Archive for May 16th, 2012

“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:”  2 Peter 1:1

Too often we get the idea that God provides different levels of faith to different people.  We look to leaders of the Christian world and ascribe to them some kind of special faith that is not available to us.  It would seem that people have not changed that much since the first century.  Simon Peter looked out at the people of the early church and saw the same divide, a divide that is spawned by the father of lies and limits the effectiveness of our walk with Christ.

This is the very topic that Peter addresses even as he faces impending execution.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit Peter tries to short-circuit the very half truth that flourishes even today:  That Peter had some kind of extra-ordinary faith that enabled him to live for Christ in a way that is inaccessible to you or I.  Peter saw the potential for Sainthood.  He saw the potential for people to excuse themselves from the riches and responsibilities of being a child of God because they believe that Peter was a man of uncommon faith.  The ESV translates this verse, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

Peter would have made a good modern pastor.  His message starts right from his address.  He has stated his thesis and he immediately jumps  into supporting it.

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.”  2 Peter 1:3

Why is our faith of equal standing?  It is because our faith comes from God granted not by our own intellectual reasoning or emotional response but by HIS DIVINE POWER.  Faith does not come from the school that you attend, the church that you belong, the pastor that you listen to or even the blogs that your read.  Faith extends directly from God a free gift granted by His divine power.  “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.” 2 Peter 1:4

Peter tells us where the magnificent promises, the source of salvation come from.  They extend right out of the glory and excellence of God.  It is all right there for us.  The question then is what do we do about it.  Like the parable of the sower there are many reactions to the glory and excellence of God and to His great promise of salvation.  Some just don’t accept it.  They harden their hearts and the seed of life dies on rocky ground.  Some accept it but the cares of the world grow up as weeds in a garden choke out a beautiful flower the beautiful promise and gift of God fades and disappears from the heart and mind.  Peter anticipates the question to come.  What then do i do?  How can I be the rich soil that bears fruit?  Peter I don’t feel my faith. How can I possibly be like you?

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.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

This phrasing may seem awkward in English but in the Greek it flows and builds emphasis veritably exploding on the concluding subject: love.  Perhaps not the structural monument that Paul constructed in Ephesians 1:3-14 which concluded with, “…the praise of His glory” ; but still the emphasis is clear and the conclusion of it all is love.  Yet the steps are just as important.  Too often we want to pursue love without putting in the diligence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and kindness.  Then we sit and cry in our coffee (for those of us who drink way too much coffee) because things are not coming together the way that we thought they should.

“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.”  2 Peter 2:8-9

This is not about salvation.  Peter is speaking to the redeemed.  This is about faith and the fact that we have it within our grasp to live as Peter lived totally sold out for Jesus.  God supplies us all thetools and even the energy and commitment to be fruitful, looking only to Jesus Christ. So let’s sum it up with a little bow to homiletics:

Peter’s 8 Steps to Experiencing True Faith

1.  Be Diligent

2.  Be Virtuous (ESV)

3.  Be Knowledgeable  (of Jesus Christ)

4.  Be  Self-Controlled

5.  Be Steadfast (ESV)

6.  Be Godly

7.  Be Kind

8.  Be Love

It is not easy.  That is where diligence come’s in.  Peter climbed the 8 steps from Gethsemane to the prison’s and shares his journey with us, a journey of uncommon faith available to all.

 

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