Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Coming of Christ Part 5

This is the final post in my series on Matthew 2. I pray just as the magi found what they were looking for and rejoice that you too will find joy in this season where we celebrate the birth of Christ.


There is nothing in the universe that will satisfy the human heart like Jesus. People try to find the ultimate pleasure in success, money, physical relationships, power, possessions, and many other things. However, the only way to truly enjoy life to the fullest and find true, lasting satisfaction is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only when we humble ourselves and worship Him as our God will we ever truly feel lasting joy. In our scripture passage today, the wise men from the east find just that kind of joy when they find and worship the Lord Jesus.

As we read the scripture, we find that after they conversed with Herod the Great as to how long the star had been appearing, they left immediately. Verse 9 records that when they had heard the king, they departed. These guys were on a mission. They were focused and persistent. They had made a long, probably dangerous, journey and they were very close to their goal. As we read earlier in this chapter, these men had come on this journey to worship God. As impressive as Herod’s court likely was to these foreign dignitaries, it was not enough to delay them from their ultimate goal,

We also note in that verse that these men searched persistently. The verse records that the star which they had seen in the east went before them till it came and stood over where the young Child was. These wise men had followed this star all the way from the east and knew it to be a supernatural sign from God that pointed to the birthplace of the Messiah. They persistently followed this sign. This sign was available to all the citizens of Jerusalem and certainly to the religious leaders. However, these Jews were not the ones to go and greet the Messiah. Instead, these Gentile astrologers were the ones followed this star to the King of kings.

Because they had found the One they were looking for, they were overcome with happiness and rejoiced with exceedingly great joy as Matthew records in verse 10. They weren’t just happy to have found Him. They had joy on top of joy. They were ecstatic. We can imagine these men having spent their whole life pursuing meaningless, empty truth. At some point, they must have been able to read and learn the Hebrew Scriptures because they knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah. At some point, they felt a desire to search for the Truth and find the God who would come as Messiah. While we do not have recorded the particulars of how or why they began their search, they must have gone in response to the Word of God. They found the fulfillment of the prophecies they had read and were overjoyed.

Their joy is ultimately expressed in their worship. Worship should be a natural expression of our love for God. These men, upon seeing God in human flesh, fell down and worshipped Him. We see in verse 11 as much as anywhere the true motivation behind the journey of these men. Yes, we had heard them say they were here to worship, but here we see them express their feelings by their actions. I know in churches sometimes people will stand with the congregation during the hymns and not sing. Perhaps they feel that singing is reserved for those who have beautiful voices. I submit to you that after what God has done for us by choosing us and sending His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins, we should sing no matter how we sound. We should worship through our giving, through our service, and through out attention as His Word is preached to us. Praise God for the example of these Gentile men who fell prostrate before our Lord and worshipped Him as God Almighty. We also observe that they gave Him gifts that recognized His Kingship, His Priesthood, and His role as sacrifice by giving him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We should reflect on their sacrificial giving and recognize that worship is only truly worship when it is performed out of love from a heart that is thankful. When we remember the grace of God and how He drew us to Himself, our hearts should rejoice as these men’s hearts did and that joy should overflow into love and praise for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Coming of Christ part 4

I will be posting the exposition I did a few years ago of Matthew 2. I felt it particularly appropriate for this time of year. I pray that you are encouraged.


In Genesis Chapter 3, we read about the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. When God pronounced His curse on the serpent, He said that the Seed of the woman would crush his (Satan’s) head while Satan would bruise the Seed’s heel. This conflict between Satan and God is carried on throughout Scripture. Time and time again, we find Satan attempting to thwart the plan of God to bring salvation to the world. Time and time again, we find Satan used the same means in his attempt to do so. Through various means, he tried to kill the Jewish people since the promised Messiah would be Jewish. We see in the book of Exodus, the wicked Pharaoh was motivated to kill all the Jewish males in an attempt to exterminate the Jewish race. In the book of Esther, we see Haman try to have the Jewish race killed by the King of the Medeo-Persian Empire. Although we know Satan has no way to be able to defeat the plans of God, we see examples in scripture of him trying to do just that. In Matthew chapter 2, we see this all too familiar strategy attempted again by this wicked Roman ruler.

