Sat, 11 July 2009
Peter proclaims that he is a servant of Christ like the rest of us and makes a very explicit statement that Jesus is the God and Savior which is not as common in the Gospels as more oblique references. He then turns to his theme for this letter, which is that knowledge of God is not enough; we must also act on it. No addressee is named, and the traditional thanksgiving prayer is omitted from this letter. This may mean that this was written for multiple audiences toward the end of Peter's life as the persecution was being stepped up.
Peter then notes that divine power has assigned to them all things related to eternal life and godliness and by this we may escape our passions and partake in the divine nature, a form of apotheosis. Peter then sets up a series of supports for faith that build upon each other: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
This is a map for spiritual progress and we must keep moving forward on it, or risk our faith mutating into something else and the way Peter discusses this indicates that this was a well-known formula in first century Christianity.
Peter then recounts the events of Christ's baptism and transfiguration to show that they have been eyewitnesses to His majesty as evidence that these stories are not myths but rather a message like a bright light shining in a dark place.
No prophecy of Scripture, Peter then compels us to understand, came from human will, but rather from the Holy Spirit.
Peter ends with a discussion of the coming of Christ, which is more characteristic of the early Church than the modern Church. This more pilgrim Church should serve as the sort of bright light that Peter mentions in the first chapter, and we would do well to follow this example in the modern Church.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com