Sweet Promises

God's GloryYou can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we saw God has granted us everything we need to live a life of godliness. It’s not just possible for the elite, professional Christians, but it’s expected of all Christians. This morning, we’ll check out some sweet promises God has in store for us.

2 Pet. 1:4 says, “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.”

By these. Because of God’s glory and excellence. Last week we didn’t really explore God’s glory. It’s a state of being great and wonderful. It is the manifestation of God’s nature and His presence with humanity. It was the glory of God that led the children of Israel out of Egypt through a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. Ex. 24 tells us that the cloud rested on Mt. Sinai and Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights with the glory of God. In Ex. 40, the glory of God filled the temple. Ps. 96:3 says to, “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” In the great Christmas story, Luke says in Lu. 2:9, “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.” The glory of the Lord is an incredible thing. 1 Cor. 11:7 says that man was made in the image and glory of God. The church takes the glory of God and we turn it into a verb when we glorify God in all that we think, say, and do. The glory of God is reflected when we, “. . . give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6) When we share the life changing message of Christ, the glory of God is released because Jesus is, “The radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3) By God’s glory and excellence we have been granted, “precious and magnificent promises.”

What are the promises? Is Peter talking in generalities or specifics? He says that the promises have been granted to us. The promises that come from faith in the Gospel of Christ. Not everyone benefits from these promises. We often see the promises of God turned into catch phrases and used by people that do not know God. God won’t give you anything you can’t handle. God works all things for good. God’s promises are not to be used as some magical incantations to ward off bad things. Christianity is more than snappy one liners. If we would just realize the incredible promises of God, maybe our faith would be something more than what it is. Peter is not talking generalities. As we’ll see as we move through this letter, Peter is talking about the second coming of Christ. God never breaks a promise and the hard part for us is playing the waiting game. We’re too impatient to sit back and wait. But Paul provides some instructions in 2 Cor. 7:1, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” We have a responsibility while we wait. Interestingly, Paul is talking about defilement from idols. When we recognize and understand the promises of God, it should motivate us to eliminate anything in our hearts that causes a separation between us and God. That’s called idolatry in the Bible. People say they can’t participate in the things of God because they’re too busy – the Bible calls it misplaced priorities. People say Sunday is the only day they have to spend with their family, but they neglect the family of God. People say you only live once and you have to grab life for all it’s worth – the Bible says your life is a vapor and you’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Eternity is forever and John writes, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 Jo. 3:2) Life on earth is preparation for life in eternity.

What’s the point? God’s promises have been given so that we, “May be partakers of the divine nature.” Remember that we have been given everything we need, “pertaining to life and godliness.” But that doesn’t mean we become God. Even if we are partakers of the divine nature, Christians are not deified. We do not become God, we do not become a god. Peter means that we take on the moral characteristics of God. The Holy Spirit of God takes residence in our hearts and leads us and guides us. Behavior matters! We don’t act godly to be saved; we act godly because we ARE saved! When we are truly converted, we begin to know God and are changed by Him into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It is the continual process called sanctification. We are growing more and more like Christ; becoming more and more like Him through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Peter says we have, “Escaped the corruption that is in this world by lust.” When he says corruption, Peter is talking about the way the world works. John told us, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world.” (1 Jo. 2:15) Peter tells us we’ve escaped the world because of Christ. Since we belong to Christ, we’re no longer held hostage by the world’s influence. Paul told us that, “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to son; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Rom 6:6-7) Peter and Paul are talking about the same thing. Humanity is born dead because of the curse; because of sin. But when we trust in the truth of the Gospel and are born again, we are set free in Christ! We’re dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus! (Rom. 6:11) Peter didn’t think the world was evil or bad. It’s the desires and attitudes of people that are evil. The root of this corrupt world is the opposition to what is right, and holy, and pure, and godly. It is the opposition to God and all things that relate to Him.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a part of the world’s corruption. You are free in Christ. Free to follow him, free to be like Him, free to live for Him. Gal. 6:8 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

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