2 Peter 1:3-11
3 His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For anyone who lacks these things is short-sighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
I seem to be caught between two warring camps; the “once saved always saved” and “faith + works” philosophies.
I don’t know if it can be reduced to a basic common denominator of Catholicism vs. Reformation but in the end it seems in my heart to revolve around the Assurance of Salvation.
Are we truly afforded that luxury?
Today I can’t define if I’m non-denominational or all-denominational.
By that I mean that all I know is that I was suicidal, dead in my sins, hopeless, broken, fruitless, lifeless. I was drinking, lusting, striving, searching and dying every day and in a moment of glory I dropped to my knees and cried out to Jesus Christ (specifically) and everything changed.
From that time until now (nearly 4 years at the time of writing this) I have yet to “pick a religion” and even more-so have come to feel that the great divides among Trinity believing churches is evidence of the great Apostasy that was prophesied. Christians divided from other Christians over what some would say are the less-essentials and others who dig their heels in saying “my way is the only way”.
It all seems to loose the sight of Christ, in which none of the mainstream Trinity believing religions of the world would deny that Christ is the Center, the Foundation, our Bridge to our Father in Heaven.
We all agree that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are the Ones (the One) responsible for the faith we are given, the election we have received and the unique and individual calling that now lies before each of us.
Clearly it is fully the work of God alone that is responsible for our new life that is received through faith alone, but what then; is it done?
Are we not called to a life lived out in fervent response to the gift; to be poured out in eager pursuit of righteousness through works as an active participant in our sanctification and God’s glorification; to be light and salt?
I believe today’s passage in Peter and many more suggest that our response is a critical factor in our shared journey of redemption; that we MUST pursue at all costs our unification with Christ to the best of our ability while on this side of heaven through the death of our flesh and living in and through our Advocate; the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
John 14:12a “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do…
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Today, as I wrestle with the sin nature in my own flesh that Satan all too quickly tells me disqualifies me as a Saint and to which I sense God grace saying “my Son paid the price for that”, I lean ever more towards the reality that there can be no room for complacent and conscious sin; that my behaviors both public and private are the evidence of my faith, the results of my relationship with Christ.
To live anything less than in full pursuit of God’s best in my character is to bring into question the very revelation of Christ in my life.
The commandments do not in and of themselves condemn but they absolutely do reveal the true nature of man. Only through the revelation of the commandments can I truly see the darkness of my own heart and in that find a deep humility brought about by a brokenness that draws me to the foot of the cross in continuous pursuit of mercy and grace.
There is no question that He loves me perfectly, the question then must become how am I loving Him?
Is it will all of my life or only when easy, convenient and safe? Is there a constant tug on my soul when selfishness, pride and resentments creep in or am I just as I have always been?
As Peter nearly begs his brethren [paraphrased from vs 5]: For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.
As I find myself struggling to live a life that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ [in all areas, not just the easy ones] I find great comfort in the reminder from Peter that (vs. 3) His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness and (vs. 9) For anyone who lacks these things is short-sighted and blind, and is forgetful…
Father God, I thank you this morning for the reminder that I have nothing to offer this world, it is not I through my knowledge or insight that makes me righteous, but it is through a life purely devoted to You, a life lived in You, a life in pursuit of You that all other things will be given. I yet again find myself at the Cross of Christ wondering why Your mercy and grace continues to extend beyond the depth of my forgetfulness, my ignorance, my blindness and my rebellion. Unconditional Love is beyond human understanding, but help us all Lord recognize that in Your never-ending grace we might awaken new this day and every day with an overwhelming desire and connection to the Election and Calling you have placed upon our lives. Let us all hunger for more of You and in THAT pursuit find ourselves immersed in the life You ordained before creation. Forgive us our trespasses Father as WE forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation. Thank you for my new life Lord, help me this day live in purity and honor towards the calling You are revealing. In Jesus’ precious name I pray…