We can see how carefully Herod the Great laid his evil plan out. We see in verse 7 of chapter 2 that he secretly called the wise men. Most of the time, if someone is trying to do something secretly, it’s usually not something good. Oh, sure, someone could be trying to set up a surprise party or hide a Christmas gift for someone special. However, most of the time, if someone wants something hidden it is because it is something they are ashamed for people to see. We know the end of this story and what Herod wanted to do to our Lord Jesus. Even if we didn’t already know that, however, the facts we know in history and what we have read so far in chapter 2 would cause us to be suspicious at his secret consultation with these wise men. We also observe the manner in which he questioned them about the star. The verse records that he determined from them what time the star appeared. In the Greek, the way determined is used indicates that he thoroughly questioned them to find out precisely how long the star had been appearing in the sky. This same word is translated carefully in the next verse. Herod wanted to make sure he knew not only where his target was but how long he had been alive. We see him methodically planning and plotting with a sinister precision that would even impress Lex Luthor.
I bet Herod didn't have an evil plan laugh--"Bwahaha"
In fact, his method of planning his crime is not the only way he resembles a comic book villain. He even employs henchmen. I imagine once he found out where the Child was born, he thought it would be too obvious or cause too much of a scene if he went there himself. Perhaps he was afraid the people would revolt against him in favor of this new King. Whatever his motivations, he did not travel to Jerusalem himself. Instead, verse 8 records that Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem with instructions to search carefully for the young Child and when they found Him he wanted them to bring back word to him. Again, he wanted no stone left unturned. His instructions were for them to make a thorough, accurate, exhaustive search to find exactly where this new King was living. This agent of Satan did not want to miss his intended target. In the ultimate act of hypocrisy, he tells them that he, too, wants to worship the Christ. We should remember that not every person who claims to be a Christian is truly a Christian. People use the name of Christ and the church sometimes to try to hide their less than pure motives. The epistles are replete with examples of false teachers who try to use their ministry for their own greedy purposes. I know that sort of thing still happens today. What we see in Herod, then, is just another example of a lost person trying to use religion as a cloak for his own sinful desires.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Coming of Christ Part 3

I will be posting my exposition of Matthew 2 over the new few weeks in anticipation of the celebration of our Lord's birth this season. I pray that you are encouraged.


We observed in the last study of Matthew 2 how the birth of our Lord Jesus caused uneasiness in the heart of Herod the Great and the people in Jerusalem. The advent of the Prince of Peace caused them to panic for different reasons. Herod was afraid of a political rival and the people were afraid of Herod. However, one would expect the religious leaders, who were fervently anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, to have a proper response. Surely, they would praise God for finally sending the “Consolation of Israel” and fall down to worship Christ. We will see, as we study God’s word that, sadly, this is not the case.

We read in verse 4 of the text that Herod gathered all the chief priest and scribes of the people together and he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. This was a fairly startling move for this man and it reveals something of his motivations. We know that the news that One had been born King of the Jews troubled him. We also know that he was not Jewish and from things we can read in history he was not a person of faith. We know, therefore, that the reason for his inquiry was not godly nor were his motives pure. In fact, being a Roman official and an outsider to Jewish life, he actually condescended himself in asking this information from the chief priests and scribes. Josephus records that when Herod was named the Roman provincial governor of Jerusalem, he killed many of the scribes that were in Jerusalem. He, like most Romans, felt these people in Jerusalem were beneath him. Therefore, it must have humbled him to have had to ask these people for this information. He appears willing to humble himself somewhat if it means that he can thwart the Messiah’s rise to power.

He certainly looked for the information in the right place. We observe that he inquired of the chief priests. There was only one chief priest ordained at a time so, in reality, this could have included not only the current chief priest but also so of his predecessors. The priesthood had become something of a political office and sometimes they were disposed of at the whim of the local governor. These men were responsible for the service and maintenance of the temple. As such, they were important figures in Jewish life and could actually only come from one family. The scribes were the lawyers. They were professionals who devoted their time to the study of the law. In short, Herod called together the religious and judicial leaders of the nation in his haste to find out where his rival was born.

