God's Grace for Growth in Godliness - 2 Peter 1:3-11.
There are many things that we want to improve in and achieve in life isn’t there.
We go through years of study so that we may get a good job.
Some go to football training so they may get better at football and others go to karate so they can better defend themselves.
We often go on diets and take up excercise so that we can improve our appearance and health.
and it seems that everyone is free to choose what area of life they wish to improve in and try to do well in.
Some focus on their jobs and others on their fitness. Some practice to become good cooks and others quite like gardening.
But when it comes to the Christian life whilst there is freedom to decide what hobbies you would like to take up, there is one thing that is needful to grow in and none of us have a choice in the matter.
and that is godliness or we could say Christ-likeness, which is one of the main aims of our salvation.
So much so that the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8 that believers have been predestined to be confomed to the image and likeness of Jesus.
So the passage we have read here in 2 Peter is very helpful as we think about this topic because in it Peter does three things for us.
He tells us of the provision God has made to enable us to life a godly life and grow in Christ like ness,
Secondly he tells us some of the qualities that characterise one who is being conformed ito the image of Jesus
and finally we see the vital necesity for each follower of Jesus to be persuing and growing in godliness.
So we see the provision, the qualities and the necessity of a godly life.
Provision for a Godly Life - (v3-4)
Provision for a Godly Life - (v3-4)
Peter begins then by telling the church of the provision that God has made for His people to be growing in godliness.
He says in verse 3 that God has granted or we could say given to us all that we need for life and godliness.
So immedietly we see that God by His grace and it’s by His grace becasue it is undeserved on our part.
God has given us all that we need to live a godly life and to be growing in the likeness of Jesus character.
and God has done this by His divine power as it says at the beginning of verse 3.
So this shows us that God is the initiator of spiritual growth but He is also the enabler too and there is nothing that He has left uncovered.
Notice Peter says all things that pertain to life and godliness.
So He hasn’t just provided for us to grow in love towards people or to grow in faith but He has provided for all things that petain to a godly life.
and so how has He done this?
Well Peter now tells us how as he says at the end of verse 3 that it is through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.
so the instrument of growth is our knowledge of Jesus.
This begins with a personal knowledge of Jesus when we are born again and united to Him through faith.
And it continues as we continue to grow in of our knowledge of Him.
and it is by this knowledge that we have many precious promises the culmination of which is the partaking of the divine nature. as we see in verse 4.
So Through a personal and increasing knowledge of Jesus as we are united to Him we have many precious promises such as forgiveness of sin, peace with God, dwelling with God in the new creation and on they go.
all of which are contained in God’s word.
and it is through these promises, that we become partakers of the divine nature which is the finished work of growth as we pass into glory and enter the glorifed state.
where we will be sinless and immortal.
As it says in 1 John 3:2 ‘When we see Him we shall be like Him as we shall see Him as He is’
of course this is not saying that we shall be God but we shall be sinless as God is sinless and we shall be immortal as we live forever with God in the new creation.
The point I want to nail home though is that God has provided all that we need to be able to live godly Christ like lives and that is Jesus and a personal knowledge of Him.
And as our knowledge of Him grows so do we in our likeness to Him.
This is because the more we get to know someone and spend time with them we become like them without realising it.
Any married couple will tell you this is true.
I’ve been married to my wife now for 2 years and i find myself using phrases that i never used before i married her and heard her using them.
And she has had picked up my bad speaking habits such as saying the init instead of isn’t it.
Those you know and spend time with you imitate them without realising which why Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us not associate with someone who is easily angered lest we pick up their bad habits and do likewise.
and again we find the same principle in 1 corinithians 15:33 where the apostle Paul writes ‘Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.’
and so the point is through a personal and increasing knowldge of Jesus we grow in godliness and become like Him.
God has provided all that need for the Christian life and godliness and it is found through Jesus.
So this means that in order for us to be growing in the Christian life we need to know Jesus both personally and increasingly.
And so obvioulsy firslty we need to come to Him in faith and repentance and call upon Him to save us
without which though we may know things about Jesus we do not know Him and He does not know us.
but once we come to Christ and are reconciled to God, then we need to grow in our knowledge of Him.
Practically then this happens as God speaks to us through the word and we speak to Him through prayer.
and so we need to be in the Bible and in prayer before God.
