A FAITH THAT WORKS THROUGH LOVE
2 Peter 1:1-9 (New International Reader's Version)
1- I, Simon Peter, am writing this letter. I serve Jesus Christ. I am his apostle.
I am sending this letter to you who have received a faith as valuable as ours.
You received it because our God and Savior Jesus Christ does what is right and fair for everyone.
2-May more and more grace and peace be given to you. May they come to you as you learn more about God and about Jesus our Lord.
3-God's power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us.
He chose us because of his own glory and goodness.
4-He has also given us his very great and valuable promises.
He did it so you could share in his nature.
He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world.
That evil is caused by sinful longings.
5-So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith.
To goodness, add knowledge.
6-To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves.
To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going.
To the strength to keep going, add godliness.
7-To godliness, add kindness to believers.
And to kindness to believers, add love.
8-You should possess more and more of those good points.
They will make you useful and fruitful as you get to know our Lord Jesus Christ better.
9-But what if some of you do not have those good points?
Then you can't see very well. You are blind.
You have forgotten that your past sins have been washed away.
In this Scripture Peter is exhorting Believers to grow in their spiritual lives…
Peter begins his discussion by dealing with the basis of growth, which is twofold.
The first thing that is basic for spiritual growth is found in verse 3 and it is God’s power.
Verse 3-God's power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us.
The word “power” in the GR. Is “Dunamis”; miraculous power, might, strength)
God has promised divine power for spiritual growth.
We do not and can not live the Christian life in our own strength.
God empowers us through the indwelling power of the Spirit who makes us into living witnesses.
Acts 1:8 Jesus said; “but you will receive power (dunamas) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Jesus would have said it this way if this took place here in Rutland.
“but you will receive power (dunamas) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Rutland, and in all New England and The United States Of America, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Peter shares some remarkable things about how to live out the Christian life here in our main text.. You will notice that they already have obtained precious faith (Verse 1), and have been made partakers of the divine nature.(obtained an equal privilege of the divine nature)
This is a very good beginning, being a partaker by faith, but it is not to be rested in, as if we were already perfect.
Notice in verse 3 that Peter writes that we now possess everything we need to live for, and to serve God with.
These provisions are in place because we know the One (Jesus Christ), and because He has called us by his glorious goodness.
In these provisions that God has given to us there contains according to verse 4,
great and valuable promises or exceedingly great and precious promises.”
The words “exceeding and great” are
translated from a single Greek word. The English equivalent
is “mega” and is used to describe something super colossal
or extraordinarily huge.
These provisions, or gifts, show us two things;
First that we can share in God's nature
It is through the Ten Commandments that God reveals His very own nature and character.
The Ten Commandments as given on Mount Sinai are a reflection of God's nature in that they also contain universal and unchanging principles of morality and describe our relationship to God and our fellow human beings.
In Ephesians 4:24 the Apostle Paul writes; “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
In 1John 3:2 the Apostle John writes; “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.
We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
This new self in the likeness of God's nature is produced in each of God's children by the Holy Spirit as we yield to Him.
The second provision is that we won't be ruined by the world with it's evil desires.
We all have known people ruined by worldly evil desires. This new nature, or new self we have received through Christ will keep us from ruining our lives, living in the world, and giving into evil desires.
This new nature will help us to live above the entanglements of the world. It is the power, the (dunimas) of God at work in the life of the Believer.
We will never experience in the fullness of God’s power, and His enabling power in our lives if we are facing our trials and tribulations in our own strength.
Ephesians 2:3 Paul writes; “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
Because we have these blessings and provisions,
we should do our best to add some very important things to our faith.
Real, impacting, effectual faith will have results, and it will be lived out!
Faith is received alone, but it does not stand alone; it is to be shown in our works.
Faith will be backed up by the proof that it is present in a person.
If there is no proof, there is a good chance that the vessel is empty of faith.
If the label says “coke,” and when you open it and pour it in a glass, all that comes out is “chicken feathers,” you may come to the conclusion that the label and contents do not measure up to each other.
This is the same case with regards to faith. Faith is given and received by Christ’s work of grace alone, then that faith is worked out in our daily lives.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:12; “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
(give yourselves to working out your salvation with fear in your hearts; BIBE)
As we read in in the book of James 2:14-26, James’ makes a point that salvation in itself does not require works, or an effort to receive it, or even to cement it; rather, real faith will result in an outcome that backs it up. (that is Good works)
Real genuine faith will be lived out in the believer’s life, in the way he thinks, his words, and in his actions.
From the realization of who we are in Christ, Faith will create initiative that will be lived out in our every day lives, in Him, through His power, and because of our convictions.
Notice back in our text in 1Peter 1:1-9
Our relationship with God begins with faith, and ends up with love, from something that is a substance of things hoped for,(Heb 11:1) to having the love of God poured into our hearts,. (Rom 5:5) and flowing out through the Believer to touch this hurting world.
All these things mentioned are also the fruit coming forth out of our lives because of our relationship with the Lord which stimulates them to grow in our lives. (see Galatians 5:22-23 )
The word “ADD” in verse 5 is from the Greek word that we get our English words “choreography” and “chorus”.
