Why do we feel that everything is negotiable? When invited to a wedding, is the invited permitted to determine the date, time, venue, and nuptial garments? Certainly, those invited have a choice to determine whether they will attend, they make preparations to journey to the ceremonial site, and they make the effort to get there. But those who are invited to the wedding don’t set the terms for the wedding. I would argue that it is the height of hubris to presume humanity can choose the terms for which salvation is granted.
- Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16).
Audio version of the full-length blog/podcast (44 min).
I have been meditating on 2nd Peter 1 and rejoicing over the promises made in this chapter. While there are such wonderful promises, there are deep and sobering truths that believers ought to heed. I liken this affirming passage to the warning Christ gave in His parable of the wedding feast that ends like this.
- “So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. “So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:10 to 14).
In my study of 2nd Peter 1, I see these 3 main points:
- (1) God’s terms for participation in the marriage supper of the Lamb;
- (2) The invitee’s role in the celebration;
- (3) God’s guarantee of the wedding and celebration.
I do not profess to be a teacher; I am merely a pilgrim excitingly preparing my garments as per the dress code. It’s fun! As such, I encourage you to pull out your Bible and follow along to hear what the LORD wants you to hear. We should all know the Scripture for ourselves; do not to take my word for it. Besides not all references are quoted here intentionally. Now, let’s dig into the chapter using the points I previously mentioned as an outline.
God’s Terms for Participation in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
The Holy Spirit moved on Peter to write this second letter to the believers (that is to say, to those chosen by God’s foreknowledge for sanctification and obedience). These believers were pilgrims scattered throughout Asia Minor. Refer to 1st Peter 1:1 and 2. Both the first and second letters were written to encourage believers to stand firm in their faith despite trials. As it is written:
- … humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. … But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, (after you have suffered a while), perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. … I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. (Portions of 1st Peter 5 starting from verses 5 through 12).
Knowing that these Scriptures were directed to people that God had chosen to be tested for refining based on God’s foreknowledge is exciting and encouraging. This is especially so considering that the man the Holy Spirit inspired to send the message was a man who had been chosen, tested, had stumbled, and then strengthened to be key in the formation of the church (otherwise known as the ekklēsia, those called out and chosen to be the bride of Christ).
Our precious Triune God knew that those who would be willing to walk in His redemptive plan would need encouragement while preparing for the wedding day. As such, Peter was given the knowledge of the LORD’s terms to share with us.
Jesus also confirmed the wedding plan when He walked the earth, through revealed mysteries to Paul, and then through visions given to John. Jesus said:
- “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1 to 3).
Jesus revealed the wedding celebration to John who wrote:
- And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:6 to 9).
After identifying himself as a bondservant (or a willing slave) of Jesus Christ, Peter begins this second letter by saying:
- To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (2nd Peter 1:1).
This salutation is loaded! Let’s consider the words “like precious faith”.
First of all, Peter said that others had the same valuable faith that he had; that his faith was not more or less, and that it was costly. He was not pointing out any particular measure of faith. This faith came with a high price. The price was the sacrifice of the perfect Son of God. You see, God’s righteousness is revealed in that He didn’t excuse sin; rather, He paid for it in full for all of humanity once and for all. Christ (as the God-Man) was the only perfect human being who could represent us and pay the price; He was the only perfect, spotless Lamb; the Lamb of God.
Secondly, this valuable faith was not self-originating within human beings. The Greek word for faith in this verse is “pístis’ which means God’s persuasion and moral conviction. This type of faith places complete reliance upon the truthfulness of God for the assurance of salvation because of Christ’s finished work in His death and resurrection. If you have access to Strong’s please reference G4102. We can not have faith unless God instills it in us (John 6:37, 39, 44, and 65; John 10:2 and 29; and John 17:2).
- But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4 to 10). Praise God!
As the Creator of the universe, God has every right to set the terms for who He invites and since He is loving and good, He paid the redemption price for all.
