Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder, lived during the days of Jesus and the apostles. He recorded an incredible story about the setting of an obelisk, which when erected would stand 99 feet tall.
Twenty thousand workers were chosen to pull on the ropes and activate the hoisting apparatus. There was great responsibility and risk in the operation. Just one error could cause the obelisk to fall, ruining years of work. Thus, the King demanded one act which insured the complete attention and best direction of the engineer.
He ordered his own son to be strapped to the apex of the obelisk, so that the engineer’s heart as well as his head would be given to the task. While this story may be apocryphal, it does illustrate the issue of commitment.
For the past several weeks, we have been both preaching and writing from 2 Peter 1 about renewing our “divine nature.” Today’s post offers a summary with a call to commitment.
We Have the Provisions
Can we be a partaker, partner, sharer in the divine nature? Yes! Peter proclaims that we “have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness” (v. 3). We are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). And the inspired Word He has given via the Holy Spirit is all sufficient to meet our spiritual needs. Paul expressed it succinctly in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work”
We Have the Motivation
We’ve been given “exceedingly great and precious promises” (v.4). Forgiveness of sins. The gift of the Holy Spirit. Adoption into God’s Family. The privilege of prayer. A way to escape temptation. Fellowship of fellow Christians. And the hope of a heavenly home.
Peter promises we can, therefore, “become a partaker in the divine nature.” We can escape the pollution of this corrupt and sinful world. Precious promises, indeed.
We Have the Measurements
We have the means and methods to measure ourselves to see whether or not we are “in the faith” (2 cor. 13:5). We can evaluate the growth of our faith by the divine standard of these seven virtues.
Moral excellence. The noble courage to do what we know we need to do. And to do it well.
Knowledge. Not just academic or intellectual knowledge, but the ability to practically apply God’s Word to our lives.
Self-control. Also translated “temperance,” it’s the ability to reign in one’s passions. To get a grip on your desires, feelings, and emotions. It’s self-mastery.
Perseverance. The ability to endure while encountering the pressures, problems, and even pleasures of life. It’s the discipline that never gives up, gives in, or gives out.
Godliness. Simply put, it’s God-likeness. It may be defined and described by reverence. Piety. Or divine devotion.
Brotherly Affection. Literally, this means “love of the brethren.” It speaks to the affection, affinity, and fondness we should feel for our brothers and sisters of like faith.
Love. The supreme virtue. Agape. The love of God for all people. Love that seeks active goodwill for even the most unlovable among us.
How do you measure up? Where are you falling short? What areas of growth are needed? What are your strong points? Your weak points?
Now, We Must Make the Commitment
#1 It’s a God-Ward Commitment.
The commitment is not just the idea of self improvement or being the best person I can be. Or developing qualities for a successful life. It’s God focused. It’s about being a partaker of the divine nature.
#2 It’s an Individual Commitment.
Verse 8 says these characteristics must dwell “in you.” It’s not collective or congregational. Christian growth is an individual proposition. I can’t do your work and you can’t do mine. Everyone must accept and bear his own responsibility (Gal. 6:5).
#3 It’s a Total Commitment.
It requires complete devotion. Firm commitment. Full engagement. Absolute adherence. These qualities must become a part of you. They must abound and multiply.
#4 It’s a Long Term Commitment.
Our world too often thinks short term. I’ll try it and see if it works. Contracts signed to be dishonored. Marriage vows are taken to be violated. Promises are given to be broken.
Peter says “don’t be short-sighted.” See the big picture. Think long term. Realize that the Christian life is like an ultra-marathon. It’s a lifetime commitment.
# 5 It’s an Aggressive Commitment.
Twice Peter emphasizes the importance of “giving diligence,” which means to bend every energy. Make every effort. No amount of exertion should be spared. Every possible effort must be put forth.
#6 It’s a rewarding Commitment.
We can make our “calling and election sure.” God calls us through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14). When we accept, we will be elected into the body of believers. We can, therefore, look forward to an eternal inheritance, lavishly and richly supplied by God’s grace.
God has done his part in providing everything we need in this life, as well as eternal life. Now, the choice is yours. Will you make the commitment?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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