works

While reading 2 Peter 1:5-11 this morning, God showed me some amazing truths.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.10 So, dear brothers and sisters,work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In verse 5, Paul starts by telling the Christians to make EVERY effort to respond to God’s promises. This phrase could be easily taken out of context. A legalist could take this as having to work to achieve the love of God, which we know we cannot earn God’s love. He can’t possibly love us anymore than he already does. A swaying Christian could take this as being able to try without achieving and God is satisfied. I think when Paul said “make every effort” he meant make the only effort you can make to follow God’s promise, which is salvation through Christ. That is the only work we can do to follow Christ and respond to His promises. Outside of salvation all that is happening is good works, and by yourself that won’t achieve very much except temporary satisfaction with yourself. So go ahead pat your self on the back. He continues in verse 5 by asking us to supplement our faith with many things. He goes from moral excellence with knowledge, from knowledge with self-control, from self-control with patient endurance, from patient endurance with godliness, from godliness with brotherly affection, and from brotherly affection with love for everyone. The only way I can think of that will achieve all of those things [naturally] is through Christ. Being a follower of Christ will compel us to do all of those things without even thinking about it. But notice how Paul ends in love for everyone. All throughout the Bible there is an emphasis on love. As for me, it would be impossible to love some people without having Christ pushing me to. I have to constantly remind myself that we are all made in the likeness of God. I am no better than anyone else, so what gives me the right to choose to purposely reject someone.

Paul gives us a promise from God in verse 8. He says if you continue to grow in those ways the more productive and useful you will be. Useful in the sense of furthering God’s kingdom and giving Him all the glory. Verse 9 really spoke to me. Paul said those who fail to develop in that way have forgotten that our old ways are gone. It’s like Jesus’ actions are lowered and are treated as not being very important. When I accepted Christ as my Savior and began to follow him, God put a new Spirit in me. Ezekiel put it perfectly saying “And I will put MY Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees..” [36:27] God doesn’t just say a spirit, but he distinctly says HIS spirit. Do y’all understand how powerful that is? Like wow, God’s spirit is inside of us. Think of the impact we are capable of having through Christ in us.

Paul begins to conclude in verse 10 saying “work hard to prove that you are really among those God has called and chosen”. The phrase “work hard” doesn’t mean do all the good works you can then God will consider you to be His. NO! I believe he told us this to inform us that “Hey! it’s not gonna be easy. You are going to have to work and endure hard things”. This journey isn’t meant to be a piece of pie. Through faith, we show God that this is serious to me. This isn’t just a game I want to play. You can hold to the promise he gives in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

He promises: 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I want to work hard to glorify you and further your kingdom. He finishes in verse 11 with a magnificent image of what all of this endurance will reach. God will open his gates to his kingdom. You guys..in the end God wins. No matter how hard you may think things are going; No matter how absent you think God may be; He is there. He is waiting for your life with open arms.

I love the image of God being a papa. He is my father. He disciplines me and corrects me, but best of all he accepts me into his arms no matter what.

I hope you guys have a blessed Sunday and remember this is not an easy walk, but in the end all the glory will go to God and he WILL sustain you.

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