His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.—2 Peter 1:3-4
John Piper, from a sermon series on 2 Peter from 1982:
…the way of godliness and the hope of eternal life do not lie within our own power to produce or attain. Therefore, Peter says, “God’s divine power has granted us all things that pertain to (or lead to) life and godliness.” This is a humbling sentence. When it comes to life and godliness, we must have everything provided for us from outside. Of course, this does not mean we are passive. As Paul says, “Work out your salvation . . . for God is at work in you” (Philippians 2:13). But it does imply that we could never be godly or attain eternal life if we do not rely on divine power.
We need to pause and stress this. The Christian faith is not merely a set of doctrines to be accepted. It is a power to be experienced. It is a tragic thing to ask people if they know the Lord and have them start listing the things they believe about the Lord. Brothers and sisters, believing things about Jesus Christ will save no one. The devils are the most orthodox believers under heaven. It is divine power that saves. If the power of God does not flow into your life and make you godly, you are not Christ’s. “All who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). The mark of sonship is divine power. And the mark of power is godliness; which means a love for the things of God and a walk in the ways of God.
And Peter says that divine power has been granted to us. Who is “us”? Verse 1: “those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours.” Power is given to those who rely on Christ’s righteousness. But how is this power experienced? How does it become active in our lives? That is the third part of verse 3: “through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” As in verse 2 grace is multiplied in the knowledge of God, so in verse 3 divine power is granted through the knowledge of God. This gives us a good definition of grace. God’s grace is a free power that works in us for our good. And the way it becomes active in our day-to-day life is through our knowledge of God, and one fact about God in particular: that “he called us to his glory and excellence.” But this is not a mere fact about God if you know it as applying to yourself. It is power.
If you are a prisoner of war in a concentration camp, and you have lost hope, and hopeless, have thrown your morality away, and you learn that a prisoner exchange is being planned, and you see the guard coming down the row pointing to individual prisoners and calling them to follow him to freedom and family; it is not a mere piece of knowledge when he points to you and calls you. It is power! The power of hope surges through your body because you know you have been called. So when Peter says that divine power for hope and godliness flows through the knowledge of our call to glory, we can feel what he means. If we could but see the glory and excellence of God and know that our Creator has approached us and said, “You there, come; I’m going to show you my glory and give you an eternal life to enjoy it,” it would mean power! The power of hope and the power of godliness. You know this from experience: when you see the glory and excellence of God most clearly and know he has set his affections on you, then is when you have power to live as you ought.