Because He has foreknowledge, He is righteous in calling those who will accept His invitation. Because He is just, He chooses those who honour Him by making themselves ready. Because He is gracious, He gives those who partner with His Spirit in sanctification and obedience what we don’t deserve; He is merciful in that He doesn’t give us what is merited. Who is like Him? He alone is Holy.
- Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23 to 24).
- And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1st Peter 1:17 to 21).
2nd Peter 1:2 and 3 continue on to explain that this grace and peace are multiplied to us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ which is His Divine power.
- Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord… but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, (2nd Timothy 1:8 to 9).
- but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (1st Peter 1:15).
- But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; … For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (1st Peter 2:9 and 21).
God’s terms expect us to trust our redemption fully on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, on His Word, and on who He said He was. This means we accept that He was one with the Father and therefore Divine although in human form. Why?
Why is it important to believe this? There are 3 reasons I could think of, perhaps you know more.
- First of all, Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin through God’s Spirit. (Refer to Matthew 1:18 to 23; Genesis 3:15; and Hebrews 10:5).
- Secondly, both the humanity and sonship of Christ are necessary for the guarantee of redemption in God plan. The payment had to be from someone kin to us, yet no human in Adam’s race was without sin. The Son of God in human form was the only sinless, Divine One who was kin to us that allowed God to pardon us. (Refer to Galatians 4:4 to 5; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:14 to 15; and Hebrews 5:5).
- Thirdly, if someone denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, they accuse God of lying. God declared that Jesus was His son through the prophetic Word and audibly. (Refer to Psalms 2:7 to 8; Psalms 45:3; Psalms 110:1; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:5 to 6; Mark 1:11; Luke 1:35; Luke 2:11; John 1:14; 1st Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; 1st John 5:7; and, Revelation 19:16. And that is just for starters).
The New Testament Greek terminology in 2nd Peter 1:2 and 3 for the “knowledge” that God gives us is “epígnōsis”. Thayers Greek Lexicon provides the following definition for this term itemized in Strong’s G1922:
- Epígnōsis is precise and correct knowledge; the knowledge of things ethical and divine.
This means that God gave us the ability to recognize, discern and acknowledge the truth and good; and, that without His impartation of this knowledge, we would be only able to discern using our natural senses. Even with our natural senses, we understand that there is a Source of life that has invisible attributes.
- For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2nd Corinthians 4:6).
- And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1st John 5:20).
- Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:1 to 5).
The Holy Spirit had revealed to Paul who penned the Scripture that our hearts embrace; the same Scripture that agrees with Christ’s explanation of who He is. This is the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is.
- For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:16 to 18).
- God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:1 to 3).
You see friends, this is not just head knowledge of Scripture or the acquiring of historical information and claims about Jesus Christ. This is a deep conviction and belief that is interactive between the Creator; it is a relationship that shares thoughts and feelings between Deity and humanity. It is supernatural. And through this relationship, this intimate knowledge of the Godhead, we have an infusion of His Divine Nature. 2nd Peter 1:4 clearly explains we:
- … may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Praise God. His Divine nature enables us to be who He has called us to be: holy, blameless in His sight, children of God, bondservants, and His friend! His Divine nature has delivered us from the power of (or bondage to) sin. (Refer to Colossians 1:13).
In the earlier verse, we see that everything we need to live a godly life is imparted to us and we have the ability to exercise this knowledge through His Divine power. Let’s think about this verse.
- as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, (2nd Peter 1:3).
Paul explained that with the coming of Christ, we were given His Divine influence on our hearts (His grace) but we are also held to a higher standard of understanding.
- “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29 to 31).
God’s Divine nature is not something that we can create, we cannot just decide to be like Him. It must be imparted to us by Him. His Divine power has the innate ability to replicate within us, but we have no means to produce it on our own. It is not of our works but of His grace.
When looking up the word power in relation to verse 3, we see that the Greek term is “dýnamis”. This term is defined in Strong’s Greek Lexicon (G1411) as force especially, miraculous power, a miracle itself. It is self-originating, that is to say, the cause or source of its power is itself.
A human being does not have life without a beginning or source of origin. God is self-existent. He has all power within Himself.
