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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

May 29, 2013

2 Peter 1:8-11

  1. Recap. In the first four verses of his epistle, Peter lays a foundation for what follows by reminding the saints of the sufficiency of the resources provided for our salvation and for our sanctification. In these verses, Peter sets out the goal of our salvation and its means. Through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we have been given faith in Him, resulting in a salvation which destines us to become like Christ. Having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust, we are now destined to become partakers of the divine nature (see also Romans 8:28-29). In verses 5-7, Peter explains the method by which we work out our faith and strive toward Christlikeness. Beginning with faith, Peter sets out eight character qualities for which the believer should diligently strive. These verses go much further than a mere explanation of the steps to Christian maturity-they exhort us to exert ourselves in the pursuit of holiness.

  2. Verse 8. Peter list some of the personal benefits the Christian gains from the pursuit of holiness. Peter assures us that the pursuit of these previously listed qualities in increasing measure is of great benefit to the believer. When Jesus told his disciples to seek the kingdom of God this is what he was referring to. These qualities lead us to become more like Christ and as we become more like him we begin to see and understand his way versus the way of the world. These benefits are described both negatively and positively. Peter begins with the negative benefits in verses 8-9. In verse 8, Peter tells the church if they continue and pursue the character qualities listed in the previous verses they will avoid becoming useless and unfruitful. The term rendered “useless” may also mean “idle.” An “idle” person is unproductive and thus useless. One who is not diligently pursuing holiness, as Peter describes in verses 5-7, is idle and useless. One who diligently pursues holiness is being useful. The “useless” or “idle” saint may not immediately appear to be either idle or useless. He or she may be very busy, but with respect to pursuing the things of God they are idle or not progressing. When a car is idle it is not moving, and thus not actually doing what a car was designed to do and that is travel. We were design to mature in the faith. When we avoid pursuing the qualities of Christ we are negating our purpose in God. Every saint should seek to fulfill their God given purpose. To sit idly by and not seek after God will cause us to not mature. The other word used in this verse is unfruitful. The term “unfruitful” is a synonym of “idle” or “useless,” further explaining what Peter meant by the first term. To be idle is to be unprofitable or unfruitful. Fruitfulness has always been regarded as characteristic of the saint and unfruitfulness a condition to be avoided (see Psalm 1:3; Matthew 3:7-10; 7:17-19; 13:23; John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11). Our Lord’s cursing of the barren fig tree is indicative of His displeasure toward those who are unfruitful (see Matthew 21:19-22). Remember the fruit tree was a representation of the Temple and priesthood of the day. Busy but unfruitful. “Nothing but leaves”

  3. Verse 9. Peter continues to teach that if we pursue the things of God that are listed in verses 1-7, we show that we are still able to see how the Lord has saved us from our sins. We are grateful and our gratitude is always before us motivating us to please God. One of the things that happen to some believers is that they have a selective memory concerning their lives before Christ. Some seem to forget that God has brought them a long way and instead of pursuing God they fall back into the worldly pursuits of their flesh. Constantly pursuing the things of God can guard you from falling back into the trap of the world’s lust and desires. Peter shares that failing to pursue the things of God and keeping God’s plan in your sight can cause spiritual blindness. Pursuing the things of God gives one an opening to see the move of God clearer. Spiritual sight is divinely given at the time of one’s conversion, and spiritual illumination continues to take place through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:6-16). To fail to pursue holiness is to become increasingly blind. Spiritual blindness manifests itself as short-sightedness. Instead of “fixing our hope” on the spiritual and eternal certainties which God has promised and provided for us, we see only in the present. The pursuit of holiness keeps us from impaired spiritual vision.

  4. Verse 10-11. Peter in these verses is prompting us to pursue the things of the kingdom in the same way Jesus did with our salvation. Jesus pursued our salvation with a passion and we need to pursue him with a passion. In the same way he made a way for us to enter into the kingdom of God, we must make every effort to mature in the faith. We must pursue God with a steadfast and determined mind. The result of the work of Christ was that there was an abundant provision made for us to be saved. The result of our pursuit of God will result in an abundant way for us to mature in the faith and not fall back to our old ways.

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