“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, ESV)
Throughout history, there have been divisions between people due to race, color, gender, socio-economic status, etc. These are things that people have imposed upon others. In the United States Declaration of Independence, we see this phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The founders certainly understood that God created man in His image and thus, He created all men equal. Unfortunately, penning these thoughts in the Declaration of Independence and reading the truths of Scripture alone has not eliminated the divide.
The problem with division between people, that is prejudices, is one that lingers throughout the world in the hearts of people. Why is it there? It is because of the sinful nature that man inherited from Adam’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. As man’s nature was corrupted by sin, man became a sinner by nature. Moreover, because man is a sinner by nature, he thus sins. Sin is at the root of prejudices in our world.
Religious systems are not immune to this prejudicial division either. The religious systems of this world often establish a hierarchy of participants. Some establish the haves and have nots. Corruption can enter religious institutions just as it can in society, business, and any other association of people, which can lead to preferential treatment for certain people, that is prejudice.
The Christian faith is not established as a prejudicial system. It is quite the contrary. Christ’s work on the cross paved the way to remove walls of division. He defeated the power of sin and its dominion for any who would believe in Him and receive eternal life. Thus, the true church of those genuinely born of the Spirit have the capacity to live above the problem of prejudice, especially within the church.
Peter, in the beginning of this letter, introduces himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. All would consider Peter, one of the original disciples of Jesus, the one who preached that first sermon on the Day of Pentecost, to be a high official in the church. However, he continued his introduction by stating, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Here we note a few interesting points in the translation. First, the verb “obtained,” lagchano, means obtained by lot (Strong G2975). The implication of this is that it is not something a person entered into by his own good works or intellect. A person only obtains this faith by the grace of God.
Second, the phrase “equal standing” translates from the word, iesotimos, which is from two words, isos, meaning equal and time, meaning honor and value (Strong G2472). All true believers have obtained a faith of equal value and honor, including men like Peter and all other noted leaders of the church.
Because of the word of Christ, all believers are of equal standing. There is no more division between people because of social status, race, gender or color. Therefore, the church must stand out as a beacon of unity in a world divided. We have the solution to division. The problem of division is sin. Jesus defeated this problem and opened the door for unity. We as believers must be sure that we are walking in this truth and should offer this solution to those seeking an end to division in our world.