Thursday, February 23, 2017, 4:17 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NASB).
His Divine Power (vv. 1-4)
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
So, if we receive the “same kind” of faith as Jesus’ New Testament apostles did, what kind of faith would that be? Can there be more than one kind? Well, let me answer that second question first. Yes, there can be more than one kind of faith. There can be genuine God-given faith (Eph. 2:8-10), and there can be faith which originates in human beings, which is really not the kind of faith which saves us. And, there can be faith (human in origin) in other deities (false gods and false religions) or in other things besides faith in the One and Only True God who created the world and everything in it.
So, what kind of faith is the “same kind” as that received by the apostles? As was already stated, it is God-given faith, i.e. it is God’s divine persuasion (convincing) of us as to his perfect will for our lives. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to him. And, the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God, not something we muster up on our own out of our own flesh. But, it is something we must appropriate (seize, adopt) into our lives via submission to God/Jesus. In other words, God does not just zap some of us and therefore we have faith. We have to accept this faith.
In addition to this, the kind of faith which is God-given is of the Spirit of God, not of the will of man, and thus it prefers what God prefers and it does not make up its own set of rules to suit human flesh. So, what does that mean? It means that if we have God-given faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin but made alive to God in Christ Jesus. Our old self was crucified with Jesus “so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7). So, Jesus didn’t die for our sins just so we could escape condemnation and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Thus, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).
So, what else can we learn about this “same kind” of faith? For one, this is not a one-time experience, then we live our lives, and then we go to heaven when we die. This faith is continuous throughout our lives until the end of time. It submits to God’s will, and walks in his love, and it lives life according to God’s Word (according to the Spirit) and no longer according to the flesh. It is empowered by God and not by the flesh, so its works are not fleshly but are generated by the Spirit of God. Even repentance has been granted to us by God, and the ability to walk in holiness and godliness, as well. But, again, we must appropriate what God has given/granted to our individual lives.
So many people today are teaching that we don’t have to repent of (turn from) our sins, and we don’t have to obey God/Christ, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do. That is human faith, and it is not the kind that saves us or the same kind as that of the apostles, i.e. it is false. They try to convince us that repentance and obedience to Christ are fleshly works and thus we must discard them, but that is a lie of Satan. God has granted us everything we need for life and godliness, and repentance and obedience are part of that God-given faith, i.e. the kind which persuades us as to God’s perfect will for our lives. True faith dies with Christ to sin and it lives with Christ to righteousness, because it is of God, and not of the flesh.
If These Qualities (vv. 5-9)
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Again, our faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time experience. It is lived out in our lives every day, moment by moment. True faith in Jesus Christ does not stagnate at the moment we believe in Jesus, but it keeps growing and maturing, and our lives keep changing as daily we die to sin and the flesh, and as daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. Every day we should be growing in love, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, mercy, integrity, purity, forgiveness, obedience, godliness, holiness, heart knowledge, self-control, and perseverance, etc. If we are still the same people we were 10 years ago, then something is wrong. We should always be learning and changing for the good.
If these qualities, and others like them, are not increasing in measure in our lives, then we can become stagnated, and usually we end up declining (going backwards) in our faith. Then we are not much use for God’s kingdom work, and so we end up being unfruitful in our spiritual walks and in our witness for Christ and for his gospel. Usually this happens because we have let sin back into our lives and thus we are being hindered in our walks of faith.
In other words, we can’t increase in godliness if we are willfully continuing to do what we know is against God and contrary to his Word. We can’t increase in kindness and love if we are practicing hate, cheating, lying, deceit, stealing, and adultery, etc. We can’t increase in purity, either, if we are taking in regular doses into our minds of what is impure. We can’t increase in faithfulness, if we are regularly in the practice of being unfaithful. We are opposing the very things we say we stand for when we do this. And, when we do this, i.e. the opposite of godliness, holiness and the like, it is because we have forgotten (willfully) that Jesus died to put sin to death in our lives.
Make Certain (vv. 10-11)
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
So, we need to be diligent to make certain of our calling and choosing. In other words, we need daily reminders, not just of who we are in Christ by faith in him, but of who God has chosen and called us to be. For, many people today are still walking in sin and yet are being encouraged, even in the midst of willful sin against God, to claim who they are in Christ, some of which is made up of man, and not of God, and not from his Word. And, this is all backwards. God does not approve of our sin, so we should not put his stamp of approval on our lives if we are willfully continuing to live in sin. Yet, many do this because they want to continue in their sin without guilt, i.e. they have bought into a false grace gospel which tells them they can live however they want and still have the hope of heaven when they die.
If we do claim who we are in Christ, first of all we need to make sure we really are in Christ by genuine (God-given) faith in him, which is convinced of his perfect will for our lives and thus submits to his will and purpose. Then, we should make sure what we are claiming is truly biblical, and that we are doing so to encourage ourselves to walk in holiness and purity, not as a cover-up for doing what we know is wrong. But, then we need to be reminded, not just of what Jesus did for us, but of what he requires of us in the way of holy living. We need to be reminded that he called us and he chose us to be his holy people, set apart from the world of sin because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. He has called us to repentance and obedience, and to walk in his Spirit and not according to the flesh, too. So, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we should walk in his holiness and righteousness, and not live to please our sinful flesh.
Give Ear to Jesus / An Original Work
Based off Isaiah 55 / February 16, 2016
Call on your Savior.
Seek the Lord while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way;
Turn to the Lord.
God will have mercy.
He’ll forgive you of your sin.
He will freely pardon you
And give peace within.
Turn from your sin, follow Jesus,
Be cleansed from sin.
Give ear to Jesus.
Come to Him. Your soul will live.
Listen to Him speaking to you:
“Eat what is good.”
If you are thirsty,
Come to Jesus, drink from Him.
Drink His Spirit given to you.
Be born again.
Listen to Him. Do what He says.
Rejoice in Him.
God’s Word, eternal,
Will achieve what He desires.
He is willing none should perish,
Saved by His blood.
Share now the gospel.
Jesus died so we’d go free.
Walk in vict’ry,
Free from your sin, eternally.
Die to sin, and live to Jesus.
In Him believe.