Exploring the Text: 2 Peter 1:1b

2 Peter 1:1b: To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ…

Peter here addresses fellow believers. They have obtained a faith of equal standing with him and his associates. The stress on equality and the point of comparison (himself as an apostle, and perhaps other apostles or leaders) is a useful reminder that whatever our roles in the church, we are all one in Christ. Authority does not grant one greater worth; submission and subjection does not rob one of value.

He also underlines the fact that regeneration, “being born again,” is something God does alone with his words “obtained a faith… by the righteousness of our God.” Our faith as Christians was obtained by Christ’s righteous obedience during his earthly life and death on the Cross. Natural man possesses no ability in and of himself to exercise faith in God; this faith must be given him (as Philippians 1:29 also teaches). This robs man of the ability to boast in his own salvation. It is not his own righteousness that caused him to believe; it was God’s. He cannot attribute his own faith, the very act of his own believing, to his own initiative.

Peter also highlights the critical truth that our Master is our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Some would like to evade the force of this and say Peter is talking of God and Jesus separately, but that will not do. This is what is known in Greek as a Granville Sharp construction – two nouns (God and Savior) sharing the same definite article (the) and joined by a conjunction (and) always refer to the same object and not to separate ones. Peter is claiming Jesus Christ is God here, and what a teaching that is! For it is God’s righteousness that gives us faith. It is a supernatural righteousness. This means it is perfect, for how can God sin? It means it is sufficient, for what could be added to God’s own righteousness? Man’s filthy “righteousness”?

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