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Tag Archives: 2 Peter 1

Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Need for Focus)

Why do we need FOCUS? There are many reasons, of course, but our text here in 2 Peter 1 makes it quite clear that FOCUS in the Christian life is critical! If I am not focused on adding to my faith certain virtues, there are specific conclusions that can be drawn.

In this series of blog posts I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

In our passage this morning, the Apostle Peter does not mince his words when he talks about spiritual growth in the believer’s life. Peter lists seven virtues which we may choose to add or not add to our faith. The Christian life is the furthest thing from merely coasting down the highway. It is a struggle against on-coming traffic, with enticing exits everywhere, requiring us to peddle with all of our might so that we move on in our faith. The believer is to “make every effort” (v. 1) to add these seven virtues — goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love — to his foundational faith in Christ.

And these seven virtues are not added in one fell swoop. They are to be possessed “in increasing measure.” No one will ever be told by the Lord in this life, “Hey, stop working on that self-control thing. You’re good!” No one will ever hear a voice from heaven saying, “Child! Slow down! You’ve got enough godliness!” These virtues are to grow in us. If they don’t, there are certain dire, inevitable consequences.

But let’s use the positive tone which Peter uses. Possessing these qualities will keep us “from being ineffective and unproductive” in knowing the Lord Jesus. However, we must not miss the catastrophic conclusions for the one who doesn’t “make every effort” to add these virtues. And the two conclusions have to do with FOCUS and FORGETTING.

The first conclusion has to do with eyesight. The one who does not have these virtues “is nearsighted and blind.” Which is it? Is he nearsighted or blind? Can he be both? Perhaps the idea is that he only sees what’s right in front of him. And he is blind to everything else! This Christian’s FOCUS is ruined. He is unable to see the future person he should be. He only sees what’s nearby. And his vision is gone. He is “blind.” Perhaps the meaning is he is blind to what Jesus wants to do in his life. He just can’t see it.

The second conclusion has to do with memory. This one who does not have these virtues — and is not working on them — has forgotten that they have been forgiven! The saving work of Jesus Christ is no longer a memory or a reality for which they praise God. It’s as if the hard drive of their brain has been wiped clean.

Today’s Challenge: Are your spiritual eyes open to these seven virtues and the absolute necessity of your working on them? Don’t be nearsighted or blind. Roll up your sleeves, open your eyes, and remember what Christ has done for you.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2021 in focus

 

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Faith’s Additives (A Study of 2 Peter 1:5-9)

Clearly Scripture teaches that we do not add our good works to what Christ has done for salvation! But after salvation, there are good works for us to do (Eph. 2:10). And one of those primary good works  . . . is to work on ourselves!

The Christian life is not a passive “Let Go and Let God” situation. Nor is it merely our striving to be the best we can be. It is a cooperative work between the believer and the Holy Spirit to grow us up in Christ.

Here’s my outline of this great passage. What thoughts would you add?

I. The Basis for Adding to Your Faith (vv. 1-4)

Looking over those verses reminds us of God’s precious promises He has given us in Christ!

II. The Attitude in Adding to Your Faith (v. 5)

We are to “make every effort”! Note that that expression is used several times in this first chapter of II Peter.  Our character is not “fixed” at birth, and God can bring about great changes as we follow hard after Him in our sanctification!

III. The Specifics of Adding to Your Faith (vv. 5-7)

There is much work to be done on this list of seven virtues. Some questions that occur to me: (1) How is each virtue to be defined? (2) Are each of these virtues added specifically to the previous one — or to one’s faith as a whole? (3) Is the order of these virtues important?

IV. The Choice of Adding to Your Faith (vv. 8-9)

Notice that we added the words “THE HAVES” and “THE HAVE NOTS” to the text.

A. The Haves — 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Possessing these qualities — in increasing measure — will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive!

B. The Have Nots — 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Wow! What awful conclusions! If I don’t have — and grow in — these qualities, God declares me nearsighted and blind! And He accuses me of forgetting that I have been forgiven!

Conclusion: This passage is certainly worth memorizing, don’t you think? At least more in-depth study. But most of all — application to our daily lives! Your comments welcome!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2020 in 2 Peter 1

 

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Getting Ready for My Next NJ Trip! (Part 3)

My next preaching trip to Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey is coming up quickly and will be from March 31st to April 7th. I will also be teaching Sunday School on both Sundays (which we’ll talk about in a later post). When I was there last (Feb. 26-March 4), we looked at the topic “Why Should We Believe Anything at All?” For these two Sundays we will look at the subject “Why Should We Behave as Believers?” My first message will be on Titus 2:11-15 and my second on 2 Peter 1:3-11 (for April 7th).

