

  12. The idea that we have been given everything we need comes into sharp contrast with the teaching that only the deeply spiritual could know the important mysteries and doctrines of God. This reminds me of the message Jesus often taught: blessed are the poor. Jesus praised the gift of the widow (Mark 12) and said that her small gift was more valuable than all the contributions of the rich combined. Jesus told parables about throwing fancy banquets and inviting the outcasts, the homeless, and the people who smelled bad (paraphrasing here). These teachings that Jesus taught, and taught often, go against our human nature. We want to praise those who make huge donations and invite the wealthy to our dinner parties.

    It’s our human nature to want to do and be more spiritual. But what Peter is teaching here is similar to what Jesus taught. We have already been given all we need for salvation and a godly life. We don’t need to try to work to become a better Christian so that we have access to more of God. We don’t need to move up to the next rung of external achievements to become more godly.
    We’ve been given all we need.

    But of course, it’s easier to perform to earn rather than to obey and study scripture and listen to the Holy Spirit.
    And I wonder if some of the appeal is, like in Jesus’ day, deep down we wouldn’t mind if Christianity was an exclusive club for us – for those who earned the most spirituality.

  13. I believe it is true that God has provided what we need to live in a godly life. I had mentioned in my previous blog post that it is not easy to be a Christian when you give your life to Christ. God will provide anything whether you ask for it or not. God will bless his people in their need whether it is something that we do not need but it is good and when we are in a tough situation; He will always be there. The more we do our part by praying, reading our Bible and most of all make the time with God every day, He will promise us something and there will be joy at the end. There are Christians that doubt that God is not going to promise because they are not praying and reading their Bible daily which means we rely on flesh. I had a situation before. There are times when I am struggling with school or with family. I go to my pastor and tell him what is going on and on and he asks me questions if I am reading the Bible and praying daily, if not why? So, I tell him I rarely have time and he tell me to pray and open my Bible daily. My pastor told me that he promised me there will be joy at the end and my pastor was right along. We have faith in God and give Him glory for what he has done for us.

  14. All of us who have genuinely come to Jesus Christ, without exception have everything we need handle life and manifest godliness which means Christlike. As a believer we already have everything we need to be spiritually empowered to serve, please, and imitate God in our life. If we come to Christ, we have all there is to have of him, and we have all he has to give us.

    Godliness means a proper response to the things of God, which produces obedience and righteous living. As Jesus walked this earth, he was embodiment of pure godliness, which led him to lay down his life for unworthy sinners. His life was dedicated to the glory of the Father, and He always did what pleased him. Christians pursue godliness when we follow the example of Jesus in dedicating every decision to the glory of God. When we read in 2 Peter, godliness is not a suggestion; it is a command. Godliness is significant for the Christian’s faith.

    As a Son, Jesus remained completely obedient to His Father in heaven and then offered himself as a perfect sacrifice in our place. Because of Jesus took our place, sinful humans were declared righteous before God and adopted as his children. The new birth is spiritual and results in a change of heart that produces true godliness. God wants us to have assurance of our salvation, and the best way to do that is to be pursuing godly virtues and actively growing in the Christian life. Peter lists godly qualities that believers should add to their faith – goodness, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-7).

  15. I do believe God has given us all we need to live a godly-life. The most practical way he has done this is by giving us his word. Similar to your example given of a prepared student, one might think he only needs his own knowledge, no need of any help or assistance of a 3×5 card, this is not very helpful since we can only do so much on our own and are unable to “lean on our own understanding” (Prov. 3:5-6). The student who goes above and beyond might try to fill out every detail and miniscule idea, developing it to a point that he adds things that are not needed or will not be benificial. This might lead to a legalistic way of living. What a good student would do is seek after the teacher to assist in what he knows we ought to expect on the test. Luckily God has given us this sort of “cheat sheet” through his word. When we are unsure of how we ought to live our lives, we can look to the very words of God as a guide to help us who are in Him. Another practical way is very similar but more specific, in that we look to how Christ lived out his life (of course considering context since Christ was living his life as a faithful Jew), but for practical application how one might live a “godly-life”. Because since that is the goal, wouldn’t the best example of living a “godly-life” be God himself?

  16. This post was really interesting to me, especially the 3×5 card analogy. This is something I was allowed in highschool so I was able to relate to the idea on a more personal level. I think in society today so many are drawn to the idea of “finding their calling.” The way Peter seems to put it our calling is living a Godly life over everything and this is one assigned by God. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the details of life or even the large scale picture. Rather than looking at the simple facts and answers in front of us, we tend to take every detour to get the final answer. By God granting us the knowledge of Him, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and His Son we have all we need to live out the one calling that matters over everything. If we have the means to do it and the calling to do so, why are we still sitting around waiting for “our true calling” to reveal itself. God has already called his people to live a Godly Life.

  17. I like that God did not just give us everything we need to live a godly life, but He also sent us His son as the ultimate example of what a godly life on earth looks like. I love that all throughout Christs life, He was both fully God and fully man, enduring everything we as humans endure. Despite Him also being fully God, Jesus never use his divine power to abstain from sin or temptation. Instead, Jesus is seen fighting temptation and evil with scripture, by surrounding Himself with other people perusing God, and by praying. Christ used all the tools that He has given to us in order to live a godly life, not only showing us the tools we have but also how to use them in out own lives. This is such a blessing and encouragement for us as Christians because we can also be confident in that fact that we can come to Christ with everything in our lives and He will understand because He experienced it as well. This is a way that God shows His love for His people and shows us guidance through life. It is also an encouragement, like you said, that we are promised blessings for the faithful and godly life we live. It is easy to get discouraged in this life and in this world, but Gods blessings are continual motivation for us. That is another reason to make it a goal of ours to honor and praise Him.

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