Wednesday 22 October, 2014

2 Peter 1:1-15

1 I, Simon Peter, am writing this letter. I serve Jesus Christ. I am his apostle. I am sending this letter to you who have received a faith as valuable as ours. You received it because our God and Savior Jesus Christ does what is right and fair for everyone. 2 May more and more grace and peace be given to you. May they come to you as you learn more about God and about Jesus our Lord. 3 God’s power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us. He chose us because of his own glory and goodness. 4 He has also given us his very great and valuable promises. He did it so you could share in his nature. He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world. That evil is caused by sinful longings. 5 So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith. To goodness, add knowledge. 6 To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves. To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going. To the strength to keep going, add godliness. 7 To godliness, add kindness to believers. And to kindness to believers, add love. 8 You should possess more and more of those good points. They will make you useful and fruitful as you get to know our Lord Jesus Christ better. 9 But what if some of you do not have those good points? Then you can’t see very well. You are blind. You have forgotten that your past sins have been washed away. 10 My brothers and sisters, be very sure that God has appointed you to be saved. Be sure that he has chosen you. If you do everything I have just said, you will never trip and fall. 11 You will receive a rich welcome into the kingdom that lasts forever. It is the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 So I will always remind you of these things. I’ll do it even though you know them. I’ll do it even though you now have deep roots in the truth. 13 I think it is right for me to remind you. It is right as long as I live in this tent. I’m talking about my body. 14 I know my tent will soon be removed. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made that clear to me. 15 I hope that you will always be able to remember these things after I’m gone. I will try very hard to see that you do.

This passage includes an excellent description of the sort of characteristics we should each be working to develop in ourselves to grow in our maturity as Christians. As described in The Message version of this passage we need to develop good character, understanding of God’s word, alert discipline (i.e. self-control), passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love. A great list of things to work on. I know that I am better at some of these than others so I need to grow more in those weaker areas.

Being aware of these ideas and reviewing our behaviour in the light of them on a regular basis can help us identify what we are good at and what we need to work on and how we are going in our growth in a particular one of these characteristics if we set a plan to develop one further. There are those who journal at the end of each day about what happened during the day. I imagine they are better at self-reflection than the rest of us who do such reflection on a less regular basis (monthly, six monthly, yearly or some other frequency). Here is a reason to get better at self-reflection, to spend some time thinking about these characteristics and how you would like to rate for each one. Perhaps set aside some time to talk to God about this – we all need His help to grow in these matters.

Lord thank You that with Your help we can grow in each of these areas – that we can learn to be more friendly or to have greater understanding of Your word or to have more patience. These are things You want us to grow in and You will help us to do that. Help us to be aware of the areas we need to work on, help us to develop a plan to grow in that area (including communication with You) and help us to implement such plans. Please help us Lord to recognise when we do grow in these issues, to be aware of our maturing and to celebrate it.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Justin Ware says:

    Thanks Therese for your insights. My thoughts are similar and two things stand out to me in this passage.

    Firstly, in verse 9, Peter reveals the cause of us not being able to live a life that is good, righteous, Godly (etc), is associated with a spiritual blindness. Clearly Peter does not want believers to stay in this state of blindness, so he suggests that the cure is to remember that we are cleansed of sin. I love that this does not follow worldly logic but it is a truth that is communicated throughout the new testament letters and one that I have experienced myself- that as I understand my forgiveness and right relationship with God more and more, I find myself thankful to the point of desiring God more and more. I also position myself to be able to receive the Holy Spirit more regularly and in greater measure and this gives me the power and ability to live gradually more and more as I am called to.

    The second point is linked to the first. In verses 12 and 13, Peter makes it plain that he needs to remind me of the simple truth of what I already know in my head. This is because it is only by living out my knowledge of the gift that I have received that I will be able to have forward progress in my faith and life.

    Lord, let me stay rooted and reminded of your gift of love and complete forgiveness, not just in my head but in my heart

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