Did you know that you can grow in grace and peace as you grow in the knowledge of God?
Did you also know that in order to grow as a Christian, we have to make the effort to walk in the grace provided for us through our faith in Christ?
Growing in Faith
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. “
2 Peter 1:2-5 NLT
As a parent, there have been times when I have failed to live up to the expectations of my children. In all fairness, they have been given assurances at times that I reneged on. This tainted their trust in my future promises. Perhaps I said something like, “If you pick up all of these gumballs, I will pay you 5 cents per ball.” But then, underestimating how many gumballs were actually laying in my garden beds, I quickly changed my offer to a flat price. So maybe the next time I offered a reward for their work, they were hesitant to trust me (purely hypothetical, of course).
While I am a fallible human, incapable of always using wisdom and fulfilling my promises, God is incapable of breaking His vows to us. It is a part of His very nature and being that can’t be changed by our behaviors or sin.
Isn’t that amazing?
I would say that like my kids, we sometimes do not live like we can trust God to keep His promises to us. This is an exercise of faith. And in 2 Peter 1:4, Peter reminds us that God has given us all we need for life and godliness, but we have to activate it in our lives. It’s always there for the taking and applying.
Responding to God’s Promises
It begins with believing the great and precious promises of God. Verse 4 tells us that these promises enable us to be partakers, or participants, of His divine nature. Our job is to make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Responding means we will act on them to cultivate the divine qualities of moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, and love in our lives as listed in verses 5-7. As we grow in these qualities, we are able to escape the world’s corruption (verse 4).
It all begins with learning to share in God’s divine nature through responding to the promises of God.
But first, we need to know what these promises are?
The Promises of God
For the sake of time, this will not be an exhaustive list of the promises of God, but it will be a highlight of the promises given through the new covenant of grace through our salvation.
We are freed from the power and penalty of sin. (Romans 8:2; Gal. 5:1; Romans 8:1-4)
We experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor. 1:22; 1 Peter 1:23; Ephesians 1:14-16)
We have eyes opened to the treasures of His wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)
We have peace with God. (Romans 5:1; Colossians 2:13-14)
We are capable of serving out of love and not fear. (I John 4:17-18)
There are no more sacrifices for sin. We can rest in the finished work of Christ on our behalf. (Hebrews 8:13; I Cor. 13:3-7)
We have bold access to God through Jesus. (Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 4:16)
We have new natures and can “put off” the old and choose the new. (Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24)
We become a part of the family of God as sons and daughters and heirs. (John 1:12, I John 3:2, Romans 8:16-17)
We are forever held and nothing can separate us from God. (Romans 8:31-39, Hebrews 13:5-6)
We are able to understand the truth of Scripture. (2 Cor. 3:7-18, 4:3-4)
We are heard and He answers our prayers. (Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8:26)
“Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us worktoward complete holiness because we fear (rightly revere) God.”
2 Corinthians 7:1
Anyone who reads Scripture and thinks that effort is not needed in the Christian life is willfully ignorant. It is clearly written that we have to take hold of the grace and power given to us through the Spirit and work toward applying the truths that we learn about. Bible reading is so much more than an act of obedience, it is the foundation for knowing the truth and promises of God that lead us to partake in His divine nature. It is the path to maturity and peace.
Looking back at 2 Peter 1:5, we are told that we grow through actively believing the promises of God.
This is faith. And faith is necessary to communing with God. For without it, we can’t please God (Hebrews 11:6).
First, we learn and understand what the promises of God are toward us. This is done through reading and studying Scripture. Then we become participants and actively live like we believe these promises. This is so challenging for me, as well as I am sure for many of you. Too often I say I believe that God is for me but when something doesn’t go my way, I rashly question God’s love and care over me. This is the opposite of faith. And I have to cry out, “Lord, help my unbelief”. I capture my thought and remember the promises of God.
This is what He is asking of us. This is what He is promising us.
To share in His divine nature. To escape the world’s corruption. To be free from sin’s hold on our flesh. To be cleansed and whole. And to move closer to His perfect holiness.
Isn’t that amazing.
Are you allowing the word of God to dwell in you richly and deeply? This is the path to victory in our lives and greater intimacy with God.
The battle begins in our minds with the thoughts we have toward the promises of God. Because of His promises, we can grow and become more productive and fruitful. We can increase in holiness as He is holy. God says that He has given us everything we need. But will we believe it? Will we live in the knowledge of His promises and cleanse ourselves from all that threatens to defile us?
Here are a few beginning steps:
Read through the promises listed above and write down the ones you struggle to believe in the thick of life.
Look up the verses next to the promise and read them a couple of times. Write out the one that jumps out to you.
Pray over the promise. For example, “God, I know that according to Galatians 5:1, I have freedom from sin, but I feel stuck and need your help. I believe your promises are true and there is nothing that can overtake me when I surrender it to you…”
Become a partaker of the promises. Participate in learning what they are and believing they belong to us as Christ followers.
Live by faith and seek to respond to the promises of God. Make every effort. In this, God is pleased.
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.”
2 Peter 1:2
I would love to hear what promises you cling to and how you make every effort to respond to His promises in your life?