If all these seven graces are added, it will result in the harmony of the soul. A good choir or chorus always reaches harmony.
To your faith, add goodness;(character, moral excellence, or virtue ) that is as you are growing in your faith, develop goodness .
To your goodness, add knowledge; that is in exercising goodness,develop knowledge. (a understanding way, or intelligence)
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
To your knowledge, add self-control; ( temperance, or a quiet mind to self-control ) that is in growing in knowledge, we are to allow God to develop self control in us.
To your self-control, add patience;( steadfastness, temperance, endurance )
that is in developing self control, we are to allow God to develop more patient in us.
To your patience, add Godliness ; that is as we are becoming more patient, we are to begin to serve God by living Godly lives.
To your Godliness, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; that is while we becoming more like Jesus in our character, we are to become kind to others.
To kindness to believers, add love.
That is while we are becoming more kind to one another, we are to begin to exercise Christian love (the love of God).
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ( Romans 5:5 )
It all starts with faith; as Paul wrote to timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
There is a promise for those who possess these 7 things
They will make you useful (not inactive, or idle) and fruitful (not barren) as you get to know our Lord Jesus Christ better.” (Verse 8)
The consequences for not pursuing these 7 things
But anyone who does not have these things. He is blind and has forgotten that he was made clean from his past sins.” ( 2Peter 1:9 )
We can say, therefore, that a person without these vital qualities of v 5-7 suffers from spiritual blindness since they do not see reality, life, or the Christian experience as God sees them.
They are shortsighted, “even to the point of blindness. They cannot see beyond this life and cannot see the need to add these things to their faith.
They are blind to the spiritual truths which they need to grasp in order to function properly in this present world.
They become like a blind man, lacking either cane or guide-dog, they trips and stumbles constantly.
As Christians, It is important that we see the need to put these things into practice in our everyday lives!
See verse 10; “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.”
For if you do these things, you will never fall.
NASV for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.
Wouldn’t it be great if, as Christians, we would never stumble?
Peter tells us a way to accomplish that task. He says that if we add to our faith these 7 things things he listed, we will never stumble.
Remember, Peter wrote by inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
This is awesome! God has revealed to us a way to never stumble, or fall.
What more motivation does the Christian need to put these things into practice.
In Galatians 5:6 Paul write; “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
We have the responsibility to practice our faith. We are not great at it at the start.
Just like learning to drive a car, or play a piano, it takes time to master, no matter how talented we may be.
We have to work at it by; learning, absorbing, and then applying what we have learned.
The point here is that moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly affection, and Godly love, make us effective, fruitful, servants of the Lord.
Isn't that what we all want as Christians?
Philippians 4:3 Paul writes,” I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
So if we are truly Christians then we have no excuse not to develop these in our personal lives with the help of The Holy Spirit.
God has done many wonderful things for us by saving us from our sin and by strengthening and empowering us in our Christian lives.
He has, as Peter says, given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” He has given us “exceedingly great and precious promises” that not only secure our future in Heaven, but bless our lives even now.
As you know, our salvation was itself a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8 says; ''For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone boast.”
So I am not saying that our good works can save us, they can not, and no one can get into Heaven because of their good works.
Our good works come forth out of a changed heart that has been cleansed from sin by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. ;
The power and the supernatural ability to live the Christian life comes not from us, but from God, from the Holy Spirit who indwells us, but that does not mean we are released from all human responsibility.
Christians who are saved by grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit are obligated to God to work together with Him, and cooperate with Him, as He conforms us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He demands something from us. That is the bottom line of this message: the human responsibility of the child of God.
It seems that the only Scripture that many Christians know about good works is that we are not saved by them (Eph. 2:8,9)!
We are not to have an attitude that good works are insignificant in the life of a Christian.
Christians are to let their light shine before men which means that we are to do good deeds before others, even the unsaved:
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mat 5:16)
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Pet 2:12)
The Christian's life is to have good deeds, even to the point of abounding in them:
“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians. 2:10)
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:8)
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Col 1:10)
So as a Christian our purpose or aims is to do good works, which can be done if we cleanse ourselves spiritually: (by being born again)
“If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Tim 2:21)
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Pet 3:15-17)
Father God your Word clearly teaches that faith is the beginning point of our journey with you.
So I pray for those who do not know you here today who maybe are believing a lie that there good works will get them to Heaven. It is only through faith that the sacrifice of Jesus, and his shed blood paid the full price of all our sin that saves us.
Today Father God help us to examine our lives and finally be honest about our relationship with you.
Help us to grow in our relationship with you by walking these things out in our every day lives that we have discussed this morning..
We do ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to bring about these things in our lives.
Make us good, knowledgeable, self controlled, Patient, Godly, kind, and loving men and women.
We pray that our lives will reflect the glory of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Father forgive us for falling short of your glorious ideal that you have for each of us.
We desire more than anything to please you in all that we say and do. So it is our desire that we would have a faith that works by love which is pleasing and acceptable to you. In Jesus name amen.