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Called to a Purpose [3-17-24]




March 17, 2024

2 Peter 1:3-7

“Called to a Purpose”


Last week, we ended with what a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus looks like. It means knowing who Jesus is, what he gives to us, and what he wants from us in a deep and intimate sense.


Jesus is our Savior. He suffered and died on the cross so our sin would not be held against us…so we would be forgiven. He was resurrected by God as His sign that Jesus’ death was the acceptable sacrifice to make us right with God so we would be able to stand in the presence of the One, True, Holy God upon our death. That’s why, when Jesus died, he said, “It is finished.” In other words, his purpose in dying for us was completed. And so, Jesus’ resurrection was God’s sign of full acceptance of that sacrifice. When we die, we will then be with Jesus. We will share in a resurrection like his.


Hold that thought.


There’s a powerful truth at work here in 2 Peter. We also saw it in Jude. And Paul covers it extensively in Romans. The section we’re looking at today, 2 Peter 1:3-7, has the heading “Confirm Your Calling and Election.” God is the Author of our faith. He gives us hearts and minds to believe. He chose us to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God called us. That’s why we believe in Jesus and desire to follow him. God called us. He is the author of our faith. What a powerful truth that is.


That’s why the Bible says your name has been written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. What an amazing truth. You have been given true knowledge of who Jesus is and what he has called you to do. Full provision. God has given you everything you need. He provides for your care, your strength, your salvation. And then God protects you. Why do you persevere in the faith? Why do you stay strong? Why do you know that no matter what you go through or experience in life, all will be well? Because Jesus Christ has claimed you as one of his own. He has called you. He has saved you. In Christ, you know that in life and death, you belong to Jesus. There is power in the personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


But wait…there’s more. {I sound like one of those infomercials, right?} There’s more.


God initiates…God draws us to Jesus…God reveals the majesty of Jesus Christ which makes him attractive to us. And then, as we read verses 3-7 once more:

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”


I love how verse four uses the perfect tense of the verb translated “he has granted.” That means it is continuous. Over and over and over. A continuing effect. God’s precious and very great promises continuously flow into our lives. How great is that?


We know what precious means. As Gollum obsessed, precious means valuable or costly or honorable.


The other word, translated very great promises, is from the Greek, “megista.” It is the superlative form of the verb “megistos.” It means, literally, “exceedingly great.” God, who has made us in His image, through Christ, gives us this opportunity…this possibility…this gift of being really good and decent people. But it only can happen through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why, in verses five through seven, Peter goes on to say:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your 

faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with 

self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”


Let’s say this together:

WE HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY THE MAJESTIC GLORY OF JESUS CHRIST.

In other words, when, in Christ, God calls us and claims us and leads us to worship His glorious name, we get the privilege of reflecting this glory in an otherwise broken and wicked world.


I love the phrasing in verse four, “escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” The world translated corruption gives a sense of decay, ruin, depravity. There is evidence, in non-Biblical Greek usage, that this word also refers to the shedding of innocent life as in an abortion or murder. What it means is that sinful desire is ruinous of God’s good creation.


But there is a way out.


Jesus has given us very great promises. This is our way forward. It is how we navigate living in the world while not being of the world. These navigations require challenges both complex and simple.


Simply put, we know the multiplicity of promises in Christ. We know these from Galatians 5…things like joy and peace and patience and kindness and self-control. 2 Peter simply sums them up in a different way. Same idea. Different way of putting it. These great promises are manifested in things like self-control and steadfastness and godliness and affection and love. Again, it goes back to precious and very great promises. In a wicked world, Jesus helps us reflect his grace and mercy. In a wicked world, that’s what it means to be divine partakers of the divine nature. We reflect the light of these promises from Christ.


We all want to be good. We all want to do good. Most of us, most of the time, strive for that.


Here’s something that I did last month which, in a simple situation, did not 

live up to that.


I went to Walgreens to buy two Amazon gift cards for our granddaughters. {Notice how I’m trying to make amends for my rudeness with a plug for Walgreens.} The woman asked me who I was buying the cards for {it’s something they think they have to do to protect us from fraud}. I said, “A nice man called and said I had won a sweepstakes and I needed to send him two 50$ Amazon gifts cards to collect my prizes.” The employee then asked, “Did someone call you?” To which I replied, “Of course not.” I checked the box on the point-of-sale machine indicating I was not being defrauded, paid, and went on my merry way.


When recounting my tale to my wife, she understood why the clerk wasn’t amused. She posited that a polite, “None of your business” would have been better. I know she’s right. My snarkiness was not the best expression of who I want to be.


Knowing the fallen side of my worst nature, I know it could happen again. 

But the point is, we always must be pushing to be partakers of the divine

nature. Remember, grace upon grace. Don’t let yourself be identified by your last mistake or shortcoming. Put on the identity of the Savior who called you. Make every effort to live out of his very great promises for your life.


Finally, verse four says we are partakers of the divine nature. The Greek word translated partakers is “koinonoi.” It means literally “the idealized state of fellowship and unity.” It’s often used to describe loving relationships within the church. But here it means we are partners in the glories of life with God. How wonderful is that? We get a glimpse of heaven in this life when we put the garbage and corruption of this fallen world behind us. Pursue self-control. Pursue steadfastness. Pursue godliness. Pursue affection. Pursue love. No matter where you are at in you life…no matter what your experience…regardless of trouble, trial, or temptation… you have everything you need in Christ. So the wicked things of this world will hold no sway.


Here's something else you might want to write down:

JESUS IS SUFFICIENT IN AND FOR ALL THINGS.


Here’s the last thought on the challenge to make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue. A young woman writer from England observes:

“What’s totally absent from mental health advice is trying to be a better person. We talk so much about trauma and correcting chemical imbalance, but never about decency of character. Maybe you feel terrible because of how you’re treating the people around you.”

I love how well that reflects the truth of 2 Peter 1:4-7.


In Jesus Christ, we are delivered from the corruption of this fallen world. Because of that, we can grow in living lives of virtue. See how well that is reflected in the affectionate, caring, worshiping life of our little church. It is a lovely thing.

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