Unfortunately, our failures often outweigh and outlive our accomplishments. People like to promote juicy scandals more than our success.
- Consider Richard Nixon with Watergate scandal.
- Remember Monica Lewinsky.
- Think back to Tonya Harding figure skater conspired attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
- Chris Weber famed bball player who called timeout when team had none, and caused loss in championship.
- Contemplate the political figures of the last two decades.
People want to be remembered just not for the wrong reasons. We seek fame not infamy. Legacies take a lifetime but can be ruined in a moment. An entire biography and scope of someone’s life can be shaved down do a single happening, where people define you as “This is who you are, and nothing else!”
What adjective might people add as a preface to your name?
- Adulterous Amanda.
- Bully Bob.
- Chatty Gossip Charlie.
- Disloyal David.
- Fighter Fiona.
- Gambling George.
- Lying Laura.
- Negative Nancy.
- Procrastinating Paul.
- Self-centered Sheryl.
If people don’t preface you with these names, perhaps you self-identify with the shame and skeletons hidden in your life closet. Thankful to Jesus, we don’t have to live with scarlet letters of our sin. Instead, like impulsive and prone-to-wander Peter, we can grow from disappointment, overcome our mistakes, and turn our setbacks into comebacks.
Thankful to Jesus, we don’t have to live with scarlet letters of our sin. Instead, we can grow from disappointment, overcome our mistakes, and turn our setbacks into comebacks.Tweet
Today we look at 2Peter 1:3-15 to root our confidence not in failure but in faith and grace-driven growth.
EXAMINE 2 Peter 1:3-15
3 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,
4 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. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
We are saved by faith in God’s power and precious promises.
Salvation is both power and promises from God. God’s power and promise to send His Son to become human (incarnation). God’s power and promise to overcome death (resurrection). God’s power and promise to save sinners by grace through faith (justification). If God’s power is not connected to His promises, then we will never be able to personally relate to Him (revelation). Yet, as Peter writes, “God’s 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. In Jesus Christ, we have all we need.
Illus: When you purchase furniture from IKEA, the instructions start with pictures of all the tools and parts you need and included inside the box. One of the first tasks is to take apart all the packages and confirm all the parts and tools are present to begin. Salvation is already purchased by God and provided for us to receive. The next step – sanctification / spiritual growth – is to assemble the parts.
Peter notes the purpose of God’s salvation is to partake [κοινωνός] of the divine nature. Partaking of God’s nature is a union according to principle not personhood. The Bible is not teaching we can become gods (theosis doctrine like Eastern Orthodox and LDS). Instead, Christians affirm a distinction between salvation and sanctification.
Salvation is a finished product with nothing that can be added or subtracted. When God saves a person, they are declared righteous in their status before Him. Yet, sanctification is the ongoing process of becoming in practice what God has declared positionally.
Illus: Spiritual life can be viewed in 3 ways
- Hamster wheel where you are running and doing all the work but not getting anywhere. This is life apart from God, or religious works-based salvation.
- Escalator where you stand on the platform but don’t do anything, yet it takes you somewhere. This “let go and let God” mentality is unhelpful because escalators never end at the destination; there is always more to travel. Ironically, we see this thinking in the pendulum of superficial believism and in strict theological systems (Keswick vs Hyper-calvinism).
- Bicycle where you pedal one leg after another – faith & works on repeat – and through cooperation and navigation you arrive at your destination. This is the journey of faith God wants for us.
Are you ready to get off hamster wheel or escalator and step onto the bike? Genuine faith relationship requires discipleship. What’s your next step: baptism, bible, group, service, accountability, obedience?
- Are you spiritually bored? Is Jesus enough for you, or are you still restless? Are God’s promises still precious, or do you seek joy and identity in other content? Is God’s church still a cherished family, or have you grown cold in compassion and forgotten how to forgive?
I find many Christians are spiritually bored and need refreshing the strength of God’s power and the sustaining of God’s promises.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.” “That is because you are older, little one,” answered he. “Not because you are?” “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
We are sanctified by fighting for God’s vision and values.
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. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
God saves us from sin and to righteousness. God works in us salvation so that we might work out godly beliefs and behaviors that bless others. Peter says, make every effort [σπουδή] to supplement [ἐπιχορηγέω] your faith with 7 elements of Christian lifestyle. Peter’s command suggests zeal and strenuous work with focused training.
- God is opposed to earning, not effort. Grace does not make effort pointless but possible.
- Doing nothing is actually drifting away from the shore… So, swim strong.
