Tuesday, December 30, 2008

II Peter 1:10a Christian Growth and Assurance

I can remember when I got saved that I wasn’t discipled very well. I don’t say that as a fault to the church that I got saved in because on the whole Southern Baptist Churches don’t do a very good job of discipling new converts. One of my problems when I first got saved is that when I would sin I would feel as though I had lost my salvation and that I needed to get re-saved. Of course, we know as we read scripture that believers are eternally secure in Jesus Christ and cannot lose their salvation. However, there are other Christians who face the same problem I did and need assurance of their salvation. Peter, in this verse, teaches that we can as Christians have a strong assurance of our salvation. In fact, we can participate in giving ourselves that assurance.

Peter, as we noted in out study of the previous verses, has taught these believers that God has given them everything they need to develop and mature in their faith in His word. They have the tools so they should get to work and do the job. They should seek to exercise their godly characteristics with the help of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Those who do not progress spiritually are proving that they are either not saved or that their spiritual growth has been stunted. In light of these two alternatives, Peter says “Therefore, brethren”. He speaks to them in loving tones and reminds them that they should respond to the truth that he has taught them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Instead of being like someone who is “blind or short-sighted” they should respond out of love as a result of the truth that has been revealed to them. Therefore, he gives them a command.

He tells them to “be all the more diligent”. The word translated “diligent” is “spoudazo” (4704). The word means to give regular, intense effort to a task—to work at something wholeheartedly. It was used to describe an athlete straining all the muscles in his body to win an event. Living a godly life is not going to be easy. To the contrary, it takes supreme effort and sacrifice. Instead of living a life of lazy Christianity, Peter calls these believers to exercise their spiritual muscles. The word is in the imperative in Greek. In other words, Peter isn’t making a suggestion here. This is a command. Don’t just sit there—let’s get to work, brothers and sisters.

What should we be diligent about? To what end should we exert this effort Peter has called for us to make? He says that we are to “make certain about His calling and choosing” of us. In the Greek, the phrase “make certain” is stated in such a way as if to say “you yourselves make certain”. We are called to begin and participate in the action. We are not to passively sit by but rather we are to be involved in obtaining this assurance Peter is speaking of in this verse. By exercising the godly characteristics that he mentions in the previous verses under the influence and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can have assurance of our salvation. Let’s face it, the qualities Peter describes in verses 5-7 and not things that are going to start showing up in our lives in increasing quantities on their own. If we see them, exercise them, and they are increasing it is due to the work of God in our lives. It doesn’t just happen on it’s own. We can tell in our own lives that we belong to God because of the kind of lives that we live.

While we can rejoice in the fruit we see in our lives based on the mighty work of God we can also be humbled when we recognize that our salvation and growth as children of God was not the result of our own choice to come to faith in Christ but rather it is a result of God’s “calling and choosing” us. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. Every human heart is bent on rebellion and does not want to nor can it come to God. We were the lost sheep. We were the lost coin. We did not go seeking for God but rather He called us to Himself for His own glory and because it was His will to do so. He chose us before the foundation of the world. Our salvation and growth as a Christian is ultimately the result of a Holy and Sovereign God who chose to show grace and mercy to creatures who deserved punishment in hell. Praise His holy name.

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