What’s the Goal of Our Faith?

2 Peter 1:1-2 ESV

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

“To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

What is this faith which is of equal standing with the faith of the NT apostles? First of all, this faith comes from God. Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, and we receive this faith as a gift from God. For, we can only come to faith in Jesus Christ if God the Father first draws us to faith in Jesus (if he divinely persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sins, and of our need to be delivered from our slavery to sin).

Since this faith is from God, is gifted to us by God, is divine persuasion to believe in Jesus Christ, is authored and perfected by Jesus, and we obtain it by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, then this faith is going to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord. And if we have this kind of faith, we will be crucified with Christ in death to sin and we’ll be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him to the glory and praise of God (Rom 6:1-23).

For, since this faith is by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, it is by the judicial approval of God, a faith which comes from God and is approved of God and is in right standing with God. And it is what is deemed right by God. Therefore, it submits to God and obeys him and his word (1 Jn 2:3-6). So, if we have this kind of faith, we will also walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We will view our lives as no longer belonging to us but to God, and we will see ourselves as servants of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our desire will be for him to obey him and to do his will. So, we will forsake our former lives of living for sin and for self, and we will be reborn of the Spirit to new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And now we will live in freedom from slavery to sin as servants of Christ.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Pet 2:24]

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

This is the goal of our faith. The goal of our faith is not just to believe in Jesus so we have our sins forgiven, so we escape hell, and so we go to heaven when we die. The goal of our faith is to live for the praise and glory of God in submission to him, in daily dying with him to sin, and in daily walking with him in obedience to his commands (Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

For, the grace of God, which brings salvation, instructs (trains, teaches) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus Christ, our Lord, “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14; cf. Eph 2:10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13).

The goal of our faith, thus, is not to have Jesus join us in our lives, for him to take us just as we are, for him to make no requirements of us, and for us to keep walking in our sins in deliberate and habitual rebellion against our Lord, and against his divine will and purpose for our lives. The goal of our faith is also not to have Jesus tag along with us and to go wherever we go. And it is not for us to make all the demands, nor is it for us to set the criteria for that faith, either.

The goal of our faith is also not for God to become enamored with us and with how wonderful we are as humans. It is not for him to be captivated, fascinated, and enraptured by us to the point to where he just wants to be with us all the time because of how spectacular we are, as humans. But the goal of our faith is for us to walk in the fear of the Lord and for us to be enthralled with him and with his holiness and righteousness.

Also, the goal of our faith is total surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, the relinquishing of all our selfish desires, which we may have regarded as our rights, and the forsaking of our sinful practices. And it is walks of obedience to our Lord in submission to his will and purpose for our lives. For, now we belong to him, and he is the one directing our paths, and we are going with him wherever he sends us.

So, going along with all of that, we cannot claim the promises of God for our lives if we are still living for selfish desires thinking that Jesus should join us, and not the other way around. We cannot claim the promises of God if we are still living in sinful rebellion against our Lord, living to please our flesh, making sin our practice. For, with his promises come conditions. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.

For, Jesus said that IF we continue in his word that we are truly his disciples. And Paul says that God’s kindness (favor) is extended to us provided that we continue in that kindness (grace). And Paul said that we are saved by the gospel IF we hold firmly to the word of the gospel. And he said that we are presented holy in God’s sight IF we continue in our faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. And much more.

For, if we walk (in conduct) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. If sin is what we practice, and righteousness is not what we practice, and we don’t obey God with our lives, as a matter of practice, then we don’t know God, and we don’t love God. And we will not inherit eternal life with God.

[Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 1 Jn 2:24-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Heb 10:26-27]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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