|(photo by Paul Cleveland)
I was reading 2 Peter the other day and the opening greeting jumped out at me. Peter writes
“to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours” (2 Pet. 1:1)
He’s talking about ordinary Christians like you and me—which makes this an astonishing statement. Really Peter? We have obtained a faith of equal standing as the apostles? Is this hyperbole, or are you being serious? We actually have a faith that is on par with the apostles?
I don’t know about you, but when I read about the faith of the apostles, I do not compare. These guys wrote the Bible. These guys built the church. These guys preached and thousands were saved in a single day. Peter actually raised a woman to life from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). How can he possibly say we have a faith of equal standing as him?
Reading the rest of the text helps. Yes, we have obtained a faith of equal standing as the apostles. But how? “By the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Note what Peter is not saying. Peter is not saying that the subjective quantity of our faith is equal with the apostles. No. There are certainly varying levels of faith among God’s people. All have faith, but some have stronger faith. This is why we cry out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” No, Peter isn’t making this point. He’s not talking about the subjective quantity of our faith.
So what is he talking about? He’s talking about the objective quality of our faith. We have obtained a faith of equal standing with the apostles, not because our subjective faith is as great as theirs, but because the object of our faith is a great Savior. We are on a level playing field with the apostles because we wear exactly what they wear: The cloak of the righteousness of Jesus. We wear the same uniforms.
If the subjective quantity of our faith determined our standing before God, then we would ride the bench, and all the Hebrews 11 folks would be out on the field. But as it is, we are all of equal standing. When God looks at you and me and Peter and Paul, he sees us as equal in standing. Why? Because we all place our hope and trust, not in our ourselves, but in the Lord Jesus.
Think about this Christian. Do you ever feel as if your faith is weak? Do you ever doubt God’s favor towards you, that He shouldn’t be gracious to you as He is to others because your faith isn’t as strong? Do you ever feel like you’re just not cut from the same mold as other Christians whose faith you admire? These are thoughts the Deceiver loves to plant in our minds. Satan wants very much for you to believe you’re of lower standing than others. But take heart! You have obtained a faith of equal standing as the apostles themselves! How? By the righteousness of Christ. His righteousness is yours by faith. It is perfect righteousness. It is the best kind of righteousness there is. And it’s now yours. And therefore God our Father never looks at you as anything less than His righteous, precious, beloved child. In fact, you couldn’t possibly have a higher standing! What can surpass the righteousness of Christ? Is there anything better? No way! It is supremely satisfying to God. And you have it. It’s yours by faith.
Will there be days when the subjective quantity of your faith is weak? Certainly. But a weak faith is still a faith. A little child may not be strong, but if his trust is in his father who is strong, then he will be safe. What matters ultimately is not the subjective strength of your faith but the objective strength of your Lord. No matter how weak you feel your faith may be, the Christ of your faith is so great and so glorious that nothing can change your standing in Him.
Charles Spurgeon once said,
“I have a great need for Christ and a great Christ for my need.”
So it is with us. We have a great Christ for our need. His righteousness is ours by faith. And therefore we have a faith of equal standing as the apostles. This is great news.
And, lest I give the impression that the subjective quantity of our faith doesn’t matter at all, may I point out the next verse: “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” What an interesting concept: The multiplication of God’s grace towards us! Sounds great. How do we get it? In the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord—which happens, of course, through studying the Scriptures. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us more like the Son of God.
So this is my prayer for you: I pray that God would use this knowledge of having a faith of equal standing as the apostles by the righteousness of Christ to multiply His grace and peace towards you, and I pray that this multiplied grace in your life would strengthen your faith. May the Lord be gracious!
Read more by Matthew DelValle
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