Thursday, August 8, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 19

Although it would be easy for me to get sidetracked and go into the various attributes of love, distinguishing between true love and feigned love, we will table that discussion for another time and continue with our journey through Peter’s inspired admonition toward all believers.

One need only understand the time and place of Peter’s upbringing as well as his chosen profession to likewise understand that the words he penned were not his own, but were from another source, one which flowed through him rather than being inherently his.

Peter was a fisherman. He knew how to cast nets, bring the nets in, fill his boat and go sell the fish he happened to catch on a given day in the marketplace. He was not singled out for being a deep thinker like Paul, nor an educated man like Luke, but simply as one who knew how to labor with his hands and do what he must to feed his family.

If the words he penned in his first and second epistle would have been attributed to one such as Paul, they would be no great surprise. He was after all the most educated of the men who followed after Christ and wrote epistles. Coming from Peter however, from the calloused hands of a laborer who had no formal training in the ways of philosophy or introspective thought, it is something worth pondering and acknowledging as having been divine in origin.

2 Peter 1:8, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

At first glance this verse seems relatively innocuous. When we begin to ponder what the verse actually implies, we begin to see a depth heretofore unexpected.

The first thing we notice is the conditionality of the verse. Whenever we see the word ‘if’ in the Bible, it implies conditionality. I realize the notion of conditionality is one many believers have a difficult time with, but God will not change His Word to spare our feelings, nor will He compromise Himself in order to come in line with our way of thinking.

If men attempting to will their doctrines upon the mind of God were not so tragic it would be outright laughable. We have lost sight of whom God is, who we are, and what our relationship with Him ought to be, and because of this we continually attempt to pressure God into lowering His standard, changing His stance, or compromising His Word, all the while diluting ourselves into believing this is possible.

God is not a Calvinist, nor is He a Wesleyan, nor is He a Lutheran, nor is He a Baptist, Pentecostal, or Methodist. God is God, and He will not be neatly fit into our denominational boxes, quietly bidding His time until Christ’s return, reward in hand.

God is unchanging. He identified Himself as unchanging, or as being the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Either we submit ourselves to His authority, align ourselves with His Word, and obey His commandments, or we are calling Him a liar to His face all the while expecting His bountiful blessings to be poured upon us.

God demands obedience and He will settle for nothing less.

I know we’re supposed to consider ourselves the most special generation amidst the most special nation to have ever graced the planet, but that is only due to the arrogance and the self-importance we shower ourselves with. In reality God is no respecter of persons, He does not see Americans, Romanians, Italians, or Puerto Ricans, He sees His creation and whether or not His creation is clothed in the blood, righteousness, and holiness of His Son Jesus.

In attempting to widen the path, in attempting to make salvation as pain free and absent of sacrifice as starting a new checking account, we’ve endeavored to remove conditionality from the Word of God, deride those who insist it is still included therein, and pretend as though God didn’t say what He said, nor meant what He meant.

If these things abound in us, if we possess faith and godliness, knowledge and self-control, love and brotherly kindness, and the other things Peter outlined, it is only then that we will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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