Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Divine promises are an area of great controversy in modern churches today. A great number of preachers across America are trading their theology out for a new set of teachings that minimize the call to personal holiness and virtue, and over-emphasize the Divine promises (promises of God) that deal especially with health, fortune, and overall success. The “gospel” (good news) that they preach is not the gospel that Jesus desires that ministers and pastors should faithfully proclaim. Rather, these “Prosperity Gospel” teachers purport that the greatest news of the Bible isn’t that Jesus saves us from our sins, but that Jesus saves us from our problems. When we read today’s text, Peter mentions “exceeding great and precious promises of God,” but in context, those great and precious promises of God aren’t the ones that deal with health and prosperity, they are promises that deal with escaping the corruption of this world that is brought about through the lusts and sinful desires of greedy and vile people. Furthermore, in the beginning of the passage, Peter plays out what the true gospel is. He doesn’t present a set of promises about getting wealthy using a secret formula of prayers and attitudes, but rather he shows that “grace and peace” have been multiplied through God’s Divine power to declare us righteous because of the work of Jesus. The God who saves has given us power now to live in a way that helps us draw closer to him in godliness and holiness. The measure of our blessing from God is not the size of our bank account, but the amount of grace and peace that He gives us. In true understanding of the blessings of God, it is not good enough to say that the people of God don’t have health or money problems. Instead, we should say that the people of God that truly live in the blessing of God have grace and peace from God, even in the midst of financial or physical problems. The gauge of the gospel is not determined by the needle of the temporal, but by the scale of the eternal.
Food For Thought: What are the promises that Peter says we should be excited about? What is wrong with “prosperity gospel” promises?