Our inheritance hinges on His promises, not our faithfulness

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11–13 ESV)

The apostle returns to a theme from his first letter as he reminds His readers that this world will come to an end and Jesus will make all things new.  He wants to remind them that our inheritance is secure and is coming – this truth is a major key to living a godly life. This is a gospel promise – because Jesus will return and everything here will be remade, let us strive to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.  There is a world, an existence, a country, a territory in which God will reign and no sin will exist.  The perfect paradise in the presence of God that is marked by a rhythm & rest for the soul will return.  Is this not part of the reason that God permits or causes difficulties, hardships or persecutions?  Is it not to wake up our dead hearts and eyes to the fact that this world is indeed transient and that we need to set our eyes on the world that is to come? Yes!

The implications of this truth are profound! Are you struggling with the approval of others, a difficult interpersonal relationship or bumping up against the falleness of the world?  This world is not all that there is and because of that you can endure, engage and invest – knowing that in some mysterious way God is using it to redeem this world.  You don’t have to be accepted, comfortable, respected or loved because you are all of these things (and so much more) as God’s adopted child.  Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we will experience them in true satiating fullness in the world to come; you are able to walk in joy without receiving acceptance, comfort, respect or love in this world. There are no 10 tips to a happier life – this is the truth for living a godly life.  Peter says that our efforts towards holiness have some mysterious effect on the coming of the Lord. This sounds like a practical outflow of the Lord’s prayer (your kingdom come, your will be done).  But thank God that all of this hinges on His promises, not on our faithfulness.  We aren’t faithful, but He was so we can walk in a confidence that is not rooted in our performance but in His perfect performance that He imputed to us.

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God’s Grace is the Foundation of the Christian Life

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
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.”  (2 Peter 1:2–4 ESV)

The grace that Peter introduces in these verses serves as the foundation upon which the entire epistle is written.  As Peter nears the end of his life, the grace of God in Christ Jesus is what he desperately clings to.  So should we.  We never move beyond or past the grace of God, like a building whose entire structure rests on its footings, so does our Christian life.  Our faith is built 100% upon the footing of God’s grace.

His divine power has been granted to us.  This infinite power accomplished our salvation and gives us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.  What?  This infinite power saves us and empowers us to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.  Therefore, let us put Him on, let us wear Him (Romans 13:14).  This power is recognized by the knowledge that He called us to His own glory and excellence.  The knowledge that He has called us is the power that fuels our sanctification – it is grace fueled sanctification.  It is God who has copiously provided the infinite resources of His power to us because we could never do it ourselves.  John Calvin summarizes this section like this, “He refers to the infinite goodness of God which they had already experienced, that they might more fully understand it for the future. For he continues the course of his benevolence perpetually to the end, except when we ourselves break it off by our unbelief; for he possesses exhaustless power and an equal will to do good.”

More than just granting us His divine power, He has granted to us His precious and great promises.  He has promised to provide all things through Christ.  These are gospel promises.  The promise of forgiveness, of imputing to us Christ’s perfect obedience (making us positionally holy – as if we never sinned), of adopting us as children, of giving us Himself through the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our future inheritance.  These are spectacular promises!  And these promises are what make us partakers (partners or sharers) of the divine nature.  As His image bearers we are already more like God than anything else in all of creation, though fractured by the fall.  As we grow in actual holiness by the power of His Holy Spirit, we become more like God – that is more accurate reflectors of Him.  We are to pursue holiness, not mere morality.

The Christian has been delivered from the corruption of the world that finds its roots in sinful desire.  These roots have been severed, though their shoots may still be growing in us.  Thus the call of scripture to put to death (Colossians 3:5) that which is sinful with in us.  The Holy Spirit indwells the life of a believer of Christ so that we are truly partakers of the divine nature.  Let us marvel at the unmerited favor of a perfectly holy God to a completely rebellious people.  When we were at our worst, He saved us.  When we didn’t want Him, He made us new.  When we were dead, He made us alive.  When we were His enemies, He made us His children.  When we were cold and apathetic, He gave us new hearts to desire Him.  When we were objects of His just wrath, He made us His friends.  The more you marvel at these great truths, the more you find yourself transformed in to His Image.