So the world thinks it knows what a Christian is, but it cannot make one. – Charles Spurgeon
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.
The book of second Peter opens on a very strong note: knowing God’s word (i.e. where we get the knowledge of God) is essential to living like
Christ. A true Christian is not someone who claims a title or a prize (i.e. eternal life) without physical discipline and studying how to earn the reward. Similar to how an Olympic athlete is a person who pushes hard towards excellence and doesn’t slack off from training. The person who claims to know God but whose life portrays the opposite of a walk with Him, is like the man who says he’s running in the Olympics while his exercise routine consists of sitting on the couch, with a bowl full of candy.
Likewise, a true Christian is someone who endures by depending on
Christ alone. They continue to persevere daily despite resistance from the world and temptation to sin. They are able to do this because they find their complete identity, joy, peace, and hope in Christ. True
Christians persevere because they have a strength that is not their own.
The reward is not earning salvation… we could never do that! It’s that there are future blessings in heaven with Jesus for those that have true faith… the evidence for true faith lays in obedience. However, we would be getting ahead of ourselves if we miss the word “faith”. Faith is not blind or without truth and support, rather true faith is about a trusting in.
In Christianity our faith is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
More simply, being a Christian means you’re a new person when you believe in Christ! You abandon your old way of living: you forfeit your sins and strive to live in a right relationship with God. The point Peter makes in second Peter is that the message of God’s word is the key to being a Christian. Where we begin to learn God’s word is found in the “gospel”: the “gospel” means “the good news” about Jesus Christ.
When you understand the full message of the “good news”, you learn how much of a sinner you are before God. There’s nothing truly good in you because of sin and your sinful nature. In fact, your relationship with God is not a good one at all: your sin angers God.
If you don’t turn from it and seek forgiveness, the consequence is an eternity spent in Hell, which we all deserve. Hell is where Satan and the demons will dwell: and if you remain in your sin, Satan is your master. Either you serve Satan and sin, or God and a new life. However, there is a way of escaping that destination!
Despite the “bad news,” there is good news… The realization that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be “good enough” and that someone met the standard for you… Jesus did! Jesus lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death, so that we who could never be perfect could live on as Jesus is.
Even though we’ll die: we will rise from the dead like
He did! The good news continues in that every time we sin God see’s
Christ’s goodness, not our own! Sin and death have no power over
Jesus, and neither will they have power over you! However, this only happens when your faith is not in yourself but in Christ.
It takes humility and being sorry for your sin and running to the mighty
Cross where Jesus bore your punishment! If you trust in Him and surrender (which is what we learned about last month), you’re free from the power of sin, and forever kept by the grace of God!