This is of paramount importance:
He imputes righteousness to the believer and fills them with His Spirit which gives the believer everything needed for life and godliness. To have intimate knowledge of Him is to have the indwelling Spirit of God within (His Divine Power within). His Self-replicating Divine power within is the difference between a head knowledge (or acceptance of facts) versus the God-given, life-altering knowledge of Christ.
This is the power to change, to be willing to be obedient to the will of the Father through the proper knowledge of Christ. The change is immediatedly planted as a seed that grows.
Here is a practical metaphor. One can have a heart transplant without understanding how it is accomplished. One cannot have a heart transplant without undergoing the procedure of receiving the new heart even if they understand the details of the procedure.
Now, through God’s Divine power that gives us the intimate knowledge of Christ, we have exceedingly great and precious promises.
So then, what are God’s great and precious promises? Scripture states:
- For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2nd Corinthians 1:20).
Has this Scripture ever confused you? Have you ever thought this means that anything you ask for will be answered with a ‘yes’? If so, I’d like to share with you what I have studied. When you have some time, look up G3483 in a biblical aid such as Strong’s and read how this word is used throughout Scripture.
I have found that this word also means truth. Any promise that God has made is truth, it is yes. He will always keep His Word and give you what is true. There is no deception within Him. His promises have been fulfilled and are confirmed by an event He brought or brings to pass.
Let us put this verse into context.
- For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us… was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2nd Corinthians 1:19 to 22).
Can we believe God to be our provider, healer, and joy? Absolutely yes because everything we need for life and godliness is in Him. Has He promised that every believer will be wealthy and without any pain or sickness? While you can ask for these things, He has not promised an earthly life of absolute comfort. Our Lord will not give us anything that causes us or those we impact to stumble; He will give us what is necessary to purify us. Motives are very important to our Lord. (Refer to James 4:3). Christ said that in this life we will have trouble (Refer to John 16:33); and in Him, we can have peace while walking out our sanctification.
Whatever God has promised, He will bring it about by His means, by His power.
It will be of the positive (yes), not the negative (no). It will be in and of Him; it will not be apart from Him nor will it be man-made or of a man’s devising. Just as our salvation was not by a man’s sperm but of the Divine power of God on a virgin through the Holy Spirit. His promises are in His Word, His oath, and His covenant.
- Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1st John 2:24 to 29).
God’s terms for eternal life and feasting at the wedding celebration start with faith by grace but it doesn’t stop there.
The Invitee’s Role in the Celebration:
Since God has given us everything starting with the means to eternal life, we need to grow and be fruitful through yielding to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Remember 1st Peter 1:2 said that we were elect in sanctification of the Spirit for obedience. So then, in 2nd Peter 1 verses 5 through 7, we are given the qualities that we must possess (in some measure) to inherit eternal life.
- But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith (1)virtue, to virtue (2) knowledge, to knowledge (3) self-control, to self-control (4) perseverance, to perseverance (4) godliness, to godliness (6) brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness (7) love.
There are 7 qualities that we should grow in. First God originates faith and then we must give all diligence to add to it.
These are not ‘works’ of the flesh. This is participation through yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is surrendering to His will in the circumstances of our lives. God wants a free-will relationship, not a programmed slave. He has given us a teacher, a guide who is His Holy Spirit. It’s quite beautiful. He supplies everything; we simply need to be willing and obedient.
Two things immediately stood out to me: (1) believers are to give all diligence to add to their God-given faith; and, (2) these characteristics mirror the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 and 23.
Notice that verse 8 confirms that if we possess these qualities in increasing greatness, these attributes will prevent us from being unproductive in the knowledge of Christ. This means my capacity to understand and know Him relationally will become larger; I will have an increasingly fuller and deeper sense of His presence and His character; I will actively engage with Him; Christ will not be an afterthought or a weekly obligation. My knowledge of Him will grow more intimate as I allow Him to move from being my acquaintance, past dating, and beyond engagement into marriage.
