Our Precious Faith

2 Peter 1:1

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Our Precious Faith

                Have you ever won the lottery? Have you ever won a prize of any sort? Have you ever received something of value that was precious like a family heirloom or something along those lines that you were not expecting? Have you undeservingly received anything of significant value without reason? This week’s SALT devotional focuses on the term, “to those who have received” from 2 Peter 1:1 to help our hearts grow fonder of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

                Casting lots was a method used by the Jews of the Old Testament and by the Christian disciples prior to Pentecost to determine the will of God. Lots could be sticks with markings, stones with symbols, etc., that were thrown into a small area and then the result was interpreted. Casting lots is like rolling the dye or playing cards. Lots were casted in the Old Testament to determine the offices of the priests as found in 1 Chronicles 25:8–9. Joshua used lots to determine the division of land in Numbers 26:55. Casting lots was also referenced to Zacharias who is John the Baptists father in regards to his position of burning incense in Luke 1:9. Casting lots was performed by the soldiers for the tunic of Jesus which was predicted in Psalms 22:18. The 11 casted lots to see who was going to replace Judas in Acts 1:17.

                How does casting lots refer to, “to those who have received?” A lot of times our English words do not translate Greek words very well so we have to come up with phrases. Lagchano is one of those words. It is pronounced lang-khan-o. The word means, to obtain by lot or to receive by divine allotment. We have used this term in our own vocabulary when we say, “it was his lot in life to be a father.” In other words, “he was given the responsibility of being a father.” This is also where the word “lottery” comes from. Peter adopts this term to describe our precious faith in Jesus.

                A new believer once described his experience as this. “I wake up in the morning and my first thoughts are about Jesus. I feel so lucky!” That is what Peter is trying to describe. He finishes the first verse with, “a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Peter is describing the same thing that Paul does in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Faith in the true, biblical, Jesus Christ is a gift. Trusting in Him, believing in Him, adoring Him and receiving Him as God and Savior is 100% a gift from God. Both Peter and Paul make this very clear and we should “feel lucky” in the truest sense when we believe in Christ.

                “Of the same kind” is also a translation of one Greek word. Isotimos, which is pronounced ē-so’-tē-mos, which means equally precious. Peter in this greeting is showing an immense amount of humility by saying that he first and foremost is a slave (bondservant) of Jesus Christ, whose role just happens to be an apostle, who was given the ability to believe in the precious Jesus Christ just like you. He is saying it wasn’t his will but it was the will of God. He does not regard himself as special because of his role but he quickly describes his and our belief in Jesus Christ as precious. To believe in Jesus Christ is like winning the biggest lottery ever without any intention of playing as He is the most valuable person in all of the universe and beyond.

                To have one right thought about Jesus is precious. One single correct thought about Jesus is more valuable than all of the thoughts you ever thought in your lifetime because He is infinitely valuable. Believing in Jesus is more valuable than any action you have ever performed. If you couple this truth with the understanding we are naturally sinners deserving His wrath, the preciousness of what God has done for us becomes more intense. If you are beginning to sense the wonder of what Peter is describing in his greeting then you are on the right track.

                On a human level knowing Jesus should feel like we won the ultimate divine lottery. On God’s level it is a decisive act for His glory and our good. May your hearts be encouraged by this as you, precious believer, are chosen by the precious God to believe in Him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Out of all the billions of people who have ever lived, you get to be one of the Creators children. You get to be loved by the One who is infinitely precious and more valuable than we can imagine. Please rest in this fact with great thanks, enjoying your gift of precious faith in our God and Savior Jesus Christ!