The fact that he was able to find any of these men should come as a surprise to us. They had just heard the news that the star announcing the birth of the Messiah had been seen by the magi. They knew the scriptures. If anyone in the city of Jerusalem should have been running to greet the Lord, it should have been these men. Instead, we find them having been assembled by this godless, evil man to assist him in his attempt to find the Messiah. They were able to do this with no trouble at all. Quite simply, scripture records that they said to him “In Bethlehem of Judea” and they noted that it was written by the prophet. They quoted the substance of the prophecy. Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. They also recognized the source of the prophecy was the revelation of God through His prophet. These guys could have made 100 on a Bible pop quiz. If they were on Jeopardy and the category was “Old Testament” and they hit the daily double, they could confidently say “I’ll bet all of it, Alex.” They knew, in a head knowledge kind of way, everything that a person needed to know to understand the significance of the birth of Christ. Instead of seeking Him our, they were indifferent. They were content to be called as consultants to this Gentile king who they hated rather than welcome their one, true King.

They even go so far as to quote from the Old Testament to substantiate their claim. In my day job, I’m an auditor. That is an accountant that has specialized in the task of telling other accountants how to do their jobs. Basically, when an auditee presents me with information, I never take their word for it. I always look for corroborating evidence. In a sense, that is what these men do here. They quote from Micah 5:2. We see in their quotation that is recorded in Matthew 2:6 that they knew the humble beginnings of the Messiah (You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah.) They also know from Scripture the character of the Messiah. They quote that the Messiah shall be a Ruler. The word ruler translates the Greek word hegeomai which means leader and has the sense of royalty. However, even though He would be the Messiah and would rule with a rod of iron, as noted in Revelation 19:15, He would be tender and compassionate with his subjects. These men further quoted that this Ruler would shepherd My people, Israel. We know that in the book of John, Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd in chapter 10 and David proudly proclaimed that the Lord was his Shepherd in the 23rd Psalm. There is no more selfless, tireless kind of caretaker than a shepherd and that is exactly the kind of Messiah that was revealed in this prophecy.

These men knew all these things. They knew where He was to be born and, after the visit of the magi, they knew when He was born. Instead of going to look for Him, they remained in their lofty positions of power and influence in Jerusalem. Friends, let us pay careful attention to this. A person can know a lot about Jesus and the Bible and be lost as a goose. I would dare say there may well be some very well educated theologians that go straight into Hell and not all of them may be liberals. It isn’t head knowledge that saves a man or a woman but a real relationship with Jesus Christ. These men, by their indifference to the Messiah, prove their lack of a true faith in God.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fundamental Friday's--The Fallacies of Higher Criticism Part VI

In the early 1900's. a twelve volume work on theology titled The Fundamentals was published. This massive work, in my most humble of opinions, is just as relevant today if not more so with the ever increasing attacks on the faith of Christians--and that's just from folks inside the church. I wanted to publish some excerpts from this work that I think will be greatly encouraging to you.

The Psalms are usually dated by the higher critics after the exile. The great majority of the higher critics are agreed here, and tell us that these varied and .touching and magnificent lyrics of religious experience all come to us from a period later than 450 B. C. A few of the critics admit an earlier origin of three or four of them, but they do this waveringly, grudgingly, and against the general consensus of opinion among their fellows. In the Bible a very large number of the Psalms are ascribed to David, and these, with a few insignificant and doubtful exceptions, are denied to him and brought down, like the rest, to the age of the second temple. This leads me to the following observations:

1. Who wrote the Psalms? Here the higher critics have no answer. Of the period from 400 to 175 B. C, we are in almost total ignorance. Josephus knows almost nothing about it, nor has any other writer told us more. Yet, according to the theory, it was precisely in these centuries of silence: when the Jews had no great writers, that they produced this magnificent outburst of sacred song.

2. This is the more remarkable when we consider the well known men to whom the theory denies the authorship of any of the Psalms. The list includes such names as Moses, David, Samuel, Nathan, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the long list of preexilic prophets. We are asked to believe that these men composed no Psalms, and that the entire collection was contributed by men so obscure that they have left no single name by which we can identify them with their work.