I dare not attempt to lay out how you add to faith since this is a personalized lifetime adventure in a relationship with the Godhead. Rather, let me just provide you with one overarching guiding principle that I am still learning to master. Here it is.
Be willingly led by the Holy Spirit in obedience to (1) His inward promptings and (2) with the full counsel of Scripture in every area of life.
That’s it. Simple right? Not! Doing this betrothal boot camp requires dedication, diligence, and the replenishing of vital water (Spirit and Word).
You will see the effects of your workout by an increased love for the LORD, love for others, and understanding of His love for you. This list of graces starts with faith and culminates in Godly love in every situation. It seems to me that one cannot have Godly love for everyone without the other qualities.
If there is no evidence of increasing fruit (especially faith and love), then the person is blind and has forgotten that Christ washed away past sin and why. Consider verse 9. Now, let us elaborate on this.
- … Christ … loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25 to 27).
Jesus warned the self-sufficient lukewarm church who did not think they needed to improve at Laodicea saying:
- “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’, and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:15 through 19).
We are given the knowledge of Christ so that we can love Him. And when we love Him, we love who and what He loves. The same is true for despising what He despises (sin). We must be able to see our shortcomings and be eager to repent. We must not be blind to our need of Him and His call to be holy while walking in love.
- But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2nd Corinthians 4:3 to 4)
- He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. I write to you … because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (1st John 2:9 to 12).
Once again, I am reminded of the Church at Ephesus. They were so righteous in fervent obedience to God’s Word, but they failed to grow in love. Jesus loved them so He instructed John to write a letter to them saying this:
- “I know your works, your labour, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place (unless you repent). (Revelation 2:2 to 5).
They had been sound in doctrine and in showing some fruit; but, they had forgotten the foremost importance of operating out of love. They became blinded to how much they were loved and to what they were called to do.
- And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. … And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:2 to 3, and 13).
- We love Him because He first loved us. (1st John 4:19).
- “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…. (John 15:16).
- For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:3 to 5).
Earlier I had mentioned the fine linen (or the righteous acts of the saints) in reference to attending the marriage of the Lamb. I also mentioned that Christ teaches that a person can be invited (or called) to the wedding but must do their part to honour the Groom and the occasion to be granted entrance (chosen). They must wear the appropriate garments. Failing to do so means that you want to set your own terms for the wedding celebration.
The truth is that God sets the terms.
The Scripture teaches that to have eternal life, one must believe in the LORD Jesus Christ. This is exactly true. If you believe in the LORD Jesus Christ, it means you believe in who He said He was and what He said you must do (which includes obeying His commandments).
Thank God we are not alone in achieving that! God initiated the believer’s faith in Him based on His foreknowledge of the believer; that is His work. So then, this initial work has taken care of that for us. Praise God! He has deposited His Spirit in us so that we can bear fruit. And He also calls us to prepare for the wedding.
- “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ “then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ (Luke 13:24 to 27).
- Then Jesus said to them, “… Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going… I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (John 12:35, 46 to 48).
Friends, this is the sobering part. Salvation was purchased for every person. The invitation goes out, and many respond, but only some work out salvation to bear fruit.
Some try to produce fruit through works of the flesh and the LORD does not recognize that fruit as coming from Him.
Some do not produce fruit because they have not grown to know the love of the LORD through an intimate relationship.
Some willfully do not receive all of God’s Word. In these scenarios, these are people who responded to the wedding invitation but on their own terms.
His invitation is to become joint intimately with Him. When this is the case, you will hear His voice, you will increasingly submit to His Word, and you will not follow another.
Friends, if you do not hear His voice, I implore you to seek Him. If you feel a tug at your heart, this is likely the Holy Spirit beckoning you to repent and draw closer to Him; to leave the head knowledge and enter into the joy of His regenerating salvation. The truth is, no matter what good outcomes you have achieved by doing good things, any results independent of the Holy Spirit’s growing seed in you are fruitless. Oh, that we will be fruitful!
This is why this 2nd Peter 1 passage continues to say:
- Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2nd Peter 1:10 to 11).
