2 Peter

Day 13: One and Only


2 Peter 1:1-3:18

The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.

For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.

A ruler questioned Him saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Luke 18:18

 

Through the years I think everyone has asked that question and there are a lot of different answers to it.  While I can’t claim to know for certain the one true answer, remember I am not a theologian, I can tell you what Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.'”  And he said, “All these I have kept since my youth.”  When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Luke 18:19-22 The man hadn’t broken a single commandment in his entire life, he was a “good person”, and yet he still “lacked one thing”.  That one thing was a relationship with Jesus.

So many people think that being a good person and doing good things is enough to declare them worthy.  No one is completely sinless and deserving of heaven (Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God).  There is NOTHING you can DO to earn a ticket to heaven.

Romans 4:24-25 says: but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. You see, it’s kind of like each one of us has our own spiritual credit card.  Every time we sin it “rings up” a debt that has to be paid before we can get into heaven.  Because Psalm 5:4 tells us: For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You. While still sinful we cannot live in heaven with God because we have no way to pay that debt.  Nothing we DO can ever change the balance.

However, God loves us and He made a way.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus lived a completely sinless life -zero balance on his “card”, and yet He CHOSE to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins.  (He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21)  When Jesus died He paid our debt, the whole thing.  It’s like; He called the credit card company, requested a balance transfer, and said “I’ll pay it all for them.”  So here we stand today with a balance on our cards and Jesus on the phone saying He’ll pay it all off IF we want Him to.  Hmmmmm…. let me think; zero balance on my sin card AND eternal life filled with His love…. Um, YEAH! I’ll take that deal.

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  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.  And you know the way  where I am going.”  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:2-6 emphasis mine)  Jesus is THE way to God the Father in heaven.  He didn’t say that He was ONE of the ways; He is THE ONE AND ONLY WAY.  We don’t get to heaven by who we are or what we’ve done.  We are forgiven and able to go to heaven because of who JESUS is and what JESUS has done.  Period.  If you don’t believe me, look it up for yourself, it’s all right there in black and white and red.

You see it’s all about belief:

[Y/N] Do you believe in God the Father?

[Y/N ] Do you believe in Jesus His Son?

[Y/N ] Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father?

[Y/N ] Do you believe that Jesus died for you on the cross?

[Y/N ] Do you believe that His death was enough to pay for your sins?

[Y/N ] Are you sorry for the sins that you have committed in the past?

[Y/N ] Have you prayed and asked forgiveness for those sins?

[Y/N ] Have you prayed and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for those sins?

[Y/N ] Have you prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to come live in your heart and help you not to purposefully sin in the future?

[Y/N ] Does someone else know about your commitment to God yet?

If you answered yes to all of the above then you are a beloved Child of God and fellow follower of Christ.  I look forward to meeting you in heaven my sister.

However, this is not the end, this is just the beginning!  It’s the beginning of a NEW YOU, a NEW LIFE in Christ.  One where Christ lives through you and you – love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).  To do that, you love your spouse more than you love yourself.  Because love requires sacrifice & love requires obedience.

In John 3:36 it says that Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Notice, the words translated “does not obey”, in the original Greek is apeitheo which means “to refuse belief and obedience”.  With the meaning of this one word, all of salvation is explained.  Belief and obedience are tied together as one.  To believe in Jesus is to obey him!  We’ll go over this a little more tomorrow.

Christian’s comments:

 

I used to work with a guy that said he thought he would go to heaven because he “lived a good life”. Sure, he was a good guy. He donated a little to charity. He helped people when he could. However, he didn’t have Christ in his heart. He also didn’t go to church or tithe. I asked him, once, why he didn’t go to church. His answer? “I like to sleep in on weekends.” I tried to explain that there were services throughout the day, even in the evenings. He explained that he was “too busy”. I worked with this man for almost two years and could never convince him that “leading a good life” wasn’t enough to get into heaven. He was living with Jesus as his savior, but not as his Lord. You have to live your life according to God, for Jesus to be your savior.

It scares me to think about all the people in this world that think leading a good life will get them into heaven. If I had longer time to work with and minister to my co-worker, I might have brought him to Christ (I like to think that I could have anyway). However, my work time with him was cut short, and I had to move on.

I’m praying that the change this fast has made in me will lead my friends, derby buddies, and coworkers to Christ. I pray that they will see me living with Jesus as my Lord and not just my Savior and want the same things that are happening to me.

Categories: 2 Peter, 365 Life, Season 3, True Intimacy, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Love in a Smile


2 Peter 1:1-3:18

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have been there watching everything the Savior was doing? Witnessing the tenderness with which He spoke to the sinners, it had to have been wonderful. I can only imagine the way that He touched the lepers healing them instantly. The gasps from the crowd as He reached out to them, it was a tremendous scandal after all, touching a leper. At that point, for the clean to touch the unclean made the clean, unclean. Yet with Jesus the opposite happened. The clean touched the unclean and made the unclean, clean!!! In Christ we too can have no fear of touching the unclean, because we have been made clean though His perfect blood on the cross.

All too often religion still teaches us that “Thou shalt not…”, but so many of those shalt nots have been turned on their heads! For instance, I know of many that teach against drinking. And for them and their lives, they need to live that and perhaps they’ve even been called to teach that. But then I know others whose entire ministry is based in a bar! They go, they drink (NOT HEAVILY) and they do a Bible Study. They invite the people of the bar to come and join them, and they do! Many have been saved by this very ministry; because suddenly, these drunkards have witnessed the Grace of God right smack dab in the middle of their sin.

Way too often we spend so much time condemning the sin that we forget there is a sinner involved in the process. A sinner that first and foremost needs LOVED. Loved and taught that they matter to an Almighty God who created them and cares for them. I think we’ve lost sight of the POWER of the LOVE of Christ. We spend so much time focusing on the sin and the judgment of it that we lose sight of what we’re really supposed to be here doing.

LOVING PEOPLE.

We get so wrapped up in DOING that we forget the LOVING part of the process. We do our good works and we pat ourselves on the back, check it off our list and then turn around and scowl at the guy walking out of the bar. We cluck at the single mom who had one bad night and is paying for it for the rest of her life. Instead of wrapping our arms around her and offering to watch her kid for her so that she can take a break and try to regain her sanity. (I spent most of last week as a single mom while my husband was away on a business trip; I honestly don’t know how you gals do it! My hat is off to you!!!)

If we would just bother to read our Bibles once in a while we would notice that the love of Christ compels us to do good works. It covers over a multitude of sins, it bears all things, but most of all it’s the greatest thing that remains when everything is said and done. Love is greater than faith and hope. So while we can preach ourselves blue in the face on being faithful and hoping in Christ, the reality of the matter is that LOVE IS WHERE THE POWER IS!!! If faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, what can a little bit of love in the form of a smile and a wave do?

I know you know what I mean. Think about a day where you were up against the wall, you could feel the blindfold over your eyes and you could hear the distinctive click of the firing squad taking aim. And then someone you don’t even know smiled and waved at you. But it wasn’t just any smile; it was the kind of smile that goes all the way to their eyes. Or better yet, the smile of someone who actually does know you. The kind of smile that lights up their entire being when you walk into the room because they’re genuinely happy to see you. Those are the kinds of smiles that can literally change your entire day. They’re not hard, but they’re amazingly powerful. The power of Love taking the form of a smile, in Jesus’ name.
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Categories: 2 Peter, 365 Life, Jesus Loves YOU, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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