3. This will appear still more extraordinary if we consider the times in which, it is said, no Psalms were produced, and contrast them with the times in which all of them were produced. The times in which none were produced were the great times, the times of growth, of mental ferment, of conquest, of imperial expansion, of disaster, and of recovery. The times in which none were produced were the times of the splendid temple of Solomon, with its splendid worship. The times in which none were produced were the heroic times of Elijah and Elisha, when the people of Jehovah struggled for their existence against the abominations of the pagan gods. On the other hand, the times which actually produced them were the times of growing legalism, of obscurity, and of inferior abilities. All this is incredible.
4. Very many of the Psalms plainly appear to be ancient. They sing of early events, and have no trace of allusion to the age which is said to have produced them.

5. The large number of Psalms attributed to David have attracted the special attention of the higher critics. They are denied to him on various grounds. He was a wicked man, and hence incapable of writing these praises to the God of righteousness. He was an iron warrior and statesman, and hence not gifted with the emotions found in these productions. He was so busy with the cares of conquest and administration that he had no leisure for literary work. Finally, his conception of God was utterly different from that which moved the psalmists.

The larger part of this catalogue of inabilities is manifestly erroneous. David, with some glaring faults, and with a single enormous crime, for which he was profoundly penitent, was one of the noblest of men. He was indeed an iron warrior and statesman, but also one of the most emotional of all great historic characters. He was busy, but busy men nest seldom find relief in literary occupations, as Washington, during the Revolutionary War, poured forth a continual tide of letters, and as Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, and Gladstone, while burdened with the cares of empire, composed immortal books. The conception of God with which David began his career was indeed narrow (1 Sam. 26:19) . But did he learn nothing in all his later experiences, and his associations with holy priests and prophets? He was certainly teachable: did God fail to make use of him in further revealing Himself to His people? To deny these Psalms to David on the ground of his limited views of God in his early life, is this not to deny that God made successive revelations of Himself wherever He found suitable channels? If, further, we consider the unquestioned skill of David in the music of his nation and his age (1 Sam. 16:14-23), this will constitute a presupposition in favor of his interest in sacred song. If, finally, we consider his personal career of danger and deliverance, this will appear as the natural means of awakening in him the spirit of varied religious poetry. His times were much like the Elizabethan period, which ministered unexampled stimulus to the English mind.

From all this we may turn to the singular verdict of Professor Jordan: "If a man says he cannot see why David could not have written Psalms 51 and 139, you are compelled to reply as politely as possible that if he did write them then any man can write anything." So also we may say, "as politely as possible," that if Shakespeare, with his "small Latin and less Greek," did write his incomparable dramas, "then any man can write anything'"; that if Dickens, with his mere elementary education, did write his great novels, "then any man can write anything"; and that if Lincoln, who had no early schooling, did write his Gettysburg address, "then any man can write anything."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Coming of Christ part 2

The celebration of the birth of our Lord is just around the corner. I will be reposting over the new few weeks exposition that I did a few years ago of Matthew Chapter 2. I hope you are encouraged.


Matthew records that when Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled. The word, translated troubled is the Greek word tarasso and it means to agitate, disturb, or stir up. It is used to describe the emotional condition of the disciples when Jesus walked on the water to meet them in the boat during a storm. It is also used in John chapter 5 to describe water being stirred. One might say that the things he heard from the questioning magi caused him to fret. We should ask ourselves “Why?” Why would news of this sort cause this man to be agitated?

The answer lies in history. The Jews had been under foreign rule since about 500 years before Christ’s birth when the Babylonians invaded Judah and conquered the people, Rule passed from Babylon to Medo-Persia to Greece and, finally, to Rome. The Jewish people hated being under the control of a foreign ruler and, as such, were somewhat difficult to control. Occasional revolts against their rulers were not uncommon. So Herod was in a tense political environment, to say the least. He was a descendent of Esau and, therefore, a foreigner. Therefore, the Jews hated him and he knew that.

In addition to the tense political situation, we have to remember that Herod was a ruthless, power mad despot. He killed two of his sons and their mother because he feared they were a threat to his power. Upon being promoted to king in Jerusalem by the Romans one of his first official actions was to kill many religious leaders in Jerusalem. The Jews knew him to be ruthless. He was also wildly ambitious and jealous. Therefore, when he heard the magi were asking about the one who had been born King of the Jews, he was thrown into a jealous fit. He couldn’t stand the thought of someone else bearing his title and he feared the people of Jerusalem would support the usurper.