This is how we grow in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus through which by God’s grace we become more like Him.
however this first point reminds us that this is God’s work as He works in us through His word and makes us more like Jesus.
This is why we preach on a sunday because God speaks through His word and uses it in our lives and this is why it is important to be in the word.
2 Tim 3:15-17 reminds us of this doesn’t it when the apsotle Paul tells us that the Bible is God breathed, its able to make us wise for salvation, profitable for teaching and correction and that it is able to equip us for every good work.
and what is amazing is that it is the instrument God uses to enable us to grow in godliness.
May God’s word be a big part of our lives then as we seek to walk with God and do His will.
Qualities of a Godly Life - (v5-7)
Qualities of a Godly Life - (v5-7)
So God has provided all that we need for life and godliness secondly then Peter exhorts the believers to grow in godliness as he lists a number of qualities which accompamy the godly life.
So Peter has just told us through Jesus we can live godly lives and the completion of this is being made perfect in glory.
Now Peter draws from these truths and says in verse 5 that because of this we need make every effort to supplement or add to our faith and then he lists a number of qualities.
So here we see the other side to the coin of sanctification which is another word for growing in Christ likeness.
God works in by His Sprirt through His word but we also have a role to play.
surely we see this later on in verse 10 where Peter exhorts the believers to confrim their calling and election by practicising these qualities.
and we see a similar exhortation in Philippians 2:12 where Paul calls on the church in Philipi to work out their salvation which highlights their role in living a godly life
and then he says for it is God who works in you both to will and to do, which of course shows God’s role in enabling believers to be growing in godliness.
Anthony Hoekema is helful when he writes ‘though sanctification is primarily God’s work in us, it is not a process in which we remain passive but one in which we must be continually active’
So we have a role to play in our growth in godliness which is evident from out passage before us, and so Peter tells us some of these qualities that we are to aim for,
now before we go further I want to clarify that whilst we have a role to play once we become Christians in order to grow in Christlikeness.
We do not save ourselves we are purely saved by God’s free grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf.
nor do we keep ourselves saved but God keeps us by His grace and for His glory.
However that being said as Peter tells us here, we are to make every effort to add these qualities to our faith.
notice he says every effort showing us that this is to be a priority for all of us. The word there also carries the meaning of zeal
So we could say be zealous to have these qualities in your life,
in the same way when it comes to political elections people are zealous for their party. they put up posters, knock on the doors and hand out flyers all for a cause which is passing away
We are to be zealous in having these qualities in our lives, and how much more so than peoples zeal for their political party, because this is of eternal significance.
These first of these qualities then as we see in verse 5 which is to be added to our faith is virtue.
which is referring to moral excellence so we are to be putting sin to death and to be seeking to be upright in all we say, think and do.
to virtue we are to add knowledge which speaks of a practical knowlege or discernment and this grows as we read God’s word
and to this knowledge we are to add self-control so when temptation comes we are to do what is right
and the list goes on we are have steadfastness or perserverance , godliness, brotherly affection so we are to care for and about our brothers and sisters in Christ
and finally we are to have love without which the apostle Paul tells us, we are nothing.
And so beasically what Peter is telling us here is we need to become more like Jesus and as we do so these are the qualities that we will begin to show.
It’s like when someone goes for a job interview there are qualities that the interviewer is looking for.
Are they friendly, are they punctual and hard working. Can they do the tasks required of them and do they have the correct qualifications
and in the same way God has given us all that we need for life and Godliness and it is found in Jesus and a personal knowledge of Him.
And as our knowledge of His grows so do we grow in His likeness as God works in us by His Spirit
and the result of this is that we will begin to have these qualities but as we have seen we are also to make every effort to have these qualities too.
So when someone mocks us for being a Christian we are to love them and be gracious toward them.
We are to have self control and not get angry with them and we are to be steadfast and keep looking to the Lord.
say that we are tempted to gossip about somebody at Church we are to have self control and not yeild to the temptation but we are to have brotherly affection
which would cause not gossip to bring the persons reputation into the dirt but we will want to speak and think well of them as we love them in the Lord.
