Zev Porat

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Perfection/Direction: 2 Peter 1:5-8

Earlier this week our church's youth group embarked on a mission trip to lead a Vacation Bible School at a small church in the Birmingham, Alabama area. This is not the first trip in which our youth have partnered with another church in order to put on a VBS for a community that would otherwise struggle to provide this ministry to children--as a matter of fact, this is the second such trip our youth have taken this summer alone. On these trips our youth participate in a daily Bible study time in which a book of the Bible is selected and we study one chapter per day. Being we studied 1 Peter last week, it only seemed logical to study 2 Peter this week.

As I was reading 2 Peter, there was a particular truth that stuck-out from the pages more than any other. From 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV), "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."


In keeping with the context of the previous verses, Peter was explaining to his readers that the power of Jesus provides everything the believer needs to live life and maintain godliness so that the believer will not experience the corruption coming upon the world. Therefore, or "For this reason," the believer in Jesus Christ should do everything within his power—"make every effort"—to add to his faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. First, why should these characteristics exist in the Christian? 1 Peter 1:8 answers this question; it is through these characteristics that the individual believer avoids being the ineffective and unproductive person mentioned by Peter. Second, how should these characteristics exist in the believer's life? 1 Peter 1:8 also answers this question; these qualities should exist in "increasing measure." Meaning the qualities should be ever increasing or ever abounding in the life of one who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The life of a Christian is a journey of learning from God and putting those learned principles into practice so that one continually becomes more like God.

Therefore, on the journey of the Christian walk, one never arrives at a perfect state. There is a continual process of learning and growing to take place until one passes away or until Jesus Christ returns. We can have hope and peace in knowing we do not have to come to Jesus after we have cleaned up our lives. Being a Christian is not about being perfect, it's about living every day to honor and glorify Jesus Christ because He redeemed my life on the Cross of Calvary. Peter's words speak to a believer's life heading in the direction of Christ-likeness by the means clothing oneself more and more with the qualities of 2 Peter 1:5-7. As my pastor says, "It is not about perfection, it is about direction."

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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