2 Peter 1:5-11 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Last week we looked at the same passage of Scripture and titled the sermon, “Losing Sight of Salvation”. Now we are going to look at it from a little different angle. We want to be sure that we are among those who are saved from the consequences of sin by the grace of God. In verse three we are told that God has granted us, by his divine power, everything that pertains to life and godliness. We’re given this in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us his precious and very great promises. This passage does not teach that we are to earn our salvation by works of righteousness instead we are told to “make every effort” to grow in grace.
We need to remember that we are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God! God’s grace comes into our life by the gift of faith. The Christian life is not one of works in order to be saved it is works because we’re saved and it is…
Beginning with faith. We go to Peter’s first letter and read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a ruler the Jews and he came to Jesus by night to try to determine what He was all about. Now Peter tells us that God has caused us to be able to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This gives us an inheritance that is absolutely safe.
An inheritance is only as valuable as its security. At the end of October in 1929 there was a stock market crash that was the beginning, in America, of the Great Depression. At that time millions, if not billions, of dollars ceased to exist. There was no security behind them. All around the world inheritances dissolved. People were driven to despair and many committed suicide.
After that, the government started to initiate reforms that would protect bank deposits and, incidentally, the inheritance of most people. The FDIA is only as secure as the federal government. Many people today believe that security is in great danger. All insurance is dependent upon the ability of the insurers to cover the cost of the losses.
Our spiritual inheritance is secure because it is reserved in heaven for us! It is not maintained by the Federal Reserve nor is it protected by Social Security. It is dependent upon God and his divine power. By faith God’s power is guarding, for us, a salvation that will be revealed in the last time. Nothing could be more secure and I want to assure you that those whom God has chosen will be saved!
Having begun in faith we are to…
Press on toward the goal. I can’t imagine anyone more secure in their relationship to God than the apostle Paul. He had seen the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. He was selected to write most of the New Testament. More than once, the Lord Jesus had met with him in a vision or a dream. Yet, he never relaxed. Listen to what he wrote in Philippians 3:12-16. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Paul had put aside everything in his religious life. He had the right to confidence in the flesh, if anyone did. He was an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He was raised a Pharisee and taught by Gamaliel himself. He zealously persecuted the church and was blameless with regard to the law. Yet, in spite of all this, he laid it all aside for the sake of Christ Jesus.
At the same time he did not consider himself to have “arrived” spiritually. He pressed on forgetting the past and pushing forward toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul was determined to…
Not just drift along. In our primary text, Verse 9, we read For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Anyone who doesn’t continue to add to faith is just drifting along. If Satan cannot keep you from salvation he will keep you from growing in grace if you allow him. Salvation, or being born again, obviously occurs at a specific time and place. Yet there is a process leading up to salvation. When a person begins to seek after the things of God every effort will be made by the enemy, Satan, to keep them from going forward into salvation. One evidence that a person is being saved is that they are beginning to seek the things of God. They are adding, in their faith, virtue and with this growing faith they add knowledge. On and on they grow towards the Lord. The fruit of the Spirit begins to manifest itself. That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Holy Spirit works with our spirit to establish and maintain our salvation. We are saved by grace and not by works but there are works we have to do in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is easy for a person to fall into the trap of expecting God to do everything in regard to their salvation but many Scriptures teach us to…
Make every effort. Without a doubt, we have a responsibility to focus our lives on things that count. Listen to Philippians 4:8-9. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Heading these qualities in our faith we are supplementing faith with virtue and moving to love. This has a lot to do with the focus of our lives. Godly qualities are eventually going to be seen in the life of the person who is saved. No one of us is perfect but all Christians are in the process of being perfected. We have a responsibility to make every effort in our faith to grow in grace.
Once a person comes to Christ there are a lot of things that need to be done. You see a person who has just been born again is a spiritual infant. That person has to have “childcare” concerning his or her spiritual life. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said that it was necessary for him to address them as infants in Christ.
Little babies are cute but they are very dependent. They make strange noises and bad odors. They have to be fed correctly. They have to be taught everything. Only when a new Christian begins to grow up spiritually do they become really useful in the kingdom. As we grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord we become more capable in spiritual matters. As a result we begin to have a positive impact on the world around us. Remember, we are not working to be saved we are working because we are saved. Jesus once said that we will know people by their fruit. It is very important that we…
Bear good fruit. Paul told about the privilege we have to bear fruit for God in Colossians 1:9-14. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church is a prayer that we can pray for each other all the time! We desperately need the knowledge of God’s will. Only when we understand what God wants us to do, and how he wants us to do it, will we be able to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. There is a promise in this prayer that we can be fully pleasing to Him! Much of what we hear in preaching and teaching seem to imply that it is really impossible for us to finally please God. Just as we enjoy our children, who are not perfect, our Heavenly Father enjoys us. Many of the things that we do probably add to his entertainment.
