Monday, April 14, 2014

A Friendly Reminder

At this time each year, Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday. We are reminded of the day Jesus entered Jerusalem with the highest esteem, only to be slain just a few days later. Although this week is the most important on the Christian calendar (for, indeed, our faith stems from the resurrection), the Bible is not just filled with stories of which to be reminded, but of teachings to help us live.

2 Peter 1.12 says that Peter will always remind his readers of certain qualities which they have already been taught. Peter has already established that the faith of his readers "of equal standing with ours", speaking of himself, other apostles, and any other companions of Peter. He also reminds his readers that God makes VERY great promises, having already reminding them that God called us to His own glory and excellence. Given these statements, Peter reminds his readers that they must "make every effort". It is certainly the work of the Holy Spirit within us that enables us to add the qualities listed, but Peter specifically says the work is up to us (as well).

The qualities are: 
  • Faith - the beginning of our journey with God
  • Virtue – goodness (moral excellence)
  • Knowledge – to know more
  • Self-control – to begin living by what we know
  • Steadfastness – being committed to the self-control being developed (having resolve)
  • Godliness – becoming like God
  • Brotherly affection – showing kindness toward others (to care for)
  • Love – the selfless love that God gave to us

Peter then wrote that for those that:
  • are doing this, you will not become ineffective.
  • are not doing this, they will forget the cleansing from their sins.

So, Peter reminds them. Again. Always. In fact, he admits, he always will as long as he lives.

He wants to remind them of a simple set of steps.

Why? Because Peter reminds his readers:

False teachers will come. (to deceive - Chap 2)
  • Just as people were deceived and became corrupt in the days of Noah and later Lot, it has happened many times since Peter wrote these words, and is happening again today.

Scoffers will come. (to ridicule - Chap 3, first part)
  • v. 4 - “Where is the promise of His coming?" - a phrase that was as common in Peter's day as it is in ours

Judgment will come.
  • Judgment came once in the form of water to cleanse. (Noah)
  • Judgment will come next in the form of fire to purify!

Yet God waits. His time is drawing near. If Peter and Paul thought he would return then, how much more should we think His return is near now – nearly 2000 years later.

The problem is that we are too impatient with the patience of God.

Honestly, it is fun to speculate about the future, and the timing of Christ's return. But we have a hard enough time doing what we know we are to do. And whether or not Jesus' return is imminent, we are to be doing what He has asked (or commanded) us to do.

Peter tells his readers he will constantly remind them of these qualities. We need to remind each other of these qualities and our need to be growing as well. In doing so, we will be on the road to becoming the disciples Jesus has called us to be, so we can make the disciples he has called us to make.

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