AN ENVIRONMENT FOR GROWTH
Lord, I want to mature in the faith.
Read 2 PETER 1:1–11
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
a 2 Peter 1:10 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
New International Version (NIV)
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If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
A friend used to have the sobering question above hanging on his wall. Peter wants to impress on his hearers the need for growth in spiritual maturity, so that their lives might increasingly look like that of Jesus. In something like a three-point sermon, he builds on this issue bit by bit. First, he reminds his hearers that God has given Christians all they need to become spiritually mature (3). The power to be transformed and changed, to live a holy and godly life, comes from increased knowledge of and experience with Jesus Christ.
Second, Christians must pursue a growing spiritual maturity (5–9). Some of us may recoil at this, believing that our growth in Christ-likeness—sanctification—is God’s work by his Spirit and not attributive to anything that we can do. Perhaps to adopt this position is to risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Although the work of inner change is possible only by the Holy Spirit’s power, we have a responsibility to cooperate with the Spirit to maximize such change. In my garden, although I can’t make plants grow, I can still cooperate with nature to provide the best environment for growth by digging out weeds, constant watering, using plant food, and so on. Similarly, we do have a responsibility to create a good environment in our lives for the Holy Spirit to mature us. John Wesley called these things “means of grace”; others speak of “spiritual disciplines”—such as engagement with the Bible, prayer, fellowship, spending time in silence, plus doing acts of mercy and kindness.
Lastly, Peter is keen to emphasize the eternal importance of this transformation and change. Spiritual growth is necessary if we wish to find a welcome in God’s eternal kingdom (10,11).
What is the environment for spiritual growth in your life? How could you cooperate further with the Holy Spirit’s ministry of transforming you into Christ’s likeness?
Lord, we understand that we are not to remain babies in the faith all our lives. Enable us to grow satisfactorily in Your sight.