Monday, October 7, 2019

2 Peter, Day 4: 2 Peter 1:11-15 - Do We Have Our Priorities Right?

Do We Have Our Priorities Right?
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
- 2 Peter 1:11-15, ESV

I've been thinking a lot about college entrance lately. I've known a lot about the college admissions process for years, because I used to be a high school teacher and then a school administrator before I became a pastor. But now, it's personal, because I have a 15-year-old high school sophomore. I find myself often urging him to "make every effort" at school and in life, and I have college admissions in the back of my mind.

Peter has been urging Christians to "make every effort" to cultivate godly character: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. He also has an important entrance in mind, but it's far more important than college admissions. He has told us that, as we cultivate godly character by God's grace, we will be fruitful and effective and we will confirm our calling and election. 

With our calling and election confirmed, we will never fall. Instead, we will be richly provided "an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." That beats any college entrance, for sure! Now, we need to be careful and read Peter accurately. Salvation is entirely a gift of God's free grace through Jesus Christ from first to last. We do not earn entrance into Christ's eternal, glorious kingdom by cultivating godly character. Rather, cultivating godly character serves to confirm that we have been called and chosen to receive this kingdom entrance. 

The sad truth is that many people make professions of faith in Jesus Christ and then fall away. Many people shipwreck their faith on the rocks of sin, doubt, worldliness, and apostasy. They fail to confirm their calling and election, instead showing they remain blind to the light of the Gospel, ignorant of the truth, and lost in their sin. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those shipwrecks. But I dare not trust in myself to keep myself; instead, I need to look always and only to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. 

That's where Peter was looking as his life was drawing to a close. He says, "I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me." He has trusted in Jesus and walked with Jesus for a many years by this time, and now he knows Jesus is going to bring him home.

But before Peter leaves this life, he writes this final letter, to ensure that his testimony, his instructions, and his priorities will be clear for the church for the ages to come. Here we sit 2,000 years later reading it. 

Peter made every effort to keep his priorities right, not in his own strength, but in reliance on his faithful Savior. Do we have our priorities right? Are we looking to Jesus, with one eye on His coming heavenly kingdom and the other on His people and how we might bless them during our time here in this body? We have the most glorious entrance imaginable - no, beyond imagining - waiting for us. Is it our highest priority to confirm our calling and election to enter and our next highest priority to help others to gain entrance, too?

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