Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Escaped and Alive (2 Peter 1:4)

“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4, NASB95)

“For by these” refers back to the divine power of God through which He worked to grant us everything that we have. He gave us the faith that we have. Apart from Him not only would we not have anything to believe in or trust, but more foundationally we wouldn’t even exist. It is the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ that is put upon us that makes us to stand as righteous before our God. It is His incredible grace that has been shown to us when all that we deserve because of our rebellion is judgment, and it is precisely because our account has been settled with Him by Him and we can live at peace before Him and in the presence of others. It is these things and more that Peter prayed would be multiplied to his readers in verse 1.

Continuing in verse 2, we read what God has granted to us EVERYTHING according to HIS DIVINE POWER that pertains to life and godliness. He does this with the full, unlimited, and perfect knowledge of every single one of us with full view of the entirety of His plan. He knows what we need for all that we are, and He is the grantor to make sure that we have it.

As I read today’s verse I was struck again that it began with “He” and “His.” The remarkable truth of us living before our God is that He is the author of life and He holds it in His hands. He is sovereign over all of creation, which even includes our enemy who while ruling on earth for a season does not do so unchecked by God’s powerful hand and perfect will. This is important to recognize when we run into those moments, days, and even seasons when things seem a bit out of control and we might be buried by our circumstances whether of our own doing or from somewhere else. It is important to grasp from the get go that God is powerful to fulfill every single one of the promises He has ever made, and He is trustworthy to do it. There is no power that can thwart Him, but rather all power whether here in earth, below or even above is subject to Him (Philippians 2:10).

There is no force pushing on us that that is more powerful than that of Christ to sustain us. This is the simple and absolute truth. From it God is fully capable of taking care of us and leading us to victory in every struggle or battle in which we might be engaged. When Peter wrote, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises” we can believe it. His Word is true, and we can trust His words given to us. In Ephesians 6 Paul wrote about the warfare that we are all engaged in. He spoke of the spiritual battle which wages around us that we cannot see, and he told us that our way to victory is to dress ourselves in Christ. The starting place of being dressed is the recognition that God’s Word is true. It is the belt with which we are girded. It is the absolute assurance that He can and will act to do as He says, and it is His Word that declares the foundation we have in Him upon which we know we can stand. “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” (Psalm 119:160, NASB95)

Peter went on to add that not only have we been saved and given life according to the infallible Word of God through His precious promises being fulfilled for us, but we are being continually enabled to live according to that same Word. When we became Christians, we became new creations in Christ. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NASB95) We are no longer slaves to sin, but we have been made anew in Christ and we have received the Holy Spirit to live in each of us. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NASB95) We become changed vessels for God, and as His new creations we are called to live accordingly as we read in the next verse of 1 Corinthians. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NASB95)

Being a partaker of the divine nature is more than joining a church or being a part of a denomination. It is being made alive in Christ and receiving the living God in the person of the Holy Spirit to remain in each and every single one of us to be in us until we are delivered into His eternal presence. This is a truth that does not change when we take our eyes off of God. The Spirit of God goes “nowhere,” but we are continually called to look to Him, walk according to His Word, and submit ourselves to His change and leading in our lives as we fulfill those things which He has appointed for us to do knowing that the Spirit is “now here.”

It is because He is God and all that we have comes from Him. He has made us able to share in this incredible life, and He enables us to live free from the lives we once had. He is the One that released us from the slavery of sin and corruption, and He even helps us live victoriously over the desires that even surface now to capture our eyes and hearts. It is in Christ, that we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” Desire is a strong force. Lust is desire on the verge of action, and Christ gives us power to turn from these lusts, change our actions and reshape our desires. The battle is not easy, but the victory is sure in Him.

The psalmist asked in Psalm 119:9, “How does a young man keep his way pure?” In that same verse, he also answered the question with, “By keeping it according to Your [God’s] word.” (Psalm 119:9, NASB95) That’s the truth of the matter. Verse 11 has the accompanying action point. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11, NASB95) These are both popular memory verses, but I venture to wonder how many who have memorized verses 9 and 11 have also memorized verse 10. “With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:10, NASB95)

Our lives as Christians are not about memorizing the do’s and don’ts and living according to them. The simple truth to this approach is that apart from verse 10 we will all fail. Our lives as Christians is about seeking after our God with all of our heart, and trusting Him to direct and guard our steps. He is the victory that has overcome the world.

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