December 8, 2014
II Peter 1:10, 11
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
A rule of Bible study that I learned in seminary is this: Whenever you see the word ‘therefore,’ you ask, “What is that ‘therefore’ there for?” II Peter 1:10 and 11 starts off with “Therefore…”:
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election
sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will
be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter tells us in verse 10 above that followers of Jesus Christ are “…to make…our calling and election sure….” Some say we have nothing to do with our calling and election, that those two actions are totally of God’s initiative. We, they say, “…being dead in…our sins…” (Colossians 2:13 – KJV), have no capacity to seek out or even respond to God’s calling and election – until He imparts life to our dead spirits! This Calvinistic predestinarian view runs up against the Arminian view which emphasizes what is said in Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Everyone is invited to come, and has the free-will choice to respond or not! But this theological discussion is for another blog (or two, or three)!
What Peter is emphasizing here is, be sure you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior! And be sure your life is reflecting your decision!
But we haven’t answered our first question: “What is that ‘therefore’ there for?” That ‘therefore’ is there for this reason – the previous seven verses! Let’s see what these seven verses say:
• II Peter 1:3 and 4 – Jesus’ “…divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
There is nothing which pertains to living out the Christian life that God has not already given us! And these “…things that pertain to life and godliness…” are appropriated into our lives “…through the knowledge of Him…” who is our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, get into the Word of God and let it do its work! It is there you will find the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that knowledge will do its work within you so that “…you may be partakers of the divine nature….” As you more and more manifest “…the divine nature…,” you will show forth in your life “…the corruption that is in the world…” less and less! Check out the blog I wrote for May 30, 2014 entitled, What Am I Yet Lacking? for a fuller study on the subject.
• II Peter 1:5 through 7 – “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perse-verance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
Here are listed eight qualities of the Christian life which ought to be increasingly manifested and put to practice in the believer’s life. Peter presents these qualities as building upon one another. You start with faith – faith believing that Jesus died for your sins on the cross, and that on that basis alone your sins are taken from you and you are clean before God, washed by the blood of the Lamb. The end result is love – agape love – the kind of love that will give and sacrifice for another even when the recipient does not return that love. It is the kind of love wherewith God loved us so much “…that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Jesus said in John 13:34, “…as I have loved you, that you also [should] love one another.”
• II Peter 1:8 – “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
With these eight Spiritually-induced qualities increasingly manifested in your Christian life, you will produce more and more fruit for the kingdom. As Jesus said in John 15:8, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” And what is the fruit that is most precious to the Father? I believe it is people won to the Lord! This reflects the very purpose for which Jesus Christ came into the world: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10). If we become more and more like Jesus, more and more people will see Him in and through us, and will put their faith in the Savior!
• II Peter 1:9 – “…he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
God forbid that I or you ever forget that we were “…purged from…[our] old sins…”! If that happens we will blindly fall back into “…the corruption that is in the world….” Then we will not be manifesting our Lord’s life through us, and the lost will not come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior!
We will cover our scripture – II Peter 1:10 and 11 more fully in Wednesday’s blog.