Not So Fringe Benefits
Peter starts off this letter reminding the people the amazing benefits we have when we Hear & Follow Jesus…
- All people of faith have equal faith. Apparently, in the 1st Century, Christians struggled with “professional” faith verses “laity” faith. Starting off, Peter reminds his readers they have an equal faith as him. Peter walked, talked, ate, laughed and so much more with the physical incarnation of Jesus! And yet, he reminds them their faith is of equal privilege with his. Faith is faith, no matter who you are.
- God gives us all we need for living a godly life. Isn’t this freeing? We need nothing extra beyond God to live a godly life. This is so simple. This is so elementary. But we have such a hard time truly believing this. This doesn’t mean we don’t need others to grow. But it does mean God will give us what we need when we need it to live the godly life he wants us to live.
- We receive this through relationship with God. We do not receive the promises of God through a checklist. God gives these promises because we draw near to him in relationship. And, this isn’t bribery. It is the natural outflowing of coming close to God. Silly illustration. A shower promises to get us clean. But if we run the shower and never step into it, the shower will never get us clean.
- God’s promises allow us to share in his divine nature. If you haven’t been wowed yet, surly this gets something going in you. God shares his diving nature with us! This is why we can receive all the promises of God. He doesn’t turn on the “shower” and make us watch his divine nature. He invites us to jump into the shower and experience the Living Water for ourselves!
- God’s promises allow us to escape the world’s corruption. This is the natural “other side of the coin” to sharing in God’s divine nature. When we share in God’s holiness, it is impossible to be corrupted by the world. To continue with the shower illustration. When we jump into God’s holiness, the world washes right off.
- There is a list of qualities we grow in to produce fruit. We start with faith. Then we add goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love to our characteristics. It is a no brainer that if we’re sharing in God’s divine nature, these qualities are in us. But the more amazing part is that these are all we need to produce fruit. It is so easy to get caught up in the A + B = C equation game. If we do A + B, then the success of C will happen. Instead, God’s fruit is through characteristics, not “success”.
- Work hard in these things. It is these thing that we work hard in. It seems like God’s perspective is that we work hard in this and then everything else will fall into place. This is a message I need right now. I want to chase after the “C” of success. But instead, God wants me to work hard in his characteristics. Which means I work hard on the relationship I have with him. And he will give me what I need externally to have the fruit he wants me to have.
God gives us a lot of benefits for following Jesus. All we have to do is have faith he’ll provide them.
How Can We Know?
However, the benefits are pretty incredible. How can we trust we will actually receive them? Two reasons…
- First, Peter witnessed Jesus’ splendor with his own eyes. Peter experienced Jesus. He didn’t make this stuff up. On the mountain, Peter heard God himself say, “This is my beloved Son! I’m well pleased with him!” And Peter wants all of us to experience the same Jesus he has experienced.
- Secondly, all of this is in line with the prophets of the Old Testament. God spoke to the prophets. They didn’t come up with this stuff on their own. And then everything Jesus did affirmed what God was telling the prophets hundreds of years before.
To conclude, God will give us everything we need for life, exactly when we need it. I’ve experienced this over and over. And yet, when I’m in the middle of uncertainty, I struggle with living this by faith. Dive into a relationship with God and he will give you what you need when you need it!
Throughout this year (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017), CrossPoint will be reading through the New Testament. We are doing this because we’re learning about the Church and the New Testament is the handbook for the church. Therefore, join us as we follow this reading plan. Today’s reading is from 2 Peter 1.