Tuesday, April 12, 2011

II Peter 3:18 Four Imperatives of a Forward Looking Faith Part IV

Scripture tells us that we, who have trusted Christ to save us, are new creatures (II Corinthians 5:17). In fact, Ephesians 2:1 tells us prior to our conversion we were dead. So, not only are we new creatures, we’re new creatures who went from being stone cold dead to being alive. Now, living things have certain characteristics in common. One of those characteristics is growth. Living things grow. My children, a flower, a colony of bacteria, and a puppy dog will all grow during their lifetimes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that one of the four final imperatives that Peter leaves with his audience is the command that they should grow.

Notice, that the command he gives is a present imperative. In other words, he is calling them to a lifestyle—this should be a pattern of life for a believer. Living things grow and if they’re not growing, they’re dead. Because we have gone from being dead in our sins spiritually to being made alive with Christ spiritually, we should grow spiritually. However, observe with me that this is a command. We’re told to do this. Now, the question becomes then “How?”

The key, I think, is in the next phrase we read. Peter says we are to grow “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” As we read that, we might still question “Ok, how?” If we remember, though, Peter’s opening address in the first chapter of this book, where he told us in verse 4 that “by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature”. His precious and magnificent promises are recorded in the word of God. Therefore, we can conclude from what Peter has told us that the answer to the question “How” that we have asked is the word of God. Brothers and sisters, it has the power to change lives. A Christian simply cannot study the Bible and remain unchanged. When we encounter the truth of scripture, we are hearing God speak to us through that truth. Consequently, for us to grow in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord” we must meditate and study the deep, rich truths of scripture and apply that truth to our lives as we seek to live out the faith that we profess.

And by doing so, we glorify God. And make no mistake about it, friend, Jesus is God. Jesus was God incarnate—fully God and fully man. As we ponder all the wonderful things Peter has taught us in this epistle, we need to remember these are that Peter was an orthodox Jew who was raised to worship only God. Therefore, for him to leave his boat and follow Jesus was surprising. For him to stand up and preach on the day of Pentecost, though, was earth shattering. He was able to write this epistle, extolling the word of God and raking false teachers over the proverbial coals, for one simple reason. He recognized that Jesus was not just a great teacher or some moral guru. Rather, he came to realize that Jesus was God. Therefore, he could say, and we should join with him, that to Jesus belongs “the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”


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