An epistle is a letter.
2Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
This second epistle of Peter is substantially different from the first in that it deals with warnings and some complicated theological issues. There is also no stated secretary or amanuensis so Peter may have written it himself or the secretary just chose not to put his name on it. Perhaps it as still Silvanus or Peter’s protégé, Marcus.
1 ¶ 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: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 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: 4 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.
Starting with the last word of this passage, lust is to covet something that you do not have or that is not yours to possess.
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
One of the greatest trials we face is not being satisfied with what we have and desiring something that we do not have. This comes from the focus of our satisfaction being on things and people rather than on Jesus Christ. We lust because we are ignorant or we are evil, neither thing being welcome.
We live in a culture, a world system, that values coveting above all other things. You should want more material possessions, more education, more money, a bigger home, a newer car, a better computer or cellphone, and you should want to be taller, more muscular, prettier, smarter, or more popular than you are. This is dictated to us in movies, TV, books, magazines, and the internet. We spend much of our lives chasing money to have more things and are never satisfied, as we are taught to not be. But, God’s way is not so.
Matthew 6:19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 ¶ Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
1Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
You may have read those things but you didn’t believe them. You weren’t thinking about them as you stood in line waiting to get into your favorite store on Black Friday. You weren’t thinking about them when you shopped for your last truck, your last home, or were teaching your children to covet and lust after material possessions at their last birthday party or Christmas.
The purpose of selling a product, whether it be a Christian college or a car, with an attractive young woman in the picture of the advertisement is to create covetousness. The purpose of a romance novel or pornography is to make you spend money because you want something you don’t have; which in reality is in the first case a fictional character rather than your husband or in the second a disease-ridden young woman who may have trashed her life but looks good when her picture is airbrushed. You are being taught, by advertising and media and entertainment, to want something you don’t have.
Look at any professional athlete who has cheated on his beautiful wife or girlfriend and understand that the new thing doesn’t have to be better than the old thing, it just must be different.
Coveting, lusting, is about wanting something you don’t have no matter how good what you do have is. It is the primary attitude a consumer society demands created by Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Ed Bernays, as the father of modern advertising or propaganda, as he called it, and detailed in the BBC documentary, The Century of Self. Face it, modern Christian, you’ve been had. You are mark, a sucker, a prime con candidate. You prove this every time you look longingly at a celebrity or even a television program on improving your house and garden. You just want more and you insist on teaching your children that wanting what you don’t have is the greatest thing.
Peter is speaking to his fellow believers who have received faith through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who is God. We don’t all receive the same measure of faith as Romans 12:3 indicates, but when we believe we are given faith.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Through the knowledge of Christ we can receive grace and peace and display glory and virtue. Through the knowledge of Christ we can obey God’s will. Through the knowledge of Christ we can have all things pertaining to life and godliness. The knowledge of Christ comes through Him speaking to us through His word which Peter will mention later. I didn’t capitalize word because Word capitalized refers to Christ.
Believing and trusting in the promises that Christ has given us, the promise of lifelong communion with Him and the promise of eternal life, among others, can keep us from the corruption inherent in this world system through lust, desiring things we do not have or possibly should not have.
We are promised an escape from temptations we face.
1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
We are promised comfort in all of our trials and tribulations.
2Corinthians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
We are promised joy in this life.
John 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
We are promised eternal life with our Creator.
Revelation 21:1 ¶ And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.There are many other promises but you won’t know about them unless you read God’s words.