2 Peter 1:1-11. The most genuine, forgiving, kind-hearted message the Bible has taught me: grow in grace.
In this letter to the Christians of the Northern Galatia area, this God-driven grace is applied, talked about, and encouraged to be spread; it is so applicable to who we are as Christians and our habit of checking out of sanctification.
At the Austin Stone, they taught a sermon on the below information. Here is my take on it…
Message #1: CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST SHOWS EQUALITY // CHRISTIANS ARE OF EQUAL STANDING WITH ONE ANOTHER.
Humanity, specifically believers, has a strong habit of doing four things:
- Sin Control: also referred to a pharisaical outlook. The consumption of legalism and rules allows self-righteousness and judgment to grow. Y’all, the law is much tougher than we think. It is a hefty thing to carry and live out but it is so, so worth it when chasing the Kingdom. The problem is, people assume their sins are better than others; people hold themselves to a higher standard than others because they are “better off” or more “righteous”. We are imperfect. So, so imperfect. The only reason we love and are loved is due to grace. Grow in that grace, spread it to others, and remain open-minded and without judgment. All in all, if we have a sense of justification when we are good, we have a sin controlled ideal.
- Become Obsessed With the Sin of Others: at times, we compare our sins to those sins of others in an effort to bring security to ourselves. I have seen this judgment fester in both my Christian and non-Christian friends and ultimately has led so many people away from the grace of Jesus. The Lord commands us to stand in guiding, loving support of one another. Judgment is not grace-driven, and judgment in the name of the Lord is not the Lord.
- Church Pretending: churches, at times, can stuff down their struggles. We only want to repent for some of our sins; we only want to talk about the great life we live because of Jesus. We become more concerned about protecting our reputations than letting our character be molded and reformed to reflect Jesus. It is in the mess that Jesus is glorified, so embrace the mess and learn to fix your messes with Christ alone.
- Rebelling: in our culture, it is so easy to engage in sin and try to convince ourselves that is okay. This occurs a lot with people who are tired: tired of following intense legalism, tired of judgment. When the spirit becomes silent amidst a sin, that is a bad sign (Romans 1).
These four things are so prevalent in our society and within our church, it is hard to feel welcome, good enough, or like you belong. But grace. Everyone’s faith is the same because of the righteousness of Christ, not the righteousness of our own selfish desires. Our worth is established in something SO much greater than us. It is established by something Christ did for us years ago.
Peter enhances this idea in verses 1-2. As he calls out to these people, consumed with these four lifeless things, he remains confident in everyone’s identity through Christ. He says his own faith, an apostle, is of equal standing with these known sinners. That first off develops the Lord’s grace – the people closest to Him and the people farthest from Him stand equally because they KNOW who HE is. Also, if I were Peter, I would not be giving myself any credit. But this is it!!!!! Confidence. Confidence in the life and the identity God has given us.
Message #2: GOD IS WORKING FOR US.
In verse 3, Peter enhances the truth that everything good we have is due to “His divine power”. He is giving us grace constantly and He is giving us everything we need to live a life of grace, which is absolutely crazy because I don’t deserve any of it. He rescues us from corruption, he is working for and with us. The more we know Christ, the more we must look like him. This is essential: focus on being more like Jesus and on being WITH Christ. Because of the Lord’s grace, his free gift to all of us, we must make every effort to supplement our faith with the attributes Jesus possesses. He is working for us, we must work for Him to glorify Him.
Message #3: GROWING IN GRACE REQUIRES GOD’S POWER AND OUR EFFORT.
Grace is what we stand in. Grace is what we live in. We are not beloved because we work, but we are beloved BECAUSE we work to further the kingdom. God expects us to live in love and grace, and Peter beautifully outlines the important attributes to carry this out –
- Virtue: moral excellence, living a life worth intimidating.
- Knowledge: knowing who God is. We’ve made church about moments. We need to grow out our faith always, not just in church. this is how we gain knowledge through Christ.
- Self Control: outcome of knowledge. remain controlled in all sin.
- Steadfastness: Whatever may come, my faith will not be rattled. Or as the song “Even if” by MercyMe so beautifully put, “even if You don’t, my hope is yours alone”.
- Godliness: we truly have everything we need, so let’s use that to make every effort to please God.
- Brotherly Affection: Kindness towards ALL. having strong efforts within your church community. live without judgment.
- Love: ultimate evidence of our faith. Do onto others as they should do to you.
In Verse 10, Peter sums it up pretty darn well: “for if you practice these qualities you will not fall”.
The gospel doesn’t save us from our past lives, but it equips us for our new ones. The price has already been paid everytime we stumble and fall; God has forgiven us. It is what you do through those stumble and falls, it is how you love others, that truthfully shows the Lord.
And this is why these are my many characteristics of 2018. Above all, love. And above that, love for Him.
He is on our side, we are standing in grace, and we are able to glorify Him through it all.