2 Peter 1:12-15 ESV
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. [Reference back to vv. 1-11.]
Coming to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior, as wonderful as that is, is not the end all. It is only the beginning of a lifelong journey of faith in Jesus Christ whereby daily we are to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, daily we are to die with Christ to sin and self, by the Spirit, and we are to walk in obedience to him, and we are to put on the armor of God with which to fight off the wicked schemes of the evil one.
And, as we grow in our walks of faith, we also grow in godliness, love, steadfastness, brotherly affection, self-control, purity and uprightness, too.
But, sometimes we might get sluggish about these things. Sometimes we may get busy or distracted and not be as diligent as we should be in these matters. So, even though we know these things, there are times when we all need to be reminded of them, too. I know that I do.
For, I can be going through something in my life which might temporarily cloud my vision, because what I am going through is emotionally intensive. And, so I might lose sight of the reality of what the Word teaches. And, at these times, the Holy Spirit will remind me of these things so that I don’t lose sight of them, and so that I will remember to put them into practice.
For example, if someone does something to me to injure me deeply, there are times when I need to be reminded to put on love. And, I need to be reminded, too, of God’s grace to me in my life, and of how unworthy I am of his grace. And, so I need to extend that same grace to others, who may have injured me, as God extended to me, even though I injured God with my sins. And, I need to forgive them as God has forgiven me, too.
2 Peter 1:16-18 ESV
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration. They physically heard the voice of God the Father say to them, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Thus, they bore testimony to what they saw with their eyes and to what they heard with their ears, and to what they believed in their hearts, too, with regard to who Jesus was and is. This was not something they created in their own minds.
But, it wasn’t just this incident to which they bore their testimony. They had traveled with Jesus and had ministered with him side-by-side for three years. They had witnessed his character. They had watched how he treated people. They had heard the words he spoke when no one else was listening but them. And, they saw the miracles which he performed, and the tears that he wept, and they witnessed his passion, his mercy and his grace, too.
So, they knew that he was who he said he was. They saw his consistency. There was no phoniness about Jesus. He wasn’t one person around some people and someone else around others. He was the real deal all the time. And, God the Father shined through his life always, every day. So, it wasn’t just this transfiguration, or just the audible voice of God the Father which convinced them that Jesus was the Christ, but it was everything about Jesus, including how he died, and that he rose again from the dead, too.
So, they could bear testimony as to his legitimacy, and to their belief in who he is, and the fact that, although he rose from the dead, and he went back to the Father in heaven, that one day he is going to come back to judge the earth and to take his true ones to be with him for eternity.
And, each one of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives can also bear testimony to who he is and to what he did for us and with regard to his coming again. But, this is not because we have seen him with physical eyes, and not because we spent time with him in the flesh, but because we have seen him with spiritual eyes, and we have spent lots of time with him in the Spirit whereby we, too, have gotten to know him.
And, we, as well, should be telling others about Jesus and about what he accomplished for us in his death on a cross. We should be attesting to the fact that he is indeed the Son of God, and that he is God, and of the salvation from sin which he provided for us, and that to as many who are believing in him, who are walking by the Spirit and who no longer are walking by the flesh, they can be assured of deliverance from bondage to sin and of an eternal home with God, by God’s grace, through faith in him.
2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
What is the prophetic word they spoke of to which all of us will do well to pay attention? Surely it is the gospel of our salvation. For in the gospel are the very words of life to us. The message of the gospel spells out for us God’s plan for our salvation. It tells us how this was accomplished, and what that means for us, and what our response needs to be to that message, too.
And, we don’t pay attention to it just long enough to secure our eternal inheritance, either, if that were even possible. We need to always pay attention to what the gospel teaches us, and this means that we need to follow it, too, i.e. that we need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
For, we are not saved from our sins and bound for heaven based on some one-time experience we had. For, true faith in Jesus Christ endures, it perseveres, and it walks according to the Spirit and not by the flesh.
Thus, if I had to present the gospel from one single Bible verse, it would be from 1 Peter 2:24, which says:
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
This was God’s message to his people in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it is still his message to his people or to all who desire to be his people. Jesus didn’t die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. He died to put sin to death in our lives and so, in his power, we can walk in holiness, purity and righteousness always.
Thus, in his gospel it states that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means that, by the Spirit, we die with Christ to sin and self, that we are born anew of the Spirit of God, and that we are now God’s new creation, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. But, it says that this is continuous, i.e. we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. For, what we practice shows who is truly Lord of our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
But, the truth of the gospel is not open to human interpretation. In other words, we can’t make up our own gospel. We can’t take scriptures out of context to make them say what they are not saying. We can’t pick and choose a few scriptures we like, too, while we ignore the vast majority we don’t like, because they don’t fit with our chosen lifestyles. And, this is why context is everything, because too many people are creating their own gospel by taking scriptures out of context in order to appease their flesh.
But, the truth of the gospel says that what we practice is what reveals whether or not our faith is genuine. This is not saying we have to be perfect, but lack of perfection should never be used as an excuse for continuing in habitual sin (sinful addictions). For, if we walk (in practice) according to the flesh, the gospel says we will DIE in our sins, not live for eternity with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, know the truth, believe the truth, and live the truth, and the truth will set you free!
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Thursday, March 14, 2019