We need to bear fruit in every good work in our lives and we need to increase in the knowledge of God. After all, God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light because he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.
Even the bearing of good fruit still leaves us with concerns with regard to the judgment. William Carey was one of the first Baptist foreign missionaries. He was a cobbler, a shoemaker, who was called of God to preach and then called to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to India. He, along with his family, traveled to India in the late 1700s and began the process of learning the language of the local people. There’s too much to tell about him in the short time we have here. Suffice it to say that he helped to translate the Bible into more than 35 languages. He spent 41 years there with never a return to England. As he was approaching the end of his life he was asked what his feelings were in the immediate prospect of his death. His response gives us confidence and, at the same time, something to think about. In response to the question he said, “As far as my personal salvation is concerned, I have not the shadow of a doubt; I know in Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day; but when I think that I am about to appear in the presence of a holy God, and remember all my sins and manifold imperfections—I tremble.”
For many years William Carey had walked in a manner worthy of the Lord. He had been bearing fruit in every good work and had been growing in the knowledge of God. He knew that he knew Christ! He knew the promise of the Word that Christ is able to keep all that we have committed to him. At the same time, he knew that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. He trembled at the thought of appearing in the presence of a holy God just as we all should.
We need to pray that we too will bear fruit in every good work. We need to be thankful that the power of God will be released for us so that we can endure with patience and joy. It is God who enables us to be His people. It is God who calls upon us to yield ourselves, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, to put to death the deeds of the body! However, God doesn’t call on us to do these things in our own strength. We are to yield ourselves to God and, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body!
Sometimes the popular phrase “let go and let God” causes us to become passive in our Christian walk. Many years ago we had the privilege of hosting Capt. J. C. Metcalf who at that time was the editor of Overcomer magazine that is still printed in England. In one of our meetings with him I asked him what the greatest problem of the church was. He spoke so quickly that I had to ask him to repeat his one-word answer. He said “Passivity”. He went on to say that the church around the world has settled into a passive mode. We are to take the salvation God has given us and work it out in the world. We are to strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. We are to abstain from immorality and obey the will of God. John says that those who hoped to be like Christ when he appears will actually work at purification in this life. This kind of positive application of the Christian life is not an easy job. We need to build into our life the patterns and habits of godliness. The book of Hebrews tells us that mature Christians have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. The Lord Jesus has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful and promises to complete the work that He began in our lives. At the same time, He gives His Spirit to us to make us able to do what he has called on us to do. God empowers His people with strength for the day-to-day task of godly living. We do not have to be concerned about losing it because He has given us an inheritance that is protected in heaven for us. If you have placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ…
You’ll never fall. Jesus gives us words of encouragement in John 10:27-29. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
There are so many passages that I could have chosen to make this point. In this particular passage Jesus has described Himself as the good Shepherd. If He is the Shepherd then we are the sheep. Every person that is truly born again will be kept by God’s power, Praise God we are not dependent on our own strength. Jesus promises eternal life so that we will never perish. No one can snatch us out of His hands because He and the Father are one and, as such, serve to protect us from being lost. He is the good Shepherd and will not allow any of His sheep to wander very far. No one, or nothing, can ever separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. The Christian life is not easy but the Holy Spirit enables us “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”. Having put our faith in Christ, we will finish the course and keep the faith. The rewards are beyond our imagination. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” God’s rewards are beyond our imagination! It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort!
The word of God warns us against being lazy in our faith. As we drift away from Jesus Christ we lose sight of our salvation. The Bible encourages us to fight the good fight of faith and by doing that take hold of eternal life. We are taught to lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely to us. We are to press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! In our faith we are to advance in virtue and knowledge and self-control and patience and godliness and brotherly affection and love. As we grow in the Lord we can have confidence that we have been called to share in God’s glory and excellence. Those who continue to the end will be saved. Don’t turn aside instead move forward in faith. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. He who calls us is faithful! Have you put your faith in Him? Why not now?
All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.