Wow! Amazing. If you are even more conscientiously persistent at being steadfast in your relationship with Him through faith in sincere love, you will never stumble.
- …Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. … For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, (Hebrews 3:6 and 14).
- This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil (Hebrews 6:19).
Is it possible to say you love someone that you do not think about, prioritize spending time with, or blatantly do what displeases them? I think it is fair to say, if you love Him, you will spend time with Him; and being found in Him, you will obey Him; you will be confident and rejoice as a partaker of His Divine nature.
I frequently find myself amazed at His grace. I remember the vanity of my life before His call. I remember the depravity He cleansed me from. Although so far from being perfect, I see an increasing reflection of His image in me; and as such, I see I have so much farther to go. His grace humbles me so that I can receive more of His nature; I understand and welcome His refining process. His Divine influence on my heart is desired more and more. I realize I cannot possibly achieve Heaven without Him and I submit to His terms for entrance to the wedding feast.
This is not to say that I will not make mistakes; I am certain that I do. It is simply saying that I will do everything in my power with His help to live up to the high calling. Oh, thank You LORD, for Your steadfast love for me, and for Your costly faith and promises!
I have read 2nd Peter 1 many times, but this time I took the time to chew on the passage more deeply. What are the things that a believer does even more diligently to make themselves immovable or steadfast?
Zooming out, there are action words for the believer in verses 1 through 10 with a guaranteed outcome in verse 11.
I’ll summarize what I have observed and you can determine whether your spirit can receive this.
- Verse 1: Receive the costly faith;
- Verse 2: Thrive in grace and peace through intimate knowledge of Christ;
- Verse 3: Be Godly here and now through the power of God (also refer to 1 Peter 1:5 to 13);
- Verse 4: Participate and share in the Divine Nature;
- Verse 4: Escape the corruption of the world and the lust of the flesh;
- Verse 5, 6 and 7: Add the graces (or fruit of the Spirit) by yielding to Him; this is intentional cooperation that manifests in fruit.
- Verse 8: Abound or multiply in the graces.
- Verse 8: Produce fruit in the knowledge of the LORD; in contrast, do not become complacent with your current level of fruitfulness.
- Verse 9: Remain free from sin; do not forget that Christ removed you from the old ways do not return to them.
- Verse 10: Persist in steadfastness in the call of Christ, in what He says to do, in following His terms.
- Verse 11 is the outcome: Receive entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord.
These are the instructional action words I have gleaned; perhaps you have others. They seem to outline the sojourner strategy for the believer.
Understand that God has given each believer a measure of faith; and, He does not condemn those He has (by his foreknowledge) elected. He has given each person a certain amount of time. The thief on the cross had no time to grow while John lived a long life.
The LORD is a righteous and gracious judge. As Scripture states:
- There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. … For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. … And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. … Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Various portions of Scripture from Romans 8).
- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (this is your true and proper worship). Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is (his good, pleasing and perfect will). … Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:1 to 3, and 21 from the New International Version).
Jesus, Peter, and Paul have taught us that we must overcome to receive entrance into the Kingdom of God and that it was a matter of the heart that results in actions. So know this:
Scripture has shown us that we overcome through (1) the greater power of the Godhead indwelling us; (2) with the pure motive of glorifying Christ; (3) standing firm, or not losing our position during spiritual warfare; and, (4) by loving Christ, each other, even our enemies.
If you do all of these things, then you will receive a rich welcome into the Kingdom of our LORD and Saviour. This brings us to our closing point.
God’s Guarantee of the Wedding and Celebration:
Let us read 2nd Peter 1:11:
- for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The LORD had revealed to John (in the Revelation of Jesus Christ), Paul (in the mysteries of grace, the Church or Bride of Christ, and ages), and Peter (in the letters about living in anticipation of the LORD’s coming) that faithfulness in living Godly lives would result in the redeemed receiving a rich reward. Each had heard the risen Saviour’s voice and would not follow another. Paul wrote through the Holy Spirit saying:
- I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2nd Timothy 4:7 to 8).
