By J. C. Rooney
When “Simeon Peter: a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1a), wrote his second epistle, he opened it by addressing his audience as…
2 Peter 1:1b (HCSB)
“…to those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
It is important to recognize what Peter said his audience now possessed… that “through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ,” they had, “…obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours.” In other words, the members of the New Covenant (or what I would call “A Covenant of Supply”) were now furnished with what they had never been supplied with before.
What were they supplied with?
A “faith of equal privilege with ours.”
Such was something that Peter’s audience now enjoyed. It meant that now what belonged to them were the same benefits or entitlements that the apostles had possession of. Being reminded of this by Peter was meant to encourage them… and it should encourage us as well.
Because, this supply was not just for Peter’s direct audience… it is for all followers of Christ.
In his first epistle, Peter wrote about an incredible requirement for believers…
1 Peter 1:13-16 (HCSB)
…with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Christians are Christians because they recognize that they were once not “holy.” In other words, they saw who they were (without Christ and His Spirit) in comparison to a righteous God. Jesus refers to this concept as being “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) in the “Sermon on the Mount.” All followers of Christ came to terms with this before God, through repentance… along with placing their trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. When repentance and faith happen, that’s when a person becomes a New Covenant member, going from being categorically unrighteous to righteous (Romans 5:19), fully supplied for doing that which God has created them to accomplish…
Ephesians 2:10 (HCSB)
For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
The Means to be Holy
Unfortunately, many brethren do not realize that being a member of the New Covenant means that they are members of “A Covenant of Supply,” that they have been given the wherewithal to be holy (as Peter had challenged in his first epistle). In that first epistle, he was not suggesting that holiness was expected to be demonstrated by them on their own, without God’s provisional hand working in them. No, that would be impossible. It’s why Peter goes on in his second epistle, pointing out that what is required of his New Covenant audience is directly given to them by God…
2 Peter 1:2-3 (HCSB)
May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
Due to the “…knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,” God’s “divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness.” Another way to say it is…
“We have been supplied with everything we need to be holy.”
Peter is giving his recipients (and us) the confidence to know that being holy is not something that is achieved in their own power. However, it is something that they already have, because of the supply which God has graciously provided for them (us).
Such provision, though, makes the Christian more culpable. Peter lays this out in the next verses, but then returns to the original point about what they now have, and that the lack of demonstrating a supplied life means said person has forgotten that they are no longer who they once were…
2 Peter 1:4-9 (HCSB)
By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
Other New Testament Writers
Another apostle, Paul, in a similar fashion, rhetorically challenged in his letter to the Romans (in anticipation of the reader’s thoughts regarding what he was proclaiming), that they ought to not continue in sin just because they will not face condemnation. In other words, they did not now have a license to ignore virtue, simply because they were the recipients of grace with respect to the future judgement of their falling short of God’s holiness…
Romans 6:1-2 (HCSB)
What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Back to Peter
Peter was touching on this same point. It is why he encouraged those he was writing to, to “…make every effort to supplement your faith…” Supplementing faith with the things that he described, “goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love,” is what holy people do. Peter then goes on, repeating the notion more concisely…
2 Peter 1:10-11(HCSB)
Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.
…Once again, there’s that theme of supply.
Supply in the New Testament
The matter of supply is all over the New Testament. For example:
We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). We are merciful, because He is merciful to us (Matthew 5:7). We give, because He gave to us (Romans 12:3-21, 2 Timothy 1:7).
The disciples had witnessed this first hand. Jesus illustrated what the Lord’s supply looks like when He had provided for the hungry crowds, when the disciples were not yet prepared to do it themselves…
Luke 9:12-17 (HCSB)
Late in the day, the Twelve approached and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find food and lodging, because we are in a deserted place here.”
“You give them something to eat,” He told them.
“We have no more than five loaves and two fish,” they said, “unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (For about 5,000 men were there.)
Then He told His disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each.” They did so, and had them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them. He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces.
What is interesting is that Jesus gave through the disciples, and not in spite of them. That’s how it works in the New Covenant…
“A Covenant of Supply”
Are you a member?
Godspeed, to the brethren!
(More from JC Rooney can be found at theidolbabbler.com)