Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Receiving His Grace, Reflecting His Glory

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
(2 Peter 1:1)

We should never tire of hearing the basics; if we do it means something is wrong. Notice that Peter considers himself first a servant, then an apostle. Peter writes to those who have the same salvation he has experienced, a like precious faith; this faith was obtained, and not by the efforts of man, but by the righteousness of God.

Peter indicates that grace and peace are ours in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord; it is in the knowing of God that we gain these essentials for living. However, not only grace and peace, but also all things that pertain to life and godliness are ours through the knowledge of Him. Those who are constantly looking for the answers in man's wisdom, programs, technology, progress or potential will ultimately be frustrated.

This knowledge of God comes as we learn of Him through His Word, through prayer, and through fellowship with God's people. Though it is true that we need God alone, God does not meet us only in our "aloneness" but in the context of Christian community. It is knowledge, but it is not mere intellectual understanding or intuition; it is the knowledge that comes by experience – the experience God's people have of Him. As well, knowledge doesn't refer to a casual knowing; it means a precise and thorough knowledge.

What good are these great and precious promises? Through these, we are partakers of the divine nature; Peter's idea is much the same as Paul's idea of our glorious status as adopted sons and daughters of God (Galatians 4:5-7). God is above and beyond the corruption of this world; so are the ones who are the partakers of His nature; and the corruption of this world expresses itself in its lust – the ungodly desires of this world.

Being an adopted son or daughter of God isn't merely a spiritual state, it makes a real difference in the way we live and order our lives. The scope of the list here in 2 Peter chapter 1 demonstrates that God is interested in our having a well-rounded Christian life, one that is complete in every fashion – we have no right to be content with an incomplete Christian life. We note that these are not things that the Lord simply pours into us as we passively receive; instead, we are called to give all diligence to these things, working in partnership with God to add them in our lives. We also note that these things reflect the character of God Himself; it is by knowing Him that we grow into these qualities. Some try after a knowledge of God without living the life; others try to live the life without a knowledge of God.

If we both have and abound in these things, it is evident to all that we are neither barren nor unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. Sadly, the words barren and unfruitful characterize the lives of many Christians, who lack these qualities because they lack in their knowledge of God (knowing Him in the fullest sense). Some of us may feel good that these qualities are seen in us from time to time; but Peter says they should abound in us. If we do lack these things, it shows we have "eye trouble" (or perhaps "I trouble") – we are shortsighted (unable to see God, only ourselves), making us virtually blind – and we have forgotten the great work that God has done in our lives, including our cleansing.

It is the pursuit of these things that helps keep us from stumbling. Like Peter walking on the water, we keep afloat as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus. It is in the observance of all the little things that we prevent a disastrous fall; no one falls away overnight. Those who do not have such hearts and lives should not claim such assurance. The idea of our being called and elect by God was never intended to comfort the carnal, rebellious churchgoer that thinks all is right with God regardless of their lifestyle. Peter insists that the Christian will have both the knowledge of God, and a life that glorifies Him, and that the two are connected.

If we truly have received His grace, we will truly reflect His glory.


Anonymous said...

"...these things reflect the character of God Himself;"

"If we both have and abound in these things, it is evident to all that we are neither barren nor unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus."

I especially like that you chose to use the word "reflect" here. Like the moon cannot help but shine, when it is receiving the sun's light, we cannot help but demonstrate things like a growing knowledge of God, as well as the fruit of the Spirit.

We may not demonstrate stellar results all at once, but if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, there will be fruit.

Blessings., I mean Baron von Fruitful

Even So... said...

Hilarious there "Baron"...

Even So... said...

Or at times, doesn't it seem like "Barren" von Fruitful?

Anonymous said...

True, it does sometimes seem that way.

Regardless, what it seems is not always what actually is.

I remain "Baron" because of my inheritance. Praise be to God that my Father's gift remains, even when times are hard.

Even So... said...

Peter says (and God says!) we have an inheritance, incorrupible, undefiled, awaiting us in heaven...Amen!