We see, however, the people did not have the reaction he feared that they would. In fact, Matthew records that all Jerusalem was troubled with him. Of course, we know that they were aware of the evil this man who had been set over them as king was capable of because of his ruthlessness and cruelty. However, all Jewish people were expectantly hoping for the arrival of the Messiah. They knew His arrival was imminent because of the prophecy in Daniel 9:25. Their hearts longed for what they expected to be a political emancipation from foreign rule. Instead of rushing out to find where this Messiah was born, we see that they are troubled. In contrast to Gentile philosopher kings who brought word that the promised Messiah had been born and traveled many hundreds of miles to do so, God’s chosen people, the Jews, wouldn’t so much as travel less than 20 miles to their south to find their true King. Their fear of this Gentile king led them to ignore their Messiah who was God in human flesh. Instead of turning in faith to God, they kept their eyes on their circumstances and robbed themselves of the joy of greeting their Messiah.

Which side do you and I fall on? Are we like the Jews who were so worried about their circumstances to seek after God? Or do we have the faith of the wise men who followed a star on a treacherous journey because they were desperate to find God. Do we allow worldly concerns to become more important than seeking God and His Truth, no matter how hard the voyage.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fundamental Friday's--The Fallacies of Higher Criticism Part V

In the early 1900's. a twelve volume work on theology titled The Fundamentals was published. This massive work, in my most humble of opinions, is just as relevant today if not more so with the ever increasing attacks on the faith of Christians--and that's just from folks inside the church. I wanted to publish some excerpts from this work that I think will be greatly encouraging to you.

The limitation of the field of research as far as possible to the biblical books as literary productions has rendered many of the higher critics reluctant to admit the new light derived from archaeology. This is granted by Cheyne. ["Bible Problems," page 142.] "I have no wish to deny," he says, "that the so-called `higher critics' in the past were as a rule suspicious of Assyriology as a young, and, as they thought, too self-assertive science, and that many of those who now recognize its contributions to knowledge are somewhat too mechanical in the use of it, and too skeptical as to the influence of Babylonian culture in relatively early times in Syria, Palestine and even Arabia." This grudging recognition of the testimony of archaeology may be observed in several details.

1. It was said that the Hexateuch must have been formed chiefly by the gathering up of oral traditions, because it is not to be supposed that the early Hebrews possessed the art of writing and of keeping records. But the entire progress of archaeological study refutes this. In particular the discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets has shown that writing in cuneiform characters and in the Assyrio-Babylonian language was common to the entire biblical world long before the exodus. Other finds have added their testimony to the fact that writing and the preservation of records were the peculiar passions of the ancient civilized world.

2. It was easy to treat Abraham as a mythical figure when the early records of Babylonia were but little known. The entire coloring of those chapters of Genesis which refer to Mesopotamia could be regarded as the product of the imagination. This is no longer the case. Thus Clay, writing of Genesis 14, says: "The theory of the late origin of all the Hebrew Scriptures prompted the critics to declare this narrative to be a pure invention of a later Hebrew writer. The patriarchs were relegated to the region of myth and legend. Abraham was made a fictitious father of the Hebrews. Even the political situation was declared to be inconsistent with fact. Weighing carefully the position taken by the critics in the light of what has been revealed through the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions, we find that the very foundations upon which their theories rest, with reference to the points that could be tested, totally disappear. The truth is, that wherever any light has been thrown upon the subject through excavations, their hypotheses have invariably been found wanting.

3. The books of Joshua and judges have been regarded by the higher critics as unhistorical on the ground that their portraiture of the political, religious, and social condition of Palestine in the thirteenth century B. C. is incredible. This cannot be said any longer, for the recent excavations in Palestine have shown us a land exactly like that of these books. The portraiture is so precise that it cannot be the product of oral tradition floating down through a thousand years.

4. It was held by the higher critics that the legislation which we call Mosaic could not have been produced by Moses, since his age was too early for such codes. This reasoning was completely negatived by the discovery of the code of Hammurabi, the Amraphelt [0n this matter see any dictionary of the Bible, art. "Amraphel."] of Genesis 14. This code is very different from that of Moses; it is more systematic; and it is at least seven hundred years earlier than the Mosaic legislation.

