The Christian is a person who, according to Romans 10:9, confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead. Confession includes going against the tied of this world system. Belief means faith in the sacrificial death of Christ, which made it possible to raise the dead.
Those who respond to God’s call do so by faith in their sinfulness and need of a Savior. Upon the acknowledgment of these truths, the Christian receives Jesus Christ as Lord, Master, and Sovereign ruler of every aspect of their life.
Peter, in his second letter, beginning with the first eleven verses, conveys Jesus Christ as the only Sovereign and sole means of the Grace of God for the believing saint. He writes to those “…who have received a faith of the same kind as ours…”. There are many kinds of faith, but only one type will save you. That is faith placed solely in “…the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
No man can create the holiness and righteousness of Almighty God. Peter sets forth at the outset of his letter to describe the object of the Christian’s faith. It is most definitely not the good works of men, (the saint), but of God. He said to them “…Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord;” Grace is a gift that cannot be earned or deserved. It is freely given unconditionally to those who deserve punishment.
Upon the proposition that faith, which is received by God’s Grace, he then proceeds to state that God’s divine power “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…” That everything is not some small something. The “everything” of which he speaks that pertains to life and godliness is “…through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. ”
True knowledge is not knowing the personality type and color of a person’s hair. It is the intimacy that brings forth life. Cain “knew” his wife, and she conceived and brought forth a son. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, desires an intimate relationship with His people. For this reason, intellectual understanding alone of Biblical truth is not sufficient to save or sanctify (Make a person holy).
After stating the holiness created exclusively by God alone in the opening verses of his letter, Peter makes this statement. “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.” This statement is another way of saying, God-given faith produces holiness. Trust in God’s promises is holiness provided by God alone.
My dear readers, the conclusion of the matter is this. Faith produces all of the “spiritual disciplines.” The spiritual disciplines cannot produce faith. Faith acknowledges that God alone is the source of holiness. We must be clear at this point. When we are not clear, our priorities and trust are then incorrectly placed.
The eight qualities of the Christian experienced are listed, and among them is self-control or discipline. The most deadly thing to be produced by a wrong order of approaching the means of godliness is found in this statement by Peter. “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” “These qualities” are qualities produced by God and not human endeavor. The difference is as vast as the gap between pride and humility.
Only a proud person forgets his sinfulness. How long have you been a Christian? Are you still painfully aware of your inadequacy and inability to follow Christ apart from his unconditional and irresistible calling you? Apart from God, we can do nothing, not even keep our heart beating. Peter spent much space in making this truth clear before approaching what God must create within us. Ensuring faith in God who alone can produce holiness is no small matter!