2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The Apostle John reminds us in his first epistle that Jesus appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. And what are the works of the devil? The works of the devil are obvious: lies, deceit, murder, lust, hatred, covetousness. Jesus took on human flesh to deliver us from such things. He gave his life that we might be forgiven for having done such things and rose again from the dead that He might empower us to live in newness of life – that we might have power to practice virtue in our lives and overcome the degrading vices of the Evil One.
It is this message which Peter announces in the beginning of his second epistle. First, Peter reminds us from whence God has rescued us. We used to be slaves of sin, slaves of Satan, and slaves of our own passions. But God in Christ delivered us. We have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
So why did God rescue us? Peter reminds us that God rescued us that we might be partakers of the divine nature. In other words, God graciously redeemed us that we might come to reflect His character increasingly in our lives. He called us, Peter notes, by glory and virtue. He came to make us glorious – to free us from shameful attitudes and actions – and to make us virtuous – to free us from vicious, sinful attitudes and actions.
So how does God accomplish this? Peter gives us the answer: His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. The Risen Christ has poured out His Spirit upon the Church and His Spirit teaches us and instructs us in righteousness and holiness and self-control. The Spirit poured out upon us is the Spirit of holiness – come to make us increasingly holy. So did you catch Peter’s words? His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Today we read of Enoch, a sinful man who walked faithfully with God, who pleased God such that God delivered him from death. Holiness is possible.
So what excuses have you made this week for your sinful attitudes and actions? You yelled at your spouse; you were harsh with your children; you looked at pornography; you nagged your husband; you were lazy at work; you lied to a friend; you were afraid to speak of Christ; you neglected to pray; you became bitter toward your spouse; you engaged in self-pity. “But it’s okay,” you said to yourself, “I can’t really help it. If they hadn’t done that to me…” But Peter says to you, His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.There is no excuse for behaving sinfully.
Reminded that we often make excuses for our sin rather than seek the face of God and ask Him for power to be glorious and virtuous, let us kneel and seek His forgiveness in Christ.
My children and I are reading Nate Wilson’s new book The Boys of Blur – which has a fabulous cover, by the way! The main character is a kid named Charlie whose biological dad abused the family and whose step-dad Mack is a good guy, a retired pro football guy. At one point they have a conversation about Charlie’s bio dad and Mack had some good things to say.
“Your father made mistakes. We all do. But instead of working to set things right, he chose to protect those mistakes – he let them be. He even fed them, which made them so much worse. Mistakes don’t just hang on the wall like ugly pictures. Mistakes are seeds.” He thumped his chest. “In here. They grow. They take over. You make a mistake, you gotta make it right. Dig that seed out. Old Wiz [Mack’s former coach] used to say, ‘Fruit rots, wood rots, but lazy-ass boys rot the fastest.'”
Beautiful and brilliant imagery. Mistakes are seeds; dig them out or soon there will be a harvest of unrighteousness in our lives. May God grant us grace to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and be diligent to continue rooting out the seeds of our mistakes lest they grow and we rot. For young men in particular, beware pride; beware lust; beware laziness; beware morbid introspection and down-in-the-dumpsness. His divine power has given us all things necessary for life and godliness (2 Pet 1).
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
During my time at presbytery I had the opportunity to hear reports from the various churches in our region – hearing of God’s faithfulness, of challenging trials, and of remarkable deliverances. I promised that I would share some of these things with you and so permit me this morning to share one of the stories I heard – a story that both encouraged and challenged me.
We learn from our passage today that the reason God delays the coming of the Day of the Lord is to secure the salvation of all His people. He is not slack concerning His promise but is patient toward us, not will that any should perish. The Lord is determined to rescue his people. Through the preaching of the Word, the witness of believers to Christ, and the work of the Spirit, He is in the process of bringing men, women, and children into His kingdom – and He will not fail to save any of His people.
This was brought home to me through one of the stories shared at presbytery. A member of this congregation, a brother by the name of Dale, has worked for about 20 years as a postal carrier. He has endeavored to do his job faithfully and well, self-consciously endeavoring to bear witness to Jesus through his labor. For many of those years, Dale first worked alongside and later worked under his current supervisor. They have not always seen eye to eye.
About a month ago Dale’s supervisor had a dream. He was at work and it was a rotten day. Everything seemed to be going wrong. The employees were complaining, he was frustrated, the air was tense – except for Dale. Dale was sorting his mail, singing and whistling, doing his work with joy. The mail carriers went out to deliver and the day continued going poorly. Some mail didn’t get delivered; as carriers returned they were asked to carry this new mail out. And you can imagine the response: anger, frustration, railing on the supervisor – from everyone except Dale. He went and did his work with a smile.
Then, in his dream, the supervisor finally got to go home bringing to an end a long, miserable day at work. But wouldn’t you know it, his troubles weren’t over. When he got home soon he and his wife were arguing and fighting – over what, the dream didn’t make clear. But in the midst of their arguing, they heard a knock on the door. Dale’s supervisor went to the door, opened it, and was surprised to see Dale on his doorstep. “Can I help you?” he asked. And the dream ended.
The next day Dale’s supervisor related his dream to the office before Dale arrived and, when Dale arrived, called him into his office. “We need to talk,” he said. And so began a number of conversations between Dale and his supervisor over the Gospel – the next Sunday Dale’s supervisor showed up at church with his wife – though neither of them had darkened the doorway of a church since their childhood; within the next week Dale’s supervisor professed faith in Christ; and in the last several weeks he has continued to grow in the Lord.
As I said I found myself both encouraged and challenged by the story: encouraged because the story reveals that we serve the Living God, a God who moves and acts in the lives of men and women and children to draw them to Himself and give them life. He is not willing that any of His people perish.
But I also found myself challenged: is my life, my conversation, my demeanor – so let me ask you: is your life, your conversation, your demeanor – something that God can put to use in a dream to draw others to Him? Or have you been a poor witness, more the stuff of nightmares? God’s design is to reveal Himself to all the nations of the earth, to cause every knee to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. And the way he intends to do this is through our witness – so how are we doing? Are we bearing faithful witness to our Lord Jesus?
Reminded of this call and no doubt convicted that we have fallen short of our calling, let us kneel and confess our sins to the Lord.