Exploring The Text: 1 Peter 1:3a

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness… (2 Peter 1:3a)

Peter now moves on from greeting into praise – praise that not only lifts up God but also serves to teach and instruct his readers. He begins by speaking of “his divine power,” which “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

There are two key words in this phrase. The first is granted. God has granted all things pertaining to life and godliness. These are not attainments or things that we earn or achieve. These are not things we could have worked for. They are granted – they are gifts, unmerited blessings given by a generous Giver to those who never should have received them. Peter underlines the theology of grace here. Everything and anything we have that relates to our life in Christ and our resemblance to him is a gift from God.

Here, then, is an implicit support for the doctrines of grace, and specifically for unconditional election and irresistible grace. After all, does not our election by the Father “pertain to” our “life and godliness”? Does not our own being “born again,” our regeneration, so “pertain to life and godliness”? Do not our own faith and repentance toward Christ “pertain to life and godliness”? And surely our own growth in sanctification also relates to our life in Christ and our holiness. So all of these things are in their fundamental nature gifts of God. Some of these (not all, for sure, but some) are indeed exercised by us, but they were given to us to exercise. So everything we are as Christians is grace. Everything we have in our lives is a gift of God, granted by his divine power.

That leads to our second key word: all things, which in the Greek is one word (panta). In this context Peter means to leave out nothing at all that pertains to life and godliness. It’s all a gift, he’s saying. We don’t contribute some, and God gives the rest, toward our life and holiness in Christ; after all, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)  So even though we have a duty to cooperate with God through obedience, though we have obligations we must fulfill, though we are held responsible for our actions, everything we do to grow in our life and godliness is ultimately credited to the work of God in our lives. God gets the glory for all of it.

So in everything, and for everything, give the glory to God. Take a moment and consider all that God has done for you – your salvation, your very life, your relationship with Christ, your privilege of approaching the throne of God in prayer, your seal of the Holy Spirit and your share in His ministry of empowerment, encouragement, and intercession, and finally your share of the inheritance that awaits you in heavenly places, your guarantee of eternal life in the glorious presence of God. All this God has given you. Think on that. And lift up your heart and your soul and your mind and your strength in thanksgiving and praise to our Father.

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