In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT
Remember this: when we repent and turn to follow Jesus, He doesn’t remember our former sins. All of our life in Christ is built upon that knowledge. If you forget that God has cleansed you of your former sins, you’ll walk in condemnation, shame and a sense of self-loathing. You’ll be putting yourself on the cross that Jesus already went to on your behalf.
Grace is a beautiful thing. Mercy is a marvelous thing. Forgiveness is the thing that sets us free. Repent and accept God’s undeserved mercy, grace and forgiveness. Admit that you need a Savior and One will be richly supplied to you.
God does all the heavy lifting for us. Yet, we have a very important part to play in our faith, too. It’s called obedience. Obedience is our response to the goodness of God.
We have two choices when it comes to God and His teachings. We can obey them or we can rebel against them. Why rebel against God’s perfect way?
If you want to destroy something, the easiest way is to be prideful, arrogant, conceited. You can destroy your reputation, your marriage, your family, your church, your career, your nation by being self-centered. I’m sure we’ve all seen abundant examples of this by now. My own selfish, human nature has put me through the wringer more times than I can remember.
The Good News is that God is faithful even when we are not. Furthermore, God is always faithful to forgive us if we genuinely repent of our unrighteousness and feel sorry for our sin.
This leads us to today’s Scripture verse. It starts with faith and ends with God’s agape love for all manifesting in our lives.
How do you know you’re saved from the coming wrath of God? How do you know that you’re walking with God? Look at the fruit of your life.
Do you have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Are you exhibiting moral excellence? Are you increasing in your knowledge of God and His ways? Do you have self-control?
Have you ever noticed that people who desire to control others lack self-control? We’re here to encourage, love and build up others, not control them. Trying to control others is disrespectful. We’re all created in God’s image. Let’s remember that. God doesn’t play favorites. We’re all accountable for our own walk with God. Let’s encourage each other in that.
Do you have patient endurance? Are you living a life of godliness as opposed to worldliness? Do you have brotherly affection for the brethren? Is your life an example of love for everyone? Not just the people who look, act and think like you?
I think if we’re honest, we can all see how much room there is for improvement. We need to grow into well-rounded Christians. Our character is what’s being constantly refined by God’s Holy Spirit working in us.
Performance based religious activity excuses character flaws in the name of generating results. Those results are often directly opposed to what God actually wants to do in and through us.
Good discipleship is like good barbeque. Go low and slow. A nice gentle heat, applied for the duration yields the softest hearts with the richest and deepest flavor throughout. Your words are like barbeque sauce. I prefer to be bold and spicy. It supplies the kick that wakes up your senses and makes you feel fully alive.
What’s my point today? Never forget that Jesus delivers us from the penalty and power of sin. It’s not our righteous acts, our wise thinking or ability to influence others that saves us. We had nothing to do with it. We can take zero credit for the salvation that God gives us freely.
With that in mind, let us endeavor with diligence to prove that we are God’s children. Not that we are in doubt or need validation. No, we do it for the benefit of everyone else. If we truly love God and love our neighbors, we will walk in humble obedience to the Lord. That’s the best possible thing to do in any and every situation. Simple right?
Now go out there and love somebody with the radical, redeeming, unselfish, sacrificial love of God. Who knows? You might just wake someone up to the reality of God and save their soul from an eternity in hell.
Be wise. Be gentle. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.