So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
2 Peter 1:1-15
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
2 Corinthians 7:10-13
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God.
For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
2 Corinthians 8:7-17
But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.” But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
2 Peter 3:11-15
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all humility an d gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure
The Call to Diligence.
- OHP1 Coin - can only see one side at a time, but if either side is defaced it is valueless.
- Grace - fundamental, all we have is given to us by God - it is all His doing. The other side is our response. There is a part we have to play (Phil 2:12,13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.)
- danger in over emphasizing one side - religion of works or the other extreme: we sit back for the ride - breeds lazy sloppy Christians
- The two sides (human and Divine) to the Christian life are brought out in 2 Peter chapter one.
Read 2 Peter 1:1-15; 3:10-18.
- 2 Peter 1:13-15 “earthly dwelling”/ tent - Peter about to pull up his stakes and move on. Knew he was soon to die. In prison facing imminent martyrdom.
- This was his last communication with these believers. When you know you’re going to die you address the important things. This is Peter’s legacy, the thing of vital importance he wants to pass on, to leave behind when he’s gone.
-There is an urgence, an imperative.
-Like his readers (2 Pet 1:12) you know these things - but Peter was not ashamed to reiterate them. - it is vital that we continually remind each other of this vital message.TRUTH was the most vital and valuable legacy Peter could leave them - the truth that is Jesus and His life in us - it is vitally important that we not be turned from the truth (most of letter warns against false teachers).
- Peter’s concern was that they continue to grow in their Christian walk - an imperishable seed was planted (1 Pet 1:23) God’s Word but for this to grow requires diligence on our part.It is vital that we are ever growing in Him and his life in its manifold qualities is evident in ever increasing measure in our lives.
-This constant reminding served to stir the believers up - to exhort them to even greater diligence, to progress in the Christian walk. As long as he was alive he would remind them. We also should be stirring one another up to Christ like living (Heb 10:24,25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.)This is the "right" thing to be doing - righteousness involves prompting others to greater effort in Christian living.-Peter calls his readers to be diligent (2 Pet 1:5,10), just as he himself intended to be diligent. He would be diligent to remind them of the way of Christian living and what was required so that they would be able to call it to mind after he had gone .So this is the legacy which Peter desired to leave the church:
- God has done it all:
1. Grace and peace multiplied to you.
2. God’s Divine power has granted (it’s a gift) everything we need for life and godliness. These come through knowledge of Him, which is only through Jesus (“He has made Him known”) [emphasis on “knowledge” (2 Pet 1:2,3,5,6,8,12).
3. Magnificent promises.
4. Share in His Divine nature (“Christ in us the hope of glory”).
5. Escaped the enslavement to the lusts which rule the world.
- What is lacking? God has done it all - given us everything!
- But what is the consequence? Because of what God has done (“for this very reason” 2 Pet 1:5) a response is require from us - we are called to apply all diligence. OHP2
- “His Divine Power” (2 Pet 1:3) God supplies everything we need: - the life of Christ in us; but we must “work it out”, escape from the world which is ruled by lusts (selfish desires) [cf. Tom on dying to self]
- this takes supernatural power but it also calls for diligence on our part. We must make every effort. God has done everything but we must also do all we can. His provision doesn’t mean we sit back and take it easy! Rather it motivates us to supreme effort.
- Diligence in what? - to a progression of virtues, each added to the base formed by the previous. These qualities fully furnish us for Christian living, expressing the Divine nature.
- Faith is the foundation - by faith we receive the provision in God’s magnificent promises.
- We are to build on this foundation - add to it moral excellence (virtue, goodness). When we become Christian our lives are changed (2 Cor 5:17), our moral values and behaviour are not what they were. To be supplied in addition to this (and we must strive for this) is virtue.
- But we must not stop at moral excellence. Though this is the first manifestation of the life of Christ in us through faith, we must move on from there to knowledge, knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Pet 1:2,3; 2 Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.). We need to go on, to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18).
