Monday, October 6, 2008

II Peter 1:4c The Amazing Gift of God’s Word part III

As we continue to study this wonderful epistle, I think it’s a good idea to notice patterns in the text and think about how Peter organized what he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. As Peter continues to extol the virtues of God’s holy word in this, our 3rd look at this verse, we notice that he has said that God uses this word to help us grow and develop spiritually and that His word has all that we need to know how to live a life pleasing to God. As we read the next several verses, we observe that this spiritual growth is not a passive activity but rather we should actively seek to become more godly. He finishes this exhortation in verse 11 when he writes “for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” That, brothers and sisters, is our goal. We’re not going to be here on this wretched, sin-filled earth forever. We’re going to arrive in heaven where our God is and be able to rejoice and sing praises forever. However, not everyone who names the name of Christ is going to go to heaven. In fact, as sad as it is, there are going to be people who were big-time church goers who are going to go to hell. Either because they were just faking and they knew it, or they will go because (this is the saddest case) tricked themselves into thinking they were really saved. These people are not going to arrive in heaven. As we look at this verse for the 3rd time, we need to keep in mind that those who “escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” were not all saved.

Peter, the last time we looked at this verse, gave us a look at our future in Christ. He said that we would become “partakers of the divine nature”. In other words, we as Christians will become more and more godly until we finally come into the glorious presence of Christ. That is our future. Here, he gives a look at our past. We who are Christians have come out of a situation much like a car being stuck in a ditch. We were stuck in a ditch of sin, as it were, and we were driving a little old 4 cylinder Honda Civic with bald tires. There was no way we could push, pull, or drive our way out. We were under the wrath of God for our sinful rebellion against Him. However, as Peter writes here, we “escaped” (apopheugo-668) thanks to the grace and love of our heavenly Father. The word means “to escape by flight”. At some point, in order for a person to be saved, they must repent of their sins. They have to come to an understanding of the danger their soul is in and turn to the Savior. Now, this is not necessarily repentance. At this point, the person doesn’t even have to have expressed saving faith. Peter is saying here that we as Christians escaped living a life of sin. However, fleeing a life of sin does not in and of itself prove that a person is a Christian.

All who are going to come to Christ and become partakers of the divine nature must flee “the corruption that is in the world”. Sin contaminates everything that it touches. Because we are still sinners even after we get saved sin is still enticing to us. While our New man wants to do the things that God wants us to do, our Old man is right there saying in a voice that sounds surprisingly like Lee Corso to me “Not so fast, my friend”. We must flee the decay of sin if we are ever going to mature into what God has called us to be. However, simply fleeing from the corruption that is in the world does not prove that someone is actually saved. Ray Boltz, in his interview where he announced his choice to live a life of perversion, said that he turned to the church and to Christianity to try to cure himself of his lust. I believe he probably, for a time, was able to escape that corruption in the world. In a sense, church probably became a sanctuary for him where he felt safe from the temptation of his sin. However, as we have seen in his announcement, simply fleeing the sin did not cure him of it. Why? Because our sin nature is an ever present foe in our bodies that causes us to lust after things that are against the will of God.

Peter writes that the corruption of sin is in the world “by lust”. Our desires and passions are naturally against God and His will. We have to deal with our sinful desires with the Holy Spirit’s help on a daily basis. There is no vacation from this war. We will never cease completely to lust after sinful things in our life. However, we who have escaped the corruption and repented of our sins can know, as Peter writes, that we will be able to grow spiritually and become more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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