In short, from the origin of the higher criticism till this present time the discoveries in the field of archaeology have given it a succession of serious blows. The higher critics were shocked when the passion of the ancient world for writing and the preservation of documents was discovered. They were shocked. when primitive Babylonia appeared as the land of Abraham. They were shocked when early Palestine appeared as the and of Joshua and the Judges. They were shocked when Amraphel came back from the grave as a real historical character, bearing his code of laws. They were shocked when the stele of the Pharaoh of the exodus was read, and it was proved that he knew a people called Israel, that they had no settled place of abode, that they were "without grain" for food, and that in these particulars they were quite as they are represented by the Scriptures to have been when they had fled from Egypt into the wilderness. The embarrassment created by these discoveries is manifest in many of the recent writings of the higher critics, in which, however, they still cling heroically to their analysis and their late dating of the Pentateuch and their confidence in the hypothesis of evolution as the key of all history.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

II Peter 3:14 Four Imperatives of a Forward Looking Faith Part 1

As Peter comes to close out his marvelous epistle, he gives his readers four imperatives, directions to follow, to help them as they endure the false teachers that he has told them will be coming their way (2:1). In short, because Peter knows he won’t be around forever, he wants to make sure these people, his spiritual children, know how to defend themselves against the destructive heresies of false teachers. You and I, even 2,000 years later, need to be doing the same thing. False doctrine is being sold in the church today and being bought at an alarming rate. We must be prepared just as Peter’s audience was told to be prepared to resist this theological poison.

First of all, Peter bases these commands on the proclamations of the preceding verses. Since we are looking to a future deliverance from a corrupted world of sin to a perfect, sinless, eternal home in heaven, we should live differently. Peter says, “since you look for these things”. In other words, the truth that this world is temporary and will be judged but our future home in heaven is eternal and will be undefiled should affect us. If we’re truly born again, we can’t read that truth, understand it, and remain as we are where we are. Because the Holy Spirit indwells born again believers, our whole perspective and nature is radically different from the rest of the world. The truth we know will affect the way we live.

What effect should it have on our lives? Quite frankly, we should be eagerly seeking to become more like Christ and looking for opportunities to spread the gospel. Peter here uses the same phrase he used in chapter 1 verse 10 commanding his readers to “be diligent”. Certainly we are saved by grace through faith alone and not by works (Romans 3:28). However, true faith will demonstrate itself in works (James 2:17). We are also called to study scripture with diligence (II Timothy 2:15). In short, the life of a Christian is one of exerting maximum effort like a running back straining for those last few yards. We are called to expend this effort here by Peter as we progress in our sanctification.

To what end do we expend this effort—why does Peter command his readers, and by extension us, to diligence in our walk? First of all, this diligence leads to our assurance of true salvation, as he also noted in 1:10. We are called to be found “by Him”, that is, in Christ. Just as the author of Hebrews warned his readers about falling away and abandoning their profession of faith, we would be wise to remind ourselves that salvation is not only a point but a process. In other words, it is those who remain true to their faith in Jesus Christ who are saved. If someone makes a profession of faith and turns away from the faith they are not proving that someone can lose their salvation but rather they show they were never saved to begin with. We shouldn’t confidently rest on a prayer that we prayed as a child as proof that we’re saved. Rather, we should be diligent to be found in Christ so as to realize our full salvation.

The only way to pursue that is to live a life by faith that is pleasing to God. Peter says his readers need to strive to be found by Christ in “peace, spotless and blameless”. I would say that “spotless and blameless” are descriptions of how one is found at peace by the Lord. The only way to have peace with God is to have your sins forgiven, thereby being declared spotless and blameless. The only way to have your sins forgiven is by faith in the finished work of Christ. Obviously, if someone is living with this kind of faith and seeking diligently to lead a life pleasing to God, they will repent of sins in their life. They will devote themselves to seeking the Holy Spirit’s power in defeating sin and seek to walk in a God honoring manner.

As we read this exhortation by Peter, we should remind ourselves that our faith is a forward looking faith. We should seek, as Peter says, to be found by Christ having a saving faith that is attested to by our life. In the end, that is the only true was to have assurance of salvation.