Let’s look at the 2 Peter 1 passage one more time:

There is so much here about ADDING to our FAITH. The Christian FAITH (the foundation of the Christian truths) forms the bedrock upon which we BUILD OUR LIVES!

There have been some in the so-called Victorious Christian Life movement who have said things like ‘Let God — and Let God!” or “Trust God for your sanctification just as you trusted Him for your salvation.” There is truth in these slogans — but they can also mislead one to think that the Christian life requires no effort on our part. Note the language Peter uses in this passage: “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ADD TO” (v. 5) and “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION” (v. 10).

How much EFFORT are you and I expending to develop these virtues (GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERVANCE, GODLINESS, MUTUAL AFFECTION, LOVE)?

Here’s a challenge: Ask someone who loves you which of those VIRTUES you need to work on! And don’t get angry at them if they say, “Well, you could use a bit more SELF-CONTROL!” Or, “I think you can grow in your KNOWLEDGE of the Word, don’t you?” [Such loving feedback, by the way, doesn’t have to take the form of NAGGING!]

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2019 in christian life

 

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Getting Ready for My Next NJ Trip! (Part 2)

My next preaching trip to Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey will be from March 31st to April 7th. I will also be teaching Sunday School on both Sundays. When I was there last (Feb. 26-March 4), we looked at the topic “Why Should We Believe Anything at All?” For these two Sundays we will look at the subject “Why Should We Behave as Believers?” My first message will be on Titus 2:11-15. This morning we want to look at the text for my second message: 2 Peter 1:3-11 (for April 7th).

This is an amazing passage for several reasons. We have the fascinating expression “so that through [these very great and precious promises] you may participate in the divine nature” (v. 4)! We never move from the category of being human to the category of being divine. So what does that statement mean? I believe it means morally — we begin to have our lives shaped by God’s promises so that we become like the Lord (without becoming somehow deified).

Notice also the list of “additives” we are to add to our faith: GOODNESS, KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERANCE, GODLINESS, MUTUAL AFFECTION, and LOVE. These seven additions to our faith sound much like the fruit of the Spirit we are challenged to pursue (“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5).

We will write one more post on this convicting text of 2 Peter 1.

But may I ask you, dear reader, which of these seven additives do you need to work on today, with the help of God the Holy Spirit?

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2019 in 2 Peter 1

 

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Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 3

Principles, not keys, to victory in the Christian life might be a better way to describe what we are studying for the next few days.  The truths that I see in Galatians 2:19-21 will help the believer in Jesus understand some aspects of living for Him.

Here is our text:

We’ve seen the first key in verse 19 that I must have a proper relationship to the law. The second key that we’ve noticed is that the old me is dead! We read in verse 20- “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”

The third key that impacts me here is this:  There is a NEW ME who is to live by faith! (v. 20).  There was a movement years ago called “the Victorious Christian Life” movement.  Some in that movement suggested that Christ now lives His life through us — and we are to be passive channels through whom He lives.  There is certainly some truth to that perspective, but understood wrongly (I believe) can lead to static, passive Christians who don’t take responsibility for their lives.  This kind of Let Go and Let God mentality runs counter to such challenges as Peter’s when he writes, “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Pe. 1).

There is a NEW ME who is to strategically and aggressively live out what it means to be a new creature in Christ!  This is not sanctification by the flesh (which Paul addresses throughout the book of Galatians), but an active dependence on God the Holy Spirit to help us follow hard after God.

Today’s challenge: Are you ready to count your NEW SELF ALIVE today? What additives do you need to focus on in your life in obedience to Peter’s challenge in 2 Peter 1? (to be continued)

[For those who are interested, the Victorious Christian Life Movement (sometimes called the Keswick Movement) is evaluated here.  A primary source critiquing it is found here.]

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Back to the Basics! Introductory Matters #5 Practice!

What we believe is critical. Faith, in the Scriptures, is not wishful thinking or unreasonable hope. It is a conviction founded on solid evidence.

But faith is more. It is life change. True faith must show itself by works (see the letter of James for his broadside on this issue). When we make faith merely cognitive propositions or cerebral conclusions, our convictions become only internal. Biblical faith is much more than what we think. It is what we do and how we live.

Sheer belief, by itself, is meaningless mental ideas devoid of practical proof. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.” But demons aren’t saved; they aren’t redeemed. However one part of their theology is correct — they are trembling monotheists!

2 Peter 1 is quite clear that we must work out our faith — and this working out is a life-long task. Peter says, 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

We are to work on the additives of Christian faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. Peter says we are to “make every effort to add to your faith . . .”

How’s your addition going? Faith is more than thoughts. It is actions, attitudes, and characteristics of the Lord Jesus!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in practice

 

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