Giving All Diligence #611

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5–7, NKJV)

Half-heartedness does not please God. We must love Him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). It is not surprising, then, that God expects us to give “all diligence” when it comes to spiritual development. We are to approach our spiritual growth with eagerness and swiftness. This demands a mindset or way of thinking that aggressively seizes every opportunity to become stronger in faith. The growth of our faith is not something we say we will “get around to someday”. Do not sit back and wait for growth to just happen, because it will not. Seize the moment, make haste to add to your faith.

Add to Your Faith #610

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5–7, NKJV)

The “very reason” upon which Peter builds his case for spiritual growth is the “great and precious promises” we have been given. Christians have heeded the gospel call to be “partakers of the divine nature” by escaping the corruption of sin that is in the world (2 Pet. 1:4). Our redemption in Christ is no reason to ignore spiritual growth. Indeed, it is the very reason we are to give all diligence to add to our faith qualities of the divine nature: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. As our faith abounds in these traits of a strengthened faith, we become useful and fruitful in knowing Christ, and are given entrance into heaven (2 Pet. 1:8, 10-11). If we choose not to grow in faith, we lose our spiritual sight and forget our cleansing from past sins (2 Pet. 1:9). Thus, it may be said of heaven, if we will not grow, we will not go. Let us “be even more diligent” to make our calling and election sure by increasing our faith in the Lord (2 Pet. 1:10).

“I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” #609

21  “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24  for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:21–24, NKJV)

God’s mercy and joy over one sinner who repents is on clear display in the parable of the prodigal son. What is equally observed is the wasteful son’s repentance that prompted him to return to his father and humbly confess his sins. God is ready to show mercy and forgive every sin; of that there is no doubt. When we sin against God, the probing question is whether we will recognize our terrible spiritual condition, humble ourselves before God and repent (Lk. 15:14-19). We must take personal responsibility for our sins. We cannot blame our sins on others. When personal accountability for our sin is coupled with godly sorrow, we can move forward to repent and receive the merciful forgiveness of God (2 Cor. 7:10).

One Sacrifice for Sins Forever #608

11  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12  But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… (Hebrews 10:11–12, NKJV)

In contrast to the repeated offerings of animal sacrifices by Levitical priests, the great High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, offered one sacrifice for sins forever. With “His own blood” He entered heaven (“the Most Holy Place”), and by it, obtained eternal redemption for sinners (Heb. 9:12, 14-15, 26-28; 10:10). The gospel, “the word of the cross”, presents the sