Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Christ-sighted Living (2 Peter 1:9-11)

“For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” (2 Peter 1:9–11, NASB95)

Reading these verses, a phrase that I have often heard jumped into my head: “That person has lost his ball in the weeds.” Included in this phrase is the fact that the person owned something, but because of stuff that has gotten in the way (the weeds) he has lost sight of it. The hope is that it is temporary and that with diligence the ball will soon be found. But for many this seems to not be the case. They seem to live their lives as if the ball is permanently gone. Speaking plainly, this person has lost focus on what is important and has become entangled in what isn’t. He or she has in essence become sidelined as a result of getting sidetracked by something else.

The theological underpinning or foundational truth here for Christians hits at our assurance of salvation. We own the salvation ball. The ownership of it is not in question. What is in question is our ability to clearly see it. When we trusted in Jesus Christ for our salvation our salvation became certain. It is a gift given to us by God which He will not revoke or take back. It was not something that we earned, and it is not something that we can lose. When we become a Christian, we become a new creation in Christ and we are sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit until such time that we are ushered into His eternal presence. This is His promise and He is faithful to keep it. He is the keeper of us, and He will not let go or let anyone snatch us from His strong hand.

What is in question is our fellowship. When a ball is lost in the weeds we are unable to play with it. For all intent and purpose, it is as if it did not exist though it really does. What is needed is to mow down those weeds and clear the field so that we might enjoy the game. It is the “these things” that Peter wrote about in the previous verses that enable us, according to another phrase, “keep our eye on the ball.” When we keep our eyes on Christ, trust His precious promises and with all diligence and perseverance pursue godliness as we love God and others we will be able to see with open eyes. It is when we neglect these that we become blinded or short-sighted to the truth and we even forget the incredible work that Christ has done in us by cleansing us from our sins and setting us on a new path which He enables us to walk.

We have an enemy that, using a baseball metaphor again, would like to put us on the bench. He may not be able to kick us off the roster, but he surely will try to make us ineffective in the game. It is incumbent of us to keep our eyes on Christ who is our head and to seek after those things which He has declared to be good and proper. As we do this we will continue to see His hand in our lives and know the continual affirmation of the work that He began is us as we continually grow into His image. And, as He grows us we will see evidence of that fruit in our lives both in attitude and action.

Peter went on to add that when we do these things that he had just encouraged us in that we will “never stumble.” I had gone a long time in my life without ever really twisting my ankle such that it really became swollen and I had to go to the doctor. But several years ago, I was at a camp with my son, Jon, and I was walking out of a cabin down some steps and I did not look through the right part of my glasses (something that some of you will understand). As I stepped I did not gauge the distance properly and I went down with quite a thud. It hurt like crazy, but it was the first day of camp so I got up, gritted my teeth and went on through the rest of the weekend. After getting home I thought a little more soberly about it and went to the doctor who sent me elsewhere to be fitted for a brace. The crazy thing is that I knew everything was right there, but I didn’t look at it rightly and I fell.

Looking at this word in the context of our salvation it could be easy to question whether or not our salvation is really that certain. Peter is not calling that into question here. What he is doing is pointing to the continual affirmation of that salvation as we keep our eyes on Christ and know His constant working in our life to complete the work that God began in our lives until that time that we are brought into His eternal presence. It with the certainty of the end in mind that we walk with certainty in the present, continually putting aside the things of the world and putting on those things that we learn concerning who we are in Christ from the Word.

God will give us what we need to walk as He intends us to walk. What He calls us to do is to practice those things such that they are continually present in our lives. He is faithful.

At the end of Jude we read, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24–25, NASB95)

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