In 2 Peter 1:4 Simon Peter is describing the glory and goodness of Jesus, which he witnessed firsthand. Peter writes:
By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
Peter makes two things clear here: 1) our evil desires (which we all have) make us susceptible to corruption; and 2) Jesus provides an escape route which depends on His glory and goodness and not our own efforts.
This description of an ever-present corruption (my engineering side thinks of iron left to the elements — it will most certainly rust) reminds me of Peter’s first letter. In 1 Peter 5:8, he says:
Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
This text comes alive to me when I consider the author. Simon Peter knew Jesus, personally, in the flesh. He also knew the pain of failing Jesus and himself. This is not sanitized, holier-than-you rhetoric from the pulpit. This is wisdom from a disciple of Jesus who had lived it — hard.
Let’s take a look at Luke 22:31-32. Jesus says to Peter (note that He used Peter’s original name Simon, not the one He had given him, Peter):
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus tells Peter that Satan has requested the opportunity to test him and that he will fail. He also tells him that his failure is not the end of the story. He will return (repent) and serve as a leader in Jesus’ church.
This exchange between Jesus and Peter becomes particularly poignant when we read what it follows. In Luke 22:24-30, a dispute between the disciples is described. They were arguing over who was greatest. Jesus ends His gentle rebuke by turning to Peter and announcing that he will be tested and that he will fail. Was this is response to Peter’s assertion that he was the greatest?
THIS is the Peter who later wrote that there is corruption, but we can escape, that the Devil is a lion seeking to devour, but we can rely on Jesus for deliverance.
Peter knows. Jesus knows. Whatever you are facing right now, it is not too big for our great God.