Tuesday, October 21, 2008

II Peter 1:5a You’ve got the tools, now do the job!

The first part of October at work was a lot of “Hurry up and wait” for me. I had a bunch of stuff that I needed to do but could not finish because I was waiting on the organization our team is auditing to get me some information. Finally, about 2 weeks after one guy said he would get a spreadsheet of information that I needed to me, I got some of the information in and was able to do more work. Just imagine, if you will, how my supervisor would have responded if I had just sat there and not worked. I suppose he might have said something like “What are you waiting on? You have everything you need to do your job so let’s get to it”. In much the same way, Peter has spent 4 verses telling us what God has provided for our spiritual development. In this verse, Peter begins to tell us what we should do as a result of that provision.

He writes in verse 5 “Now, for this very reason also”. We have been elected to salvation (“received a faith”), come to a true “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”, been given supernatural power to live the Christian life (“His divine power has granted to us everything that pertains to life and godliness”), and the transforming power of God’s holy written word (v 4). Peter is therefore saying to us that in view of all this that God has given you your response should be to use what God has given. We now have to tools, let’s put them to work.

Notice that just because God has made provision for our spiritual development that we are not passive partners. Peter tells us we should begin by “applying all diligence”. The word translated applying is the Greek word “pareisphero” (3923) which means “to bear in along side, to introduce simultaneously”. God has provided the spiritual tools but it is our responsibility to use them. As the prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon was quoted as having said “God sends every bird his food, but He doesn’t throw it into the nest”. When God gave the children of Israel manna for food they still had to go out and gather it. God has lavishly provided for us all that we need but if we are going to grow spiritually we will have to go about “applying” the effort needed to grow. If we have truly been redeemed and professed saving faith in Christ we should live differently. Evidence of our conversion is seen in our application of the truths in scripture that we are able to understand as the result of the illumination of the Holy Spirit. As noted in the commentary by Jameson, Faucett, and Brown, this word tells us that we should be “introducing side by side with God’s gift on your part diligence”.

The word “spoude” (4710) is translated “diligence”. This word is similar to the one used in 2 Timothy 2:15 where Paul tells Timothy to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, correctly handling the word of truth”. Growing as a Christian toward Christlikeness is hard work. It will take intense regular effort. We can’t just sit around like bumps on a proverbial log and expect to become more like our Lord. We must add or our part. The word carries with it the picture of extraordinary commitment to a person or a cause. We should give our best effort to exercise ourselves toward godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). We can do this by studying our Bible, serving with our spiritual gifts, or encouraging and being encouraged and exhorted by other Christians. As a bible teacher once noted “Peter is calling for an attitude of eagerness and zeal, an abandonment of sluggishness and self-indulgence. Note Peter's addition of the little modifier all (pas = the whole amount or quantity, no holding back) to underline the comprehensiveness of the effort called for. Peter says this is so important that one's effort must be neither half-hearted nor selective. “Christ gave His all to save us. God has given us all we need to become what He has called us to be. Logically, we should give our all by “applying all diligence” in our struggle against the sins and enticements of this world as we seek to draw closer to God and become more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

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