Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ANY EXCUSE WILL DO

Design by Kraig Brockschmidt
In more than one instance, the writers of the New Testament give us glimpses of a dynamic balance between what God does and what is required of us.

These insights are often contained within a single verse or passage.
Please take the time to at least glance at these verses. You can simply hover your cursor over each one, and the verse will appear on your screen for you to read.

  • 2 Peter 1:3-10 
  • 2 Timothy 2:19 
  • Hebrews 6:9-11 
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 
  • Titus 2:11-12 
  • Phil. 2:12d-13
Emphasizing either side of this balance--God's grace or man's response--will result in error leading to deception. One tends toward license and the other tends toward legalism. 

How is it possible that folks will tend toward one or the other, instead of recognizing that both are necessary?

I don't know the answer to that. But, I recall a teacher once saying, "When someone is looking for an excuse, any excuse will do."

Of course, that is not always at play, either. Sometimes, it is simple ignorance. There have been seasons in my life when I have emphasized one aspect of scripture over another simply because I was not fully aware of all the Bible had to say about a subject. (That is not an excuse, but simply a reason.)

However, for the subject at hand--the grace of God and man's responsibility--the scriptures listed above should remove any excuse for emphasizing one over the other.

So, let's return to Peter and his understanding of how the two should be balanced.

I will be using 2 Peter 1: 3-10 (KJV) for the next few weeks.
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
"And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
"And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
Notice that everything first begins with what God has done.

Many people like to think that they "decided for Christ," but the reality is that Christ decided for you. HE called you to glory and virtue. You only responded to that call. (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 2:1, 8; Gal. 4:9)

As a direct result of His calling you, and your response to that call, God has given you everything necessary to live a godly life (v.3). In order to ensure that possibility, He has given great and precious promises that enable you to become partakers of the divine nature (John 1:12; 1 Jn. 3:2).

That word 'partakers' doesn't mean you get just a little bit, as if a loaf of bread is being passed around for everyone to take a little bite.

No.

You get the whole enchilada, the complete 'fellowship' of the divine nature. The word translated 'partakers' is the word κοινωνός (koinonia), which is ordinarily translated 'fellowship.'

It is God's purpose for your life that you (we) grow up into "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13d).

Here's the deal:
  • God called you
  • God gave you the grace necessary to respond
  • You responded
  • God wants to share His divine nature with you
  • God has given you everything necessary for you to become a godly person
  • You can't lose, so get crackin'
And that is where Peter is taking us after having told us that God has given us everything necessary to complete the journey.

Like Paul, he begins to let us know what it is that God expects of us now that we have been "bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20).

Any and all comments, critiques, questions, or criticisms are welcome here. Your response does not require my approval before being posted. While I certainly appreciate your comments on Facebook, I would prefer that you also leave your comment here, just below this article. There are many people who do not visit Facebook, and cannot join in any discussion that may be generated by your thoughtful insight. Please consider leaving your response below--either through words, or simply checking the appropriate box that equals your reaction. Thank you.

2 comments:

  1. This is definitely a post worth meditating on. Partakers... yes.

    "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

    This is a hopeful promise. I look forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. There is definitely more to come. Stay tuned.

      Delete

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