“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1)
2 Peter 2:1 forms ½ of Peter’s greeting to the believers in Christ to whom he is writing. The remaining portion of his salutation is found in 1:2.
Peter immediately identifies himself as the author of the epistle which bears his name. Immediately we notice the spelling of the name Simeon. The Greek text here reads “Simeon” (NRSV) rather than “Simon” Peter. This spelling of the name is less common but closer to the original Semitic form of the name than “Simon.” See Acts 15:14.
How does Peter introduce himself? He identifies himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. The word servant (δοῦλος; doulos) means slave. Peter was subservient to and controlled by another. He also called himself an apostle (ἀπόστολος; apostolos) which means a special messenger. Both designations have their source and sole ownership in Jesus Christ. Peter is a slave and an apostle exclusively and solely belonging to Jesus Christ.
Peter not only identifies himself but also the recipients of his letter. He calls these believers in Jesus Christ “those who have obtained a faith of equal standing.” The word faith (πίστις; pistis) means to trust in, depend upon, commit to and worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The word obtained (λαγχάνω; lanchano) means to receive by divine will and favor. Peter is saying, much like the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9, that the faith to believe in Christ is also a free gift of divine grace from God. The believer cannot even boast of his faith since it too is a divine gift.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Obtained is an uncommon word often referring to obtaining something by lot (cf. Acts 1:17). It can mean attaining by divine will.” Here, Peter was emphasizing that salvation was not attained by personal effort, skill, or worthiness, but came purely from God’s grace. Peter is speaking of a subjective faith, i.e., the Christian’s power to believe for his salvation. Faith is the capacity to believe (Eph. 2:8–9). Even though faith and belief express the human side of salvation, God still must grant that faith. God initiates faith when the Holy Spirit awakens the dead soul in response to hearing the word of God (cf. Acts 11:21; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:2).”
The believer’s faith is the same as the apostle’s faith. There is no difference or distinction. The object of faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ. It results in the believer receiving the imputed righteousness (δικαιοσύνη; dikaiosyne) of Christ as the basis not only of their justification but also their redemption and reconciliation. The believer’s atonement is centered in the righteousness which belongs solely in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
Dr. MacArthur further adds that, “So, not only do they (believers in Christ) have faith because God gives it to them, they are saved only because God imputes righteousness to them.” See Rom. 3:21-26; 4:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:1–9).
By calling Jesus both God and Savior, Peter was declaring the divinity of Christ. He affirmed that Jesus Christ is God.
Have you arrived to the realization that your entire salvation is a gift of God’s sovereign grace and grace alone? If so, then take time today to reflect on this marvelous and magnificent truth. If you have not come to this realization, then I hope you will and have through this brief examination of 2 Peter 1:1.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!