June 14, 2019

What I read today;

2 Peter 1-2; John 16-17; Micah 3-4; Proverbs 15; Ecclesiastes 5; Deuteronomy 18

Peter starts off his letter in chapter 3 with a statement that might stun some people.  It goes like this:

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” NRSV

This was a radical statement for Peter’s time.  If God gives us everything, then what we do really doesn’t matter, does it?  In every religion, at the time, each person was responsible for performing some work to attain his salvation.  Even at that, salvation was only achieved if the gods were satisfied with the tasks that were presented.

Is he really saying that we don’t have to worry about meeting the requirements of the law?

Peter goes on in verse 4 to say this:

“Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.” NRSV

Did you get that first sentence?  God had given us his great promises so that we can escape.  He has given us the gift of forgiveness for our past sins.  He has cleansed our conscience through his work on the cross.

When Jesus asked Mary this question, he was posing it to you and me also:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” NRSV

In Websters Dictionary, the definition of given is described as, “presented as a gift: bestowed without compensation.”

When Jesus makes a promise and gives us a gift, it is ours.  We needn’t worry that some mistake we make in our lives will cause that gift to be taken away from us.  Jesus knew who we were when he made that promise.  He knew everything we would do in our lives before this event.  Yet he said it anyways.

The People of Peter’s time kept trying to add to the promise of God requirements to be saved.  Peter’s reminder here is that it’s not about what we do; it’s about what Jesus did for us.

Peter goes on to describe how we should make every effort to support our faith, goodness, knowledge, and self-control.  He urges his readers to be eager to confirm their election as Jesus followers.  Not as a means of earning God’s Favor.  But as a means or growing in grace and to keep us from falling back into old habits.  Peter was talking about Jesus desire for us to grow closer to him as we go through life.  He was pointing us to a life filled with abundant grace and mercy.  A life of joy in the spirit of God focused on the love that Jesus has and continues to pour out on his children.

There are so many out there trying to put obstacles in the way of our life with Christ.  So many using the gospel for personal gain and trying to live lives of luxury at the expense of the people who sit in their pews on Sunday or watch them on TV.  But that isn’t Peter’s message.  Peter is telling us to hold firm to the promise of Jesus.  He’s telling us to be like Jacob grabbing hold of Jesus and not letting go.  He’s telling us to be like the woman who suffered from bleeding who reached out and touched Jesus cloak, knowing that his grace and mercy would heal her.

That’s trusting in the promise of Jesus.  Don’t let anyone get in between you and that promise from God!  NO ONE! NOT EVER!

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