2 Peter 3:3 (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
Our verse today continues to focus on the issue salvation for sanctification. I think we should add Verses 4-8 to it so that we would have a broader context for our study. We have been looking at the gift of salvation … and the plan God ordained to save us from the darkness of this world before the Creation was spoken into existence. It is fascinating to ponder the foreknowledge of God and His will as manifested through His love. Like the Apostle John, the Apostle Peter, also an eyewitness of the majesty of Jesus Christ, came to understand that faith in Him gives us the right to become children of God. Yes, all who receive Him into their hearts … who believe in His name … He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (Cf. John 1:12-13) And so as children of God, we will grow in our faith to bear His image because our salvation was provided for this purpose … to be set apart … to be sanctified … to be holy just as He is holy. (Cf. 1 Peter 1:15)
When we are born-again of the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, His Spirit comes to indwell us. The outcome of this event is what Peter spoke about in this passage. Peter declared, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness! His divine power was given to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. As Paul corroborated, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time….” (2 Timothy 1:9)And Paul, in his Letter to Titus observed, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
Through these (His own glory and goodness), God has given us His very great and precious promises (salvation and eternal life), so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
I hope this is making sense. God ordained our salvation because of His own glory and goodness. It was His mercy and love that brought grace to existence. And, again, it is clear that God desires us to “participate in His divine nature”. This is our calling to holiness! This is our empowerment to become holy in all that we do! As Paul exhorted:
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the lusts of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
And so Peter goes on to explain that there is an ultimate purpose for faith to be formed in us. The initial purpose of faith is to bring us the light of the Gospel and to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Cf. John 1:4) Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Cf. John 8:12) And we can infer that in the beginning, God ordained for light to be separated from darkness. (Cf. Genesis 1:4) So it follows that our salvation through Jesus Christ was accomplished in order to separate us from the Kingdom of Darkness in this world and to transfer us into the Kingdom of Light. As Paul concluded, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Colossians 1:13) This is consistent with what John declared, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
I want us to look at the passage below wherein Paul stands before King Agrippa and shares what the Lord Jesus said to him during their encounter on the road to Damascus:
Acts 26:12-19 (NIV)
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.
Wow! God desires for His people to be turned from darkness to light … from the power of Satan to God. His purpose is to sanctify us through the salvation received in faith! His purpose is to separate us unto Himself! This is what it means to be “sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ”. And this is what Peter is driving at in his epistle. There is process of sanctification for us to enter after we have come to faith in Jesus Christ! I invite you to look at this process as we continue with our verse:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Is this not the process of sanctification laid out for us? Add to your faith goodness … knowledge … self-discipline … perseverance … godliness … mutual affection … love! Yes, the light of Jesus should be moving you and I along in the pursuit of love itself … the giving and sharing of the same love which God demonstrated to us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Cf. Romans 5:8) Through the process of sanctification we are conformed to the same depth of love we received in Christ Jesus. “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son….” (Cf. Romans 8:29a) Again, I hope this is making sense….
If people think that reciting the “sinner’s prayer” in repentance, and confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior is all that God has called you to do, I challenge them to look at these Scriptures again. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified!” (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:3) Our sanctification IS the objective! Indeed, no one can become set apart for God without first receiving the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit! “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Cf. Hebrews 11:6) But it is clear that we must ADD to our faith in order to fully love as we have been loved….
I will close with a couple of Scriptures for us to meditate on. I believe these passages are a call to the Prodigal … to the wayward and unfaithful among us. Take some time and allow God to speak to your heart and mine about the perseverance of faith … required to complete the process of sanctification we must all undergo under the hand of God. Oh, He is testing us! He is refining us. God wants us to see the value of faith … for it is of greater value than pure gold. (Cf. 1 Peter 1:7) So let us move on in sanctification to accomplish the holiness God desires for us to be like Him. For without holiness, no one will see the Lord. (Cf. Hebrews 12:14) Amen.
Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Cf. Isaiah 26:20; Habakkuk 2:3) 38 And, “But the righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” (Cf. Habakkuk 2:4) 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
2 John 4-9 (NIV)
4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.