- But knowledge of itself is not sufficient - it puffs up, we must move on to love which builds up (cf.1 Cor 8:1). So to knowledge we must make every effort to add self control (mastery, self-control. Literally "holding himself in". The holding in of passions and appetites)
- this is a mark of the indwelling Holy Spirit (cf 2 Tim 1:7). The world is ruled by lust (2 Pet 1:4), in contrast, we are to exercise complete control over our desires and actions. The knowledge we have of Jesus Christ, of Him dwelling in us, being our life; must of necessity change our behaviour - we must be different to what we were and different to those in the world. No longer controlled by our desires but self controlled. This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us (Gal 5:23).
- We need to be persistent in this disciplined, self-controlled life - this requires perseverence - consistent and faithful when under extreme pressure.
- Implied is some persecution - and the world will persecute us when we stand out as different and don’t join them in their headlong pursuit of their lusts. Patience is required to attain our goal, to grow and develop Christ-like nature - for His nature to be formed in us (Heb 6:12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.)
- Perseverence is not mere stoicism, but the outflow of the indwelling life of God.
- This patience and perseverence reaps its reward, it brings forth the fruit of godliness - a life of reverence and piety, being like God! - What a wondrous outcome perseverence brings! Hang in their when troubles assail you - God is doing a work in you through them.
- God’s nature in us will be evidenced by brotherly kindness, concern and love for our brother, our fellow man - this particularly applies to our fellow believers (Gal 6:9,10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.).
- From this love for our fellow believers develops that fuller and perfect love (ἀγάπη), the love of God Himself, that which is His essential nature (1 John 4:7,8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.)
- A self giving, sacrificial love that seeks the highest good for others. It in not dependent upon the nature of that which is loved but on the nature of the one who is loving.
- Its source is God alone (Romans 5:4,5 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.)
- it takes perseverance to produce love. It is a love that is found only in Him and comes only from Him. Yet we must make every effort to reach this goal (1 Cor 14:1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.) that of expressing the very nature of God Himself - Love!
- So we are to make every effort to obtain these qualities, but it is not a matter of getting them and then sitting back once you’ve obtained them. We are to continually go on - they are to ever increase. You can never say you’ve arrived, you can always love more. Our moral excellence, knowledge, self control, perseverence, godliness, brotherly kindness and love are to are to be continually increasing. Growth results in maturity which is characterized by fruitfulness
- If we have these attributes and they are continually increasing i.e. we are growing and developing in our Christian walk, then we will not be useless. We will, as is the purpose of all growing living organisms, bear fruit, reproduce (cf Gen 1:12,22, 28; John 15:2-8,16; Col 1:10).
- It is evident that knowledge of Jesus Christ is not for intellectual stimulation, and end in itself - the purpose of us knowing Jesus Christ is that we may be useful, productive, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit and reproducing, bring others to the knowledge of Christ also. But these qualities must be evident in our lives if we are to do so - if we are to be effective.
- Although our election is certain from the Divine point of view, being the result of God’s sovereign choice and based on the efficacy of Christ’s finished redemption, we are to employ these spiritual resources (2 Pet 1:5-7) in manifesting maturity (2 Pet 1:8,9) in order to make our calling and election certain to men. The result will be that "you will in never ever fall," stumble so as to fall in the Christian life.
- Because of the danger of becoming short-sighted and forgetting the work of Christ in purifying us from our sins, we must make every effort - be diligent. We were exhorted to be diligent (2 Pet 1:5), now we are exhorted to be all the more diligent.
- Doctrine must be put into practice - if we do these things (2 Pet 1:5-7) then we will never ever stumble. We will be firmly founded and not fall, for this is evidence of our election.
- God does His part (Jude 24), but we must do our part as well, and this calls for all out effort, unrelenting diligence.
- We are called to diligence in another area: Read 2 Timothy 2:15
- “accurately handling” - not just reading - implies study, diligently applying yourself to God’s word.
- God’s Word: Impressed by men at the assembly who knew where everything was in the Bible - it takes time - diligence.
Bryan - NIV on the page KJV in his heart. Soaked in God’s Word.
Arnold - a man I respect as a man of God, loved God’s Word, knew chapters by heart. It takes time.
Richard Wumbrand - how much Bible would you have if it was taken from you?
- Peter’s parting exhortation to the church was to diligence - continually pressing (Phil 3:12-15 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude.)
- Diligence is what we need in these days (when many want the easy road) in order to remain strong to the end.