Monday, June 15, 2009

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF REGENERATION
...be diligent to make your calling and election sure

2 Peter 1:3-11
The Source and Standard
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

-The Christian life is all of grace, all of God, all by His divine power. He has called us not to ourselves to simply do our best, but to "His own glory and excellence." Amazing transformation... once sinners hopelessly and helplessly cut off from hope in this world, but now He has granted to us all things pertaining to life and godliness through Jesus Christ our Lord.

-This is based upon one essential thing: "His precious and magnificent promises." It is the result of these promises that we have been made heirs with Christ (partakers of the divine nature) AND we have escaped the corruption in this world and the penalty of sin. Beloved, that is reason enough to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. 
The Supplement
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
-Here is the gracelife of every believer in Jesus. This is the growth of grace in our lives. We haven't arrived at these things nor have we achieved these things by our own initiatives or efforts. This is what Tozer would call "the pursuit of holiness." And that pursuit is one of grace- equipped to do so by His divine power in our lives. Adding to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love is not a human effort in securing our salvation for that is found in Christ alone. It is not the root of our salvation, but the fruit of it. And spiritual fruit can only be produced by the Holy Spirit working in us to do so. 
-What Peter is saying in these verses "be like Jesus." Make Him your aim Christian and ask Him daily to conform you to Himself by grace through faith in Him.
The Struggle
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 

-This is where we live. New creations incarcerated in unredeemed flesh. There is our struggle and daily battle. The very things we want to do, we don't do; and the very things we don't want to do, we do. With Paul we say, "O wretched man am I." And it is for that reason we are in desperate need daily of His sanctifying grace... aren't we? We must guard against spiritual nearsightedness; and we must guard against spiritual amnesia. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling...
The Surety
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-But here is the hope. If these things are evident in our lives through grace by the divine power which is in Christ Jesus alone for His people, we will never fall; and we have the confidence through that which He has richly provided an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Here is the encouragement to you: trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ in your salvation. His divine power is at work in and through you in regeneration. His grace is also a sanctifying grace. Stand in that grace each day. The seven characteristics of our new life in Him may we see in our lives through obedience to His Word. There is a real struggle in our lives each day - but God is greater! Amen? As we pray for the Lord to be evident in our lives, that we would be neither unfruitful nor unproductive, blind or forgetting of all He has done for us in salvation, may we then press on with confidence with surety, fully assured that He who began a good work in us will complete it. 

13 comments:

JOYce ~♥~ said...

Amen ~ I'm very grateful for your gracious sharing of posts such as this.

SJ Camp said...

Thanks Joyce.

What hope and comfort our sin weary souls find in the truths of God's Word.

parsonsipe said...

What a delightful way to start a Monday. Nothing to be spoken but a rousing "Amen"!

The Blainemonster said...

Thanks, Steve. I've been hovering around this passage for the past few weeks off and on. It's so powerful, so hopeful - and stirs up an urge within me to press on, especially when I feel that "incarceration in unredeemed flesh."

Rich Mullins wrote that "on this road to righteousness, sometimes the climb can be so steep, I may falter in my steps, but never beyond Your reach."

How wonderful to know that God provides the source, the supplement and the surety. So cool!

Calvin said...

Great article! Really like the practical theological tone. I can take this with me to work, to home, and to my friends.

Thanks Steve.

SJ Camp said...

parsonsipe
Glad it was an encouragement to you.
Campi

SJ Camp said...

Blaine
"on this road to righteousness, sometimes the climb can be so steep, I may falter in my steps, but never beyond Your reach."

Great lyric my friend. Thank you for sharing it with us here.

SJ Camp said...

Calvin
That was the point of this devotional today. Theology you can wear in real life situations. Your comment blessed me and was answered prayer.

Steve

Michele Rayburn said...

I really enjoyed this post, Steve.

Our dependency on the Lord to grow in grace:

"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is *God* who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)

is much like the dependency we have in the Lord to save us:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

Although we are told to "work out our own salvation" and we are told to "believe", the great mystery of the work of the Holy Spirit is that it is God who is at work in us in our sanctification, and it is God who is at work in us in our salvation.

In both cases, it is like Jesus calling Lazarus forth from the tomb. When He says "Lazarus, come forth!", Lazarus comes forth, not by his own will, but by the will of God. And so it is with our salvation; and so it is with our sanctification.

JOYce ~♥~ said...

Thanks Joyce.

What hope and comfort our sin weary souls find in the truths of God's Word.


Yes, indeed ~♥~

Terry Rayburn said...

Michele,

Good comment.

Jesus commanding Lazarus, and giving him the life and ability to respond at the same time, is often related to our intitial salvation.

But relating the Lazarus account to our ongoing sanctification is a good application of that same command + enablement connection.

Terry Rayburn said...

Regarding sanctification...

Most of the scriptures on sanctification are referring to the sanctification, or "setting apart", that has already been accomplished by God in our salvation.

We have been permanently "sanctified" or "set apart" as children of God.

But that thing we call "progressive sanctification" is widely misunderstood. It's usually thought of as getting more sinless, or growing in obedience.

But that's not the real issue.

A close examination of Scripture will indicate that real growth in the Christian life (sanctification) may be defined as follows:

"Progressive Sanctification is growing in the understanding of the eternal truths of God, and living accordingly."

An example would be Romans 8:28, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose."

If we don't really understand it, appropriate it, "get" it, we will be inclined to worry, to fret, to be anxious about circumstances beyond our control.

But the more we come to really grasp Romans 8:28, the more we will be inclined to rest in the truth that God is working literally all things for our good.

The "living accordingly" of our definition, in the 8:28 example, would be that we would not be inclined to worry, fret, and complain, because we really have appropriated the truth that God is working it all for our good.

That's real sanctification, and it causes us to move *toward* the Lord, not away from Him, thereby increasing our sanctification.

Whereas the old idea of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and "obeying", or "sinning less", as the essence of sanctification, is counterproductive.

Real sanctification, on the other hand, will indeed result in less sinning, because it involves true understanding or appropriation of the eternal truths of God.

Or to put it another way, our minds will have been renewed, resulting in a changed walk.

SJ Camp said...

Terry
Real sanctification, on the other hand, will indeed result in less sinning, because it involves true understanding or appropriation of the eternal truths of God.

Or to put it another way, our minds will have been renewed, resulting in a changed walk.


I fully agree. That is grace-based sanctification as opposed to one that is more performance based sanctification.

Thank you for your thoughts on this important text of Scripture.

Steve