Introduction: “Be Who You Are” sounds like a slogan written on a
public wall, or a cliche repeated by someone with more beauty than
brains. How can you help but be “who you are?” If I asked you, “Who
are you?” what would you respond? If you answered, “I’m a Christian,”
that is the subject about which Peter is writing to us in our study
this week. Peter gives us instructions on how to be what we claim to
be – a Christian. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn

  1. Gift of Righteousness

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:1. How do we receive faith? (By the
      “righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”)

      1. Is that something that we did? (No! It is Jesus’
        righteousness. We “received” it.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 1:2. How do we achieve abundant peace in our
      lives? (By knowing Jesus.)

      1. How much time do you spend learning more about Jesus?
        (If you do not enjoy a great amount of peace
        (abundant peace) in your life, you should consider
        spending more time learning about Jesus.)

  2. Gift of Life

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:3. Have you read the owner’s manual for
      your car? Let’s assume that someone gave you a car. Would
      you be able to enjoy the full use of your car if you had
      not read the owner’s manual? (My car has no door handles
      on the inside or the outside. I was reminded that a man
      who owns a car like mine died in it (along with his dog)
      because it was hot outside, the battery which operates the
      doors discharged, and he could not figure out how to get
      out of the car. The owner’s manual explains how to get
      out if the battery dies.)

      1. Were we given “everything we need for life and
        godliness?” (Yes! Peter tells us that by God’s power
        we were “given” what we need to live and to live a
        holy life.)

        1. Does it require us to read the owner’s manual?
          (Yes! Notice that verse 3 says we were given
          “life and godliness through our knowledge of
          Him who called us.”)

      2. What else would you need if you were given
        “everything [you] need” for living life – a life
        pleasing to God?

      3. Notice that the end of verse 3 refers to Jesus
        calling “us by His own glory and goodness.” What does
        this suggest about our reading? (As we better
        understand Jesus’ “glory and goodness,” we better
        understand what Jesus has in mind for our lives.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 1:4. Consider carefully what Peter means by
      “through these He has given us?” These what? What are
      these things by which God gave us “great and precious
      promises?”(Something that Peter has previously mentioned
      is the means by which we are given “very great and
      precious promises.” I’m not sure which of the gifts are
      “these,” but likely Peter refers to all of the gifts:
      faith, grace, peace, knowledge, divine power, life,
      godliness, glory and goodness.)

      1. What is the purpose of these gifts? (To “participate
        in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the
        world caused by evil desires.”)

      2. How would you evaluate your desires? Are they evil
        or have you escaped from evil desires?

  3. Life Effort

    1. So far we have been discussing gifts. Peter now moves the
      discussion to something we need to do. Read 2 Peter 1:5
      and compare 2 Peter 1:1. Peter starts out saying that we
      receive faith “through the righteousness of … Jesus.”
      How would you go about adding goodness to the gift of

      1. Is that something you can work on? Or, is that an

        1. Can you work on an attitude? (How many of you
          had parents who told you, “Be good?” Clearly,
          they thought this was something that was in
          your control.)

    2. Re-read the last part 2 Peter 1:5. Can you add knowledge?
      Is that within your power? (On this, there is no question.
      If you want to learn about something, you read, you go to
      school, you discuss it.)

      1. What is the extent of the knowledge of the Bible
        among the general public? (There is a very serious
        problem in the United States. The Bible teaches
        change through love. It teaches change through
        persuasion. This religious belief is reflected in our
        Constitution, and particularly in the First Amendment
        to the U.S. Constitution. There is a new generation
        which does not understand either freedom of speech or
        freedom of religion. It believes it is right to use
        force and intimidation to suppress disagreeable
        speech and religious belief.)

      2. What is the solution to this problem? (Peter has it
        right – we need to promote knowledge of God.)

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:6. Why does Peter say to add “self-control”
      after we have gained knowledge? (If you intellectually
      understand the reasons behind the proper approach, it is
      much easier to be self-controlled. It is the difference
      between “Do it because I tell you to,” and “do it because
      you know it will help you.”)

    4. Re-read 2 Peter 1:6. Perseverance follows self-control. Is
      it something different? (It adds a time factor. Don’t be
      self-controlled for one minute or hour or day. Self-control is a long-term project.)

      1. Why does “godliness” follow a long-term commitment to
        self-control? (Godliness then becomes the habit of
        your life!)

    5. Let’s step back a minute. Is being a Christian easy?
      (Peter started out telling us that faith is a gift. The
      tools to growing in our faith are a gift. We use these
      tools to start on the journey to holiness. That requires
      intention and effort.)

    6. Read 2 Peter 1:7. If you have ever been discouraged by
      your failures as a Christian, this is one of the most
      encouraging verses in the Bible. Notice that “kindness” is
      something that you build upon the foundation of
      “godliness.” How can that be? (I know people who are very
      careful about how they live. But, kindness is in its
      infancy in their life. If you find it hard to be kind,
      this text is great news. Kindness is the next step beyond

    7. Re-read 2 Peter 1:7. What is the last, and greatest virtue
      in your road to holiness? (Love. If you are discouraged by
      your lack of love, then you should understand that “love”
      is the summa cum laude, the Black belt, the Eagle Scout,
      the Master Guide (the highest level of achievement) of the
      Christian life!)

      1. What does that tell you about people who say, “All
        you need to do is love.” “How about just starting out
        with love?” (They are clueless. The love they talk
        about has no meaning. Love is the apex of the
        Christian’s journey towards holiness. It is not the
        first step.)

    8. Read 2 Peter 1:8-9. Why should we care about whether we
      are on the road to holiness? (We are in the middle of a
      conflict between good and evil. As we take on these
      characteristics, we become effective in advancing the
      Kingdom of God. If we do not, we are ineffective. We’ve
      forgotten what Jesus did for us.)

  4. Election

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:10-11. Is Peter telling us that we must be
      on the road to holiness in order to be saved, to “make our
      election” as Christians “sure?” (I believe in free will
      when it comes to salvation. We discussed this in past
      lessons in this series on Peter’s epistles. That means we
      can choose not to be saved. But, I don’t think that is
      what Peter means here, as we will discuss next.)

    2. Read Romans 9:10-16. We see the term “election” here
      together with an explanation of how election operates.
      What does “election” mean here? How does it take place?
      (These verses clearly say that election does not turn on
      our works. If you read the entire chapter (Romans 9) it is
      an argument for righteousness by faith. What it describes
      are special people who God chooses to be His special
      witnesses. God has chosen you to advance His Kingdom. Stay
      on the road to holiness so you will be the most effective

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:12-15. Do we have all the time in the world
      to accomplish God’s goals? (No. At some time we will
      depart this life. Our job is to make our work as permanent
      as possible.)

    4. Friend, are you living up to your calling and your
      election? If not, why not right now ask God to forgive you
      and ask the Holy Spirit to make you an effective witness
      for God?

  5. Next week: Prophecy and Scripture.