2 Peter 2:3-15
“3 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,4 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. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”
Just A Reminder
I do not know about you, but often I need reminding of who I am. Who am I? Well, I am in Christ, which is easy to say, but not always so easy to believe. If I truly always remembered my position in Christ, I would always live in that position. In verses three through nine, Peter describes to the reader all the truths that accompany being a believer in Christ. To paraphrase, Peter reminds those who believe, he reminds them then, he reminds us now, of what we are saved from, our process of sanctification, the knowledge of Godliness in Christ, and the ability to live a godly life. These verses contain all the essential truths that define the position Christians have in Christ. I have this, you have this, anybody who has ever believed in Jesus, has the truths Peter talks about above, regardless of whether or not we use them. If every second of every day, we held to the truth of our position in Christ, we would never give into the lies of our flesh, that is called perfection, something we will not receive until glory. Just because we will not achieve perfection in Christ while on this earth, does not mean we cannot strive for it. Until then, it is necessary we live a life of remembrance and continuous reminder of who we are in Christ, not who we used to be in the flesh.
Peter sounds off the litany regarding the truths believers posses in Christ. I wonder if the first readers of this letter thought “gee Peter tell us something we do not know”. In verses twelve through fifteen, for the believer the key to living in Christ is not just knowing the truth, but constantly being reminded of it. The original audience of this letter knew the truth, just as we do now. Peter’s goal in what he wrote was not to give them new truths they did not know, but to remind them of the truths they already knew. When we hear truth sometimes it is a knee jerk reaction to have an attitude of “I already know this”, yet even though Peter says that the believer may know these truths, they still need reminding of them. If we did not need reminding of the identity we have in Christ, we would almost always act Christ like would we not? Living a life of holiness means endlessly reminding yourself of what it means to be holy.
Who We Are, Not Who We Used to Be
I am going to be honest, I do not always remind myself about my position in Christ and as a result my flesh takes advantage of me. I willingly forget who I am in Christ, and falsely see myself through the flesh. When things are easy, I believe, talk about, and share who I am in Christ, no problem, yet when the crap hits the fan, when my flesh decides it is time to make another move, it is as if those truths go right out the window. It is not because I do not know the truth either, it is because I choose not to remind myself of it. Sure, once I have sinned and the deed is done I am reminded of who I am in Christ as I embrace His grace, but had I been living with a constant reminder of my position, I might not have given into my struggle in the first place. Think about your recurring, those sins that no matter what you do, it seems like you almost always give into it. That sin, maybe some people know about, but mostly it is kept to yourself, that in the darkest hours of each days], eats at you, makes you feel defeated.For some people this may be lust, while for others it may be sins of self image, or selfishness because of greed, whatever the sin, each of us have deal with it.
What then do we do? The reason we give into our flesh, that we sin, is not because we lack the ability or knowledge needed to live a life in Christ, it is because we choose not to remind ourselves of the life we have been given. That is the key to it, the more I live the Christian life, the more I see it is not about what we should not do in sin, but what we should do as we pursue being more like Christ. Until we die, we are going to sin, but what we have to remember is that sanctification is not about avoiding sin, it is about embracing Christ. If our primary goal as a Christian is to avoid sin, it is not going to be long until we find out sin is unavoidable. We do not have a position in Christ because we dealt with sin in ourselves, we have a position in Christ because sin was dealt with in Him. We do not have to deal with sin,, because sin has already been dealt with in Him. Yes, believers are susceptible to sin, but they are not defined by it. Avoidance of sin is a result of being in Christ, not the cause of it. As we embrace Christ, we will live like Christ, and avoidance of sin will be a result. We do not have to overcome sin in ourselves, because we are overcomers of sin in Him. As we are reminded of and live our position in Christ, we will accept what He accepts, and reject what He rejects. Peter’s reminder was for believers then, just as it is for believers now.