If at a party, someone approached you and said, “Tell me about yourself,” what would you tell them? At our service this week, I asked folks to quickly write that down: their successes on one side of a piece of paper and then what they wouldn’t want to share, their failures, on the other side. This piece of paper, this record, we made our offering this week in our worship service. It turns out that we are the offering, the sacrifice, that our Lord desires.

Then we began preaching through 2 Peter. Some have argued that 2 Peter isn’t written by the same person that wrote 1 Peter. They say this for a variety of reasons, one of them being that 2 Peter is scary. I think that both letters were written by Peter, and the reason folks struggle with 2 Peter is that they don’t believe that paradigm shift that we found in 1 Peter. There are many ways to say it: You are not the Creator but the created; you are not salvation but saved; reality is not what you know but Who it Is that knows you.

2 Peter 1:1-3, “Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ… May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things… in the knowledge of him….”

I hope you can see that Peter thinks that this “knowledge” is important.
But whose knowledge is Peter talking about? And is knowledge good or evil?

In the verses above, the preposition “of” doesn’t appear in the text, but the translator has rightfully inserted it in order to represent the fact that the words, “God,” “Jesus,” and “him” are all in the genitive case in the original Greek. That “genitive” can be what’s called an “objective genitive,” which would mean that the knowledge is our knowledge “of” God as an object or a “subjective genitive,” meaning that God is the subject that does the knowing. So, Peter could be talking about knowing or being known or both.

That may seem like an unimportant distinction until you realize that it could be the distinction between “hell” and heaven, for in the middle of the garden was “the Tree of Life,” and in the middle of the garden was the “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” “The day you eat of it, dying you will die,” said God.

“God alone is good,” said Jesus. So if God, “The Good,” was incarnate and hanging on a tree in a garden like fruit, wouldn’t it look like Christ crucified and hanging on the cross in the garden of Calvary?

“I am the Life,” said Jesus. So, if Jesus, “The Life,” was incarnate and hanging on a tree in a garden like fruit, wouldn’t it look like Christ crucified and hanging on the cross… or perhaps His body broken and blood shed, given to you the night before — fore-given to you before you even had a chance to take it?

In Scripture, there are two ways of knowing:
1. You can take knowledge, like fruit from a tree. It’s great for knowing objects that you can analyze and then use in service of yourself. Some people think that this is the only kind of knowledge that there is. And so for these people, everything they know is dead by definition. And they are utterly alone; they are alone — a lone subject in a universe of nothing but objects. Which to me, sounds like hell. Or…
2. You can know because you are known by a subject, that is, a person. This is the only way that little children can know anything; they must trust another person who may then teach them about themselves and all things. Jesus said that we must become like little children to enter. There are some who in many ways always remain children. We call them disabled.” Maybe they are, and maybe they are not.

1. There is one way of knowing that leads to death.
2. There is another way of knowing (to know because you are known) that leads to life . . . and even babies.

If we took the Life from the tree, everything would die, and we would have gained objective knowledge of the crucified Christ, knowledge of evil. But if He rose from the dead, and we surrendered to Him as the Life, we would know about evil, but we’d be known by the Good. And perhaps, even bear the fruit of His Spirit: Love, joy, peace….

Once, just like a little child, Jesus fell asleep on a boat in the middle of a raging storm. Then, He calmed the storm. He said that He only did what He saw His father doing. In a garden — the Garden of Gethsemane — He asked His Father to calm another storm but prayed, “Nevertheless not my will but thy will be done.” And in this way, He calmed every storm.

Peter goes on to tell us that God has given to us His promises, that through them, we would become communicants in the divine nature. He makes a list that begins with faith like an imperishable seed and ends with love. And God is Love.

Bride of Christ, it’s not your knowledge about the bridegroom that makes you fruitful but knowing because you’ve allowed yourself to be known.
Children of God, it’s not your lack of knowledge about your Father that makes you unrighteous but forgetting that you are entirely known and thoroughly loved.

2 Peter 1:9, “Whoever lacks these (faith, goodness, love, manifestations of the Divine Nature) has forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” WOW! This obviously means that every sinner has been forgiven and that everyone who does sin is simply unaware of the incredible news of Divine Forgiveness — I think this news is called the Gospel; it’s not a threat but a Promise.

And so, in our service, we nailed “our certificates of debt” to the tree. (Sin is what you think of as your failures, and sin is what you do in an effort to be forgiven and justify those failures, and sin is simply trying to fill out the ledger — it’s justifying yourself as if you had not already been justified, as if you were your own creator, savior, and redeemer.)

We remembered to forget our sins — we nailed our knowledge of ourselves, our judgment, to the tree. And we remembered that the Divine Nature, the judgment of God, was fore-given to us from the foundation of the world — “the Life is in the blood.” We were “re-minded.” Paradigm Shift: Reality is not what you know but who it is that knows you.

I have a niece, Elana, who doesn’t know much — at least not much stuff. She has Down’s Syndrome. Her dad, Tom, is brilliant and knows so much that he’s employed by government agencies to work on super computers. Last week, Tom called me at four in the morning, distraught and not knowing what to do. He wept as he told me, “I came home late from work last night and found Lydia (my little sister) in her chair. She’s gone.” I thought, how will he tell Elana?

I called him the next day. He was obviously grieving but sounded hopeful; he even laughed. “I finally went in and woke Elana,” he said. “‘Mommy’s gone,’ I told Elana. She seemed confused that I seemed so confused and so sad. ‘I know,’ she said. ‘She’s with Jesus.'”

“Peter,” Tom said to me, “I realized that Elana had been there with Lydia when Lydia passed. And Peter, according to Elana, The Holy Spirit, God, Jesus, or angels, or all of the above, told her, ‘Elana, you’re safe. Mommy is in heaven. You can put yourself to bed.’ And so, she did.”

She fell asleep in a little boat on the most violent of seas.

I know that my sister, Lydia, meant the world to my niece, Elana. But my sister always told Elana that she is precious to the One who made the world. And the One who made the world has made Himself known to Elana (There are more stories.) She knows because she is known.

She knows a lot. And, maybe, I’m the one who’s disabled.

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