This shows me that even with steadfast faith and revelation, enduring in the sanctification journey was like contending for a good that has ongoing opposition. Peter’s letter confirms that believers need faith and practice (or exercise of faith) to enter our LORD’s kingdom. Here is the encouragement. While the elect’s walk is: narrow and unpopular, involves spiritual warfare, and requires dedication to continuous growth, our gracious omniscient LORD promises to bring us home. Our guarantee is in that God is immutable and that God made an oath (He cannot lie).
If He promised something, He will deliver it. Scripture states:
- Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise (1) the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by (2) an oath, that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:17 to 18).
- In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11 to 14).
- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20).
Peter’s 2nd letter was to remind believers that the sanctification journey is well worth it; and, that they had the prophetic Word that they could depend on.
You see, in chapter 1 verses 16 to 18, Peter reminded readers that he had seen the glorified Christ on the mount. Here is the account:
- Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!“ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1 to 9).
You’ll notice that both God the Father and God the Son tell people to “hear Christ”.
Peter was an eyewitness and could testify to the facts surrounding the transfiguration of Jesus. But Peter did not grasp before Christ’s crucifixion that he needed the Holy Spirit’s endowed power to persevere; Peter did not know yet that he would not be able to do it in his own strength. First God revealed to Peter that Jesus had the Words of eternal life (refer to Matthew 16:17), and then Peter had an astounding experience on that mountain top. Afterward, Peter betrayed the LORD and needed Jesus to restore him after our LORD’s resurrection (refer to Matthew 26:75 and John 21:17 to 19). Once the Spirit was given, we find Peter in Acts 2 boldly preaching the Word of God quoting the prophecy of Joel. Peter was later imprisoned for his testimony and continued to walk out his faith, continually growing in steadfastness.
Before Christ died and was resurrected, Peter travelled with Christ relying on his own strength. He later imperfectly followed Christ with great success as the Church’s leader because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the anointing.
He learned to hear Christ’s voice (the incarnate Word of God, John 1:14).
Peter learned to follow the Spirit (the indwelling Word of God, John 16:13). He learned from Scripture (the written Word of God which is prophetic, Romans 16:25 to 26). He actively shared his faith despite persecution because he had a clear understanding that the prophetic Word had come to fruition with the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, he believed in the remaining prophecies about Christ’s second coming and the period of time for the restoration of all things (1st Peter 1:5 and 13; 1st Peter 4:13, and Acts 3:18 to 23).
This first chapter of Peter’s second letter says:
- And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2nd Peter 1:19 to 21).
The next 2 chapters go on to warn the readers about false teachers arising and the coming day of the LORD. Despite the growing deception that Peter was warning about, he had assured the believers that they would not stumble if they made their election sure.
In 2nd Peter, the English word “sure” is “bébaios” in Greek and means stable, steadfast, or having guaranteed support (Refer to Strong’s G949). It comes from the word “basis” (Strong’s G939) which means to step or walk.
Peter had instructed us to move in this world as strangers, walking steadfast (or steady) according to the Word of God, empowered and led by the Holy Spirit, and completely committed to the God-given faith until we inherit the prophesied promise after the marriage celebration of the Lamb of God.
- Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. … Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ (Daniel 7:14 and 27).
- And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10).
- … “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34 to 36).
There is an age coming that is perfect for the blood-bought, overcoming, called out, and chosen children of God. Entrance is (1) individually gifted from God, (2) individually received and practiced by the elect, and (3) individually judged by the Author and Perfector of our faith. It is personal. Friends, I pray we are individually preparing for the wedding of the Lamb while travelling with other believers so that we can enter that wonderful kingdom where we will forever abide with our God.
- Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:1 to 7).
By God’s grace, through faith in Christ, I have committed to making my election sure. Dressed in His righteousness alone; Glory to God!
For those who have not received God’s gift of Jesus Christ for salvation, if you feel a nudge to believe, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES. There you can find 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith.
All Scripture used in this blog is from the New King James Version, unless otherwise specified.