- You cannot rest on yesterday. Daily deny self, make effort to follow Jesus.
The word for supplement implies bearing the effort to train and expense to support a chorus for Greek play/tragedy [where we get our English word, “choreography.” It is as if sanctification is like a team’s strategized playbook or a theatre’s choreographed production.
The 7 values of Christian lifestyle: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness/patience, godliness, brotherly affection, love. These values are not sequential ladder steps to be climbed but like equal ingredients simultaneously to be blended.
- Virtue/goodness: Implies moral excellence or praiseworthiness (cf 1Pet 2:9). Virtue is often not self-identified but recognized as a reputation from others.
à Do your neighbors and co-workers know you’re a Christian? Would they be surprised to hear of your Christian faith, or would they hear of it and conclude hypocrisy?
- Knowledge: first-hand understanding; knowledge applied.
à Renting faith of others may be appropriate for a season, but there comes a time to own faith for yourself.
- self-control: Implies discipline and self-mastery.
Remember this is Peter – impulsive to speak & act!
à Do you have self-control over eyes? tongue? Spend time & money?
- steadfastness: Implies patience and perseverance, endurance.
à Where are you fed up and tempted to give up but God wants you to stay?
- godliness: Implies devout worship; fear and reverence
à What do you fear most? Fear reveals to what you are faithful: external reputation, earthly comforts (can’t live w/o), important things becoming ultimate and an idol against God. God will shake us and take from us what never belonged to us, so we reverence Him above all else.
- brotherly affection [philadelpsian]: Implies friendship, kindness and generosity.
à Are you living as a cul-de-sac or channel of blessing?
- love (agape): Implies unique and unconditional love.
à Jesus shows us agape on the cross… loving enemies. You may or not have an enemy, but one who is difficult to love.
What action will you do this week to show agape love and gospel forgiveness?
These values not only help us escape the corruption of the world, but 8 keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Illus: When you view old photographs, and someone says, “You haven’t changed a bit!” Physically speaking, that is a positive compliment. We often do all we can to avoid the aging process. However, spiritually speaking, that would be a criticism. Imagine Jesus telling us that since we became one of His followers, that we never changed. How embarrassingly sad?!?
Spiritual growth doesn’t mean life will be easy, but it means we’ll be effective. Peter tells us spiritual growth protects us from being ineffective [argos: idle of work or sloth; cf James 2:20] or unfruitful [akarpos: barren or sterile; cf. Mat 13:22] (1:8); and they avoid you being nearsighted & blind (1:9; cf Rev 3:17) and forgetful of what Jesus has done in mercy and grace. Virtues confirm not create faith. If we practice these qualities, we 10confirm our calling and election. Peter’s word confirm [βέβαιος] implies a legal guarantee.
- Air travel can purchase standby or confirmed tickets. Many people have standby belief rather than confirmed faith in Christ.
- “if you practice these qualities you will never fall… there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom” (1:10-11).
- You will never fall. Your sins are covered by grace (Ps 32:1).
- You will be richly provided entrance into heaven.
- Be forward looking, heaven hopeful, and faith trusting.
- Heb 12:28-29 “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, therefore, let us hold on to grace [and…] serve God with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
- Php 3:20 “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Col 3:1-2 “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on earth.”
- 1 Cor 2:9 “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor heart imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
- “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for this present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set foot on the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”; aim at earth and you will get neither.”
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
When someone is near death, they often have a sense of clarity about what matters most. Yet, they are often seeking a sense of comfort as they prepare to leave behind loved ones and the known life to what and who is beyond into eternity. In the case of Peter, who knows he is near his death (vv.13-15), he is the one seeking to comfort others. Since Peter had been an eyewitness of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he doesn’t have doubts about the next life. He’s not afraid because the sting of death has been removed. Therefore, he lived his life with clarity and confidence based on the promises of God. And we can too.
Since Peter had been an eyewitness of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he doesn’t have doubts about the next life. He’s not afraid bc the sting of death is removed. Therefore, he lived his life w/ clarity & confidence based on the precious promises of God. And we can too. #2PeterTweet
Where in your life do you lack clarity and confidence?
Why do you let sin preface or shame permeate your life when you can experience forgiving grace at the cross of Jesus?
What steps of earnest effort and diligent discipline do you need to take?
As you near an exit from this life and entrance into eternity, what hinders you from believing God’s power and trusting God’s promises for salvation in Christ?
 C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian.
 Richard Bauckam, Word Biblical Commentary, 2Peter 1:10.
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 118