Essentially we are to be growing and seeking to grow in godliness in every area of out lives
The Necessity of a Godly Life - (v8-11)
The Necessity of a Godly Life - (v8-11)
but the thing is brothers and sisters,
not only has God provided all we need to live a godly life and not only do we see some of those qualities in our passage this morning but we also see from this passage
that there is a necessity for us as believers to be godly and growing in godliness.
In our modern culture we are used to having the option to opt out aren’t we
I was signing up to online banking not long ago and it said ‘ we know marketing messages are not everyones cup of tea so if you do not want to recieve them click the opt out option’
We can opt out of cookies as we browse the internet,
We can opt out for out details to be shared with third parties and on the list goes
and so its easy to come to the Bible with this opt out mentality but we need to gaurd against that and espectially when it comes to living holy, distinct lives
because as Peterr shows us here there is no opt out option, but rather just as the farmer expects each of his crops to grow and be fruitful, God expects His blood bought church to be fruitful too.
We know there is a necessity for each believer to be growing in Christlikeness because of what we read in verses 9-11 of our passage.
firstly we see that he says in verse 8 that if we have these qualities and increasinly so then they will keep us from being unfruitful and ineffective.
And so this shows that they are important in the believers life because God requires fruit as Jesus Himself teaches is in John 15
and so if these qualities keep us from being unfruitful then that points to the necessity for each of to be seeking to grow in godliness.
however Peter is even clearer of their necessity in the following verse where he says, verse 9, that whoever lackes these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind having forgotten that they were cleansed from their former sins.
So Peter is saying if we are not living godly lives as followers of Christ and if we are not growing in His likeness then we are blind and forgetful
we don’t see things as we should nor are taking seriously our position in Christ that we are forgiven for our sin and reconciled to God.
and that’s because we are obviously not living like it but we are living like the world and those around us, instead of like those who have redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus.
therefore these qualities show that we are living as God intends us to and we see things as we should.
and finally we see that these qualities and growth in godliness are a necessity because they confirm that we have been saved by God and adopted into His family
which is why Peter says in verses 10 and that we are to make our calling and election sure which in the context means that we are to ensure we have been chosen by God to salvtion by our Christ like lives and our growth in this.
when someone becomes a genuine Christian they have been made alive in Christ by the Spirit of God and God’s Spirit dwells in them
and so a confirmation of this reality is that the fruit of the Spirit will follow, we will be growing in godliness.
and the end of all this is that we will richly welcomed into heaven as we see in verse 11.
it is important to clarify though that our godliness and growth in godliness does not save us, it never could and it never will.
we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Chist alone.
but what our good works do is that they confirm that we are saved.
George whitfield the great preacher during the great awakening is helpful when he once said ‘Good works have their proper place: they justify our faith, though not our persons; they follow it, and evidence our justification in the sight of men’
Good works do not save us and so if you are relying on your works and church attendance this morning then I am sorry but one day you are going to be severly disappointed.
only Jesus and His finished work on the cross can save us and so only a whole hearted dependance on Him can do.
but works show we are saved and a lack of them in the Christian is never a good sign .
and so godliness and its growth in our life is a necessity because they keep us from being unfruitful,
they confirm our election and calling and because a lack of them shows we are blind and forgetful of our being cleansed from our former sins.
and so with all this in mind it is good to come to back to the beginning of our passage and to remind ourselves that God has given us all that we need for this.
Maybe you are here this morning and you truly are trusting in Jesus but you struggle with particular sins, you long to put them to death forever but they keep rearing their ugly head
be encouraged, God not only requires of us to be holy but he has provided us all that we need for such a task.
He has saved us and He is making us more like Jesus by His power and so we can trust Him.
We need to get closer to Jesus, grow in our knowledge of Him and seek to walk with God everyday
that godly life that you long for is attainable and as we see here it is through Christ.
but maybe you are here this morning and you are an upright and moral person and you think you are just fine before God.
May this passage be another reminder to you this morning that it is only through a knowledge of Christ that the fruit that God looks for is to be found
and the first of which is a personal knowledge of Him as we are united to Him by faith and reconciled to God.
and so may each of us seek to have this personal knowledge of Jesus for ourselves this morning
and those of us that do may we seek to grow in this knowledge that we may grow in His likeness by walking with He each day,
Him speaking to us as we read the word of God and us speaking to Him as we pray and praise Him.