While I am a pastor who preaches every week and often multiple times per week, one of the great privileges of my life is to also sit under the expository preaching ministry of our Senior Pastor, Dr. Jimmy Jackson. During his message yesterday morning, he preached from these verses…
“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. 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.” (2 Peter 1:3–4, HCSB)
As he preached, he pointed out verbs in these verses that are in the perfect tense. “Has given” in each verse is the translation of one Greek verb. The perfect tense has no exact equivalent in English. The perfect tense expresses something that happened or was done in the past, but is still in effect right now. One Greek grammar that I have in my library says the perfect tense has as much to do with the present as it does with the past because it describes a present result of a past action. Keep that fact in mind.
These verses are expressly for believers. They were originally written to Christians who were facing an increasingly hostile culture and who were suffering for their faith even to the point of death. To those Christians the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to remind them of two great things God had given them: everything required for life and godliness (v. 3) and the promises of God (v. 4). Let’s ponder those for a moment.
I believe that many Christians live their lives everyday as if God has not given them these two things. They are overlooked in way too many Christian lives. Do you need wisdom to make a decision? Do you need power to overcome a particular temptation? Do you need the strength to do the right thing even though you feel like doing the opposite? Do you need encouragement? V. 3 says that God has given you every single thing you will ever need to live for Him. Remember, this is the perfect tense – meaning God gave it to you in the past (the moment you became a believer) and it is still available to you right now. Think about that.
In addition, v. 4 tells us that God has given us “very great and precious promises” so that we might become more and more like Christ. Again, this is the perfect tense. God gave them to us at a point in time in the past, but they are still in effect right now. We can stand on the promises of God at all points along the way because they have once and for all been given to us.
In his message, Dr. Jimmy Jackson emphasized that the perfect tense eliminates the possibly that what God has given could run out or be rescinded. We absolutely have available to us every thing we need for life and godliness. It will never run out, burn out, or expire. We may be living in our own strength and without prayer, but this divine power to live is available to us all the time. It’s the same with God’s promises. He has given them and they are there, no matter if we are availing ourselves of them or not.
I’m personally convinced that many Christians overlook these powerful truths. They either do not know or they live as if they do not know that the Lord has provided everything they need to live for Him. They live in defeat overlooking the fact that the promises of God are there to claim 24/7. As you begin this work week, don’t be a Christian who overlooks them, but rather be a Christian who lives in the power of them!