Practice Makes Perfect

PracticeYou can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we saw the contrast between a life of godliness and a life void of those virtuous qualities that are expected to be present and growing in our lives. We learned that if we have the virtues of vs. 5-7 and they are increasing, Peter said we’re useful for the Kingdom.

This morning we’ll look at a conclusion Peter makes about our lives. 2 Pet. 1:10-11 says, 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.”

What does a life of ungodliness mean? Peter’s conclusion is extraordinarily sobering and should be a real eye opener for us. If there is no godliness in a person’s life, the only biblical conclusion you can come to is they have not experienced the forgiveness available through Jesus’ shed blood. We’re talking no evidence of a life devoted to Christ. So Peter exhorts us to, “Be all the more diligent to make certain.” There’s that word diligent again that Peter used in v. 5, but this time it’s a verb. It’s an action word. The grace of God should not lull us into moral relaxation. We need to take part in keeping ourselves close to God. We’re to be more careful and persistent in our work and be quick about, “being certain.” Certain is a legal term that means make sure, or be well established. Certain about, “His calling and choosing you.” Yes you can be sure! The call of Christ is produced by faith. Even though He called us and chose us, we must respond to the call. Jo. 6:44, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” 1 Thes. 1:4 says, “Knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” God plays a significant part in our calling, but here Peter is talking about our responsibility. We must make sure of His calling and choosing by practicing the virtues of vs. 5-7.

Look at why Peter says that. “For as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” Peter has no patience for people that claim a relationship with Christ while there is no supportive evidence. If you read ahead to chapter 2, you’ll see the false prophets and false teachers were living their lives in contradiction to the truth. They taught destructive doctrine and denied Jesus Christ. We’ll learn more about them when we get there. As long as you practice these virtues, you’ll never stumble. Never is a long time. Are you thinking you must be perfect? That wouldn’t be consistent with other passages. Living a life of godliness is evidence of the forgiveness that God granted through Christ. Jude 24 says Jesus is able to keep you from stumbling. You won’t forsake God or His teachings; you won’t abandon Christianity. If you can walk away from Jesus, you’re not a Christian. 1 Jo. 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us.” Peter is saying that when you are actively engaged in the qualities from vs. 5-7, you will never fall away from God. You are investing in your relationship with God on a daily basis. As we’ll see, when you don’t invest in that daily relationship with God through Christ, you become easy prey for false teachers and bad theology.

Peter’s next phrase in v. 11 is a really good one. “In this way.” The way Peter is talking about is the way of authentic Christian living as demonstrated by vs. 5-7. Jesus described Himself was as, “The way, the truth, and the life.” (Jo. 14:6) For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Matt. 7:14) Peter is talking about a definitive path that leads to a specific place. This isn’t a path to nowhere, it’s a path to righteousness, to godliness, to holiness; it is a path to God through Jesus Christ as demonstrated by the godly virtues of vs. 5-7. Pro. 14:12 and 16:25 both say, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  “For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” Those that practice the godly virtues will enter into the Kingdom of God. The reason that people can practice those virtues is because God has granted you everything you need for a life of godliness. The reason God granted you that is because of your faith in Christ. Peter’s main concern at this point is entrance to the Kingdom. Again, the emphasis is that people cannot enter heaven without living in a godly way. This is not salvation by works, but salvation with works. This is the evidence that Jesus is alive! If you have no works in your life, then your faith is dead. If you have time, I encourage you to read James 2:14-26.

Jesus wants to accomplish so much in our lives. He wants to draw men to Him to enjoy all that a life devoted to Christ brings with it. The way of Christ not only leads to heaven and the privilege of being in the eternal presence of God, it leads to an active, living faith that is manifested in enduring godliness. How does your life reflect a living faith?

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