Monday, April 18, 2016

Sure way to the entrace to Heaven

2 Peter 1:5-7
  • For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

These verses in 2 Peter chapter 1 list qualities that should be evident in ourselves. The verse 5 starts off saying "For this very reason." It refers to the verses that preceded, namely, verses 3 and 4. In summary, through God's precious and great (mega) promises, we become partners like Peter, the apostle, taking after our God.

Here is the mystery, God promised that we will take after our God. However, we must also strive for these qualities listed above as well.

The Greek translated as "Make every effort" can also be more literally translated as "personally carry through with your speedy diligence."

And "supplement" can be more literally translated as "lavishly supply." Therefore, we are to lavishly supply to our faith (God's persuasion), virtue (lit. moral excellence).

And lavishly supply to moral excellence, knowledge (of God through the word of God in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit).

Moreover, to knowledge, self-control (lit. mastery within; or Spirit-control or Spirit's work in us).

Moreover, to "mastery within," steadfastness (lit. remaining under; enduring or remaining under the challenges and trials that God allows in our lives).

Moreover, to "remaining under," godliness (lit. reverence/devotion to God, which are outwardly expressed as a result of our heart-response to all that who God is and what God has done, is doing and will do.)

Moreover, to "godliness," brotherly affection (lit. philadelphia; philos+adelphos= love for fellow believers/siblings/brothers and sisters in God).

Moreover, to "love for our brothers and sisters in God," love (agape) which, of course, is used commonly in the Bible, especially when referring to God's love for us.

Agape in Greek also has the connotation of preference. God prefers us. We prefer God over idols. Also, in the Christian sense, it connotes choice/decision to focus on, pay attention to, and choose to give myself to someone for their benefit. Of course, agape was most amazingly displayed by our Lord Jesus and pictured unmistakably on the cross where Jesus gave Himself for us because He preferred to give Himself up for us rather than preferring to stay and withhold Himself from us.

The qualities listed above, I believe, in one sense among others, display our spiritual journey or growth or sanctification.
  1. Firstly, we become convinced of Jesus' death for our sins and persuaded by His divine love -> Faith
  2. Secondly, with faith, we repent and do the things that God wants and likes, and do not do the things that God hates -> moral excellence
  3. Thirdly, with moral excellence, we learn more about God, His word, His promises and also learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. -> Knowledge
  4. Fourthly, with knowledge, we still sin, and then we cry and repent and do these things over and over again each day or each week or each year. Some people take many years before they reach the stage of self-control. We realise that we have been living this life mostly according to what we think is right, rather than according to God's word and commandments. Then, we finally become alarmed that we cannot live like this any longer. Even if one has all the knowledge of the Bible, if one has no self-control, they are on their way to destruction because "1 John" is clear, "no one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him." One asks oneself, "have I really been saved?" Then, we read the Bible again (knowledge), and we learn that we must submit ourselves to the Lord's will, and hate the world. Therefore, we cut ourselves from the world and it hurts. So much entertainment and fun from the world beckon and allure us to its enticing pleasure. However, we know, there is no fun in that for true Christians because God has really changed our hearts from the heart of stone to a heart that really pumps and responds to God (Ezekiel 36:26). Now, I am increasingly in full measure exposed to the Holy Spirit's control. -> self-control / mastery within through the Spirit. (I believe I am at this stage where I am still struggling a lot, yielding and submiting myself to the Spirit's control)
  5. Fifthly, with Spirit's control, God can more readily allow trials and suffering in our lives. We endure and remain under the trials and challenges that God allows in our lives. We do not leave God because we know that we have no other hope apart from the hope of God. We get no comfort from the world. We get comfort from God, and we are comforted by God and in God. Through suffering, Jesus is more gloriously manifested in our lives. Jesus displayed Himself through many martyrs and suffering saints of His.
    1. Acts 14:22 "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
    2. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 "that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this."
    3. Philippians 1:29 "For it has been granted to you for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also suffer for his sake"
  6. Sixthly, with steadfastness in Christ under suffering, we display our brotherly affection. In the times of trials, we show our affection in deeper and personal ways. We understand what our fellow believers are going through. And this love is seen by non-believers who not only are surprised by our hope and joy in the midst of trials but also get drawn to what or who our hope and joy is, namely, our Lord Jesus.
  7. Seventhly, with affection among brothers and sisters in Christ, we also learn to display agape, our God's sacrificial love. Jesus' love is more readily displayed by us who love each other in the midst of trials and suffering in tribulation. 1 John 4:12 says, "no one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

Finally, with agape, 2 Peter 1:10 and 11 say,

  • Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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