Monday, May 13, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 3

Before we get started with today’s teaching, I seem to have stirred up some controversy over a scripture passage I quoted in my previous post.

The passage is out of the gospel according to Matthew, and it says this:

Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

So we can all agree that Jesus did speak these words. Yes? With that consensus, I will say that I never meant to insinuate that Peter was The Rock, but just a rock, because Peter does mean rock when interpreted.

No, I did not convert to Catholicism, nor did I adopt a new doctrinal belief system, but by the same token I will not attempt to do mental acrobatics to make the verse say something it doesn’t say just for the fun of it.

We all know Jesus is the foundation, the cornerstone, The Rock upon which the church is built, but He did speak those words, and if He did, then perhaps Peter is a small pebble there somewhere in the great construct known as the household of faith.

With that matter hopefully settled, we continue with our exegesis on the first chapter of second Peter, to see what more we can glean from it.

2 Peter 1:1, ‘Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Since during the last post we discussed whom this letter was from, today we will begin to discuss who it was addressed to.

We know Simon Peter wrote it, introducing himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, but who did he write this letter to?

Peter’s letter was not penned for the rebellious, nor was it penned for the godless, it was penned for those who had obtained like precious faith, those who had been redeemed and sanctified by Christ Jesus.

It is important to make the distinction as to whom Peter was writing, because I’ve often heard it said that the whole growth in Christ thing is not for Christians, and every time I hear this it sounds ludicrous on its face and causes me great concern for the mental wellbeing of those peddling this pablum.

The reason men insist that growth in Christ is not for believers is because the notion of continually growing – adding to that which we already possess so we might become more like the One we serve – can be misconstrued as work, as labor, as striving, and they refuse to believe we have to do anything more than lift a limp hand at a crusade for Jesus.

Anything more than allowing the inertia and energy of the moment to overtake you and compel you to raise your hand would be just a tad too much for God to ask of you for the eternity He is offering in return.

Another thing we would do well to heed is the wording of Peter’s address to those who have obtained like precious faith.

Not all faith is the same, and not everyone who has faith has the same kind of faith you have. Peter is writing to those who have obtained like precious faith, meaning of the same nature, in the same God, and with the same passion.

Often wonder why even though someone says they have the same faith as you do for some reason you just can’t get into fellowship with them?

Ever wonder why even though someone professes a thing when it comes to living the thing they profess they are lacking?

It is because they do not have like precious faith; they have faith in the idol of their own imagining, the god of their own creation, who requires nothing of them, who demands no surrender, no faithfulness, no obedience, and no worship.

Peter was writing to those who knew they had obtained like precious faith, and who likewise knew who it was that made it possible for them to obtain it.

When we read quickly or haphazardly we often miss the beautiful nuances in the word of God, and this first verse of second Peter has one such nuance.

As he writes to those who have obtained like precious faith he is likewise quick to remind them that it was not by their own merit, it was no by their own work, but rather by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is by the righteousness of Christ Jesus, and only by the righteousness of Christ Jesus that we obtain like precious faith with the saints. Because it is in His righteousness that we stand, we walk boldly toward eternity, having His authority just as we have His righteousness and knowing that through Him and by Him we are more than conquerors.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


marshall warren said...

It was all good, but I love the last paragraph. Without His righteousness and guidance we can do nothing right. Jesus said that he only spoke what the His Heavenly Father told Him too. According to His own words He followed His Father's directions. To many times we (I) receive word from the Holy Spirit to do a certain thing and then set about to do it the way we think it ought to be done. Instead of, as Jesus did, following the step by step directions of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task.
God bless all of you,

Barbara said...

Does a plant not grow? The family of Christ is a vine. If it is not sustained through living water and the meat or fertilizer of the word, it is going to wither and die.

You need to keep growing if you are a living being. If you are a kid, you grow up. If you are grown, you grow wise or you waste away.

People who don't want to grow in Christ want to block the power of God. If you are in a relationship of love, the love grows. If it doesn't grow, it dies. Love grows deeper or it just goes away.

If your faith is precious to you, you guard it like something you love and would give your life for. If your faith is just a way of joining a club called Christianity, it won't be worth much to you. It is then just something that can be put aside and not nurtured and cared for and protected.

Any tree that fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. If you are not producing fruit, you are a bad tree. You don't have to produce bad fruit, just no fruit. You produce fruit by growing.

A lot of Christians are mean and sour and judgemental. They have not grown in the fruit of the spirit. They are not showing love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, meakness, patience, holiness. Their lack of growth is producing rotteness and sourness and bitterness.