AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH May 23, 2004
II PETER 1, ADDITION
Abraham and Exemplification
Godliness and Implementation
What does Peter tell us ? How does Abraham fit in ? Where is godliness ?
I. II Peter I:3 -
"Life and godliness
through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue"
is the divine grant to the believer (cf. Eph. 1:17-19).
II. II Peter 1:4
Precious Promises for Faith
are sitting by faith. It is necessary to realise that character and life, the
beauty of holiness and being what you should be in the creative power of God is
FAR more important than mere means of life, or its accolades from man, who often
wants what is morbid.
Hence these promises, to cover whatever godliness requires, whatever life itself must find in man who lives in, by, with and for God, are prodigious, and must be utilised by every Christian. It is by faith these are to be taken.
Concerning faith, then, let us make a visit.
Romans 4 visit - for example of faith:
"For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed by the law but through the righteousness of faith."
God promised, and Abraham "did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised, He also was able to perform. And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness."
IV. So we also, as in II Peter 1:5,12-13,
faith, and multiply the place of grace,
"You know and are established in the present truth," he says, but he insists on spreading out the multiplication tables. The point is this: if you HAVE faith, THIS is the multiplication you'll DO.
If YOU decided on your new school, then we expect you to work at it. If YOU are born of God, then we expect with confidence you, having a new heart, will PUT IT INTO HIS WORK! After all, if you are born of God, you are HIS CHILD, and love what is His!
Again, you HAVE the promises ? then "for this very reason," looking to their end, the apostle enjoins you to be "giving all diligence", to hasten, to set about your additions and so multiply your service.
II Peter 1:1:6-8
What do you add to multiply blessings ?
First, to what do you add it ?
To faith, for it is for those who have "obtained like precious faith" – I Peter 1:1. Notice that this gift is "by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." These last words are all in one grammatical case, and there is no article in front of Saviour. It is "God and Saviour", it is "ours" and it is "Jesus Christ." Whatever denies these things has NOTHING to do with Christianity, except for being an enemy! This is the FOUNDATION, and on this you build. Christadelphians, JWs, Liberals, all of them fail just here, providing an appalling abuse of the name of Christ, whom they reject in His place just as the Jews did, long ago. That, it is unlike and non-precious faith!
Nor is this all, even this. These multiplied blessings, we read here, are by the RIGHTEOUSNESS of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ (II Peter 1:1). God that blessed Trinity INSISTS on righteousness, has no iniquity, is not disposed to any such thing (Deuteronomy 32:4), lives with a shining beauty of holiness past all measure (I Timothy 6:16), and in disposing love towards man, He has allowed in His righteousness no slightest dint or dimming, far less its demise.
Rather death than that, so God in covering guilt has suffered His only begotten Son to be sent into a format that could die, a sacrifice to cover sin (Romans 3:23-27); and then, despising death, He has taken Him from it in that same format, one able to be resurrected, and by His own power, raised Christ incorruptible, the flesh restored, and the way into eternal life for man presented both as a gift, and as a visual assurance. It is to be taken BY FAITH! Thus He has made for ever the point that love has a way, and justice a requirement, that they meet. As Psalm 85 puts it, mercy and truth have met, and righteousness and peace have kissed.
In mercy, God did it Himself; in truth He did what was necessary; in righteousness He endured it till it was done and in peace He provides the result: He is thus the One who WAS DEAD and is ALIVE FOREVER MORE (Revelation 1:18-19, I Cor. 15:1-4), and the disposition of life for one and for all, is His, who was that eternal life of God before His incarnation (I John 1:1-4), remains the same after His resurrection, and is to be the Judge of all (Acts 17:31).
With such magnificent divine nature and character demonstrated, man who loves God is delighted, and seeks to be made more like Him. In the process, there are additives, spiritual and delightful, for man to grasp ... by faith, as he grows in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18).
The ADDITIONS ?
First, VIRTUE. This is that special goodness which relates to the best use of your nature and gifts with all vigour and strength, yes and responsibility, setting firmly aside what weakens, breaks, frustrates vitality and serviceability.
Second, you add KNOWLEDGE. You do not slough off the scripture, but EAT it, work on it, labour in it, dwell on it, ponder it, seeking wisdom from it and obedience to it, for when God speaks, His children do listen; and when they listen, they learn. Make your Bible study significant, spiritual and continual. You WILL, if you love Him (John 14:21-23) - a good point on which to examine oneself!
Thirdly, to this you add SELF-CONTROL. Consider what a short lapse cost King David in the Bath-sheba affair, what wildness cost Samson in this very area, what ungratefulness cost Absolam, what a short loss of temper cost Moses! These, except Absolam, did not LIVE that way; but they erred that way. Samson erred longer by far, and his life was nearly forfeited; but in the end, he yielded himself up completely and completed his task.
Fourthly, add to that, PERSEVERANCE. Don't dabble, don't seek to imitate dappled light: be in the sunlight of His grace, for the Lord will arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), the sun of righteousness gleaming on your blessed head. Don't say, But for me, it is quieter in the shade! Imbibe the full dose of spiritual vitamins in His very direct presence in prayer, and as you obey, remember this is not some mere rule book: you obey HIM who in this way is giving you guidance, so that you may walk with Him, companionably (cf. Matthew 28:19-20, John 15:14). Consider that! Do not grieve your friend, like a wilful dog, witlessly or idly into every blind alley. Conserve your strength by following the way provided; and in following it, the power of the Spirit of God is the more given you, so bringing about what you might call a VIRTUOUS CIRCLE (cf. Acts 5:32).
Fifthly, add GODLINESS! By now it is becoming almost like a fast-ripening apple, and you are approaching this glorious situation. We have brought nothing into this world, can take nothing out of it, and living with God in it, like Enoch, in spirit, in word, in decisions, in priorities, in values, in helpfulness, involved in His affairs better than our own, securing things for His kingdom, being like it and of it: so you move into that salty and savoury, yes that fragrant life of faith which is one of joy and strength, governed by God! (cf. II Cor. 2:14, I Peter 1:7-8). By becoming a savour of life to the living, of death to the dying, you remind of Him on all sides, not in word only, but in spirit and grace.
Sixthly, add to this, BROTHERLY KINDNESS (from the Greek for which the city of Philadelphia takes it name). To be kind is one thing, and most pleasant and human in a fine sort of way; but to have BROTHERLY kindness is to have a special variety of it. You give to your fellows in the faith a brotherly attitude, a family reception, a warmth and comfort.
Seventhly, add to brotherly kindness, LOVE. Take the case, within the domain of love, of BROTHERLY LOVE. You may think the two, brotherly kindness and brotherly love, virtually the same; but Peter separates them in category, just as he did virtue and faith! Brotherly love is more than kindness, in this, that although being kind like a brother is most special and delightful, so that godly families have this special joy, yet loving like a brother is even more. It not only looks as to a brother, but feels it in the heart!
The best way to seek purity in this respect is as I John 5:2 tells you: “By this you know you love the brethren, if you love God and keep His commandments.” Then the vertical and lateral love, to man and to God, are both there! and the second follows from the first. When the love of God is shed out into your heart, then it is there to dispose towards others (Romans 5:5). .
As to these commandments, says John, they are not burdensome, but to overcome this world, it is the work of faith, which gives you, in Christ its focus, the victory.
IN GOD you have the strength and knowledge which ENABLES you to show the love that counts, not the superficiality which does not!
Do these things, and you will be anything but barren or unfruitful, and your entrance into His kingdom will be abundant!
Lack of these things is mere blindness, and casts large doubt on faith's presence at all. Faith sticks to these things, naturally loves them, as a fire 'loves' wood and burns it. If the wood does not burn, we ask: Is the fire alight! But if the wood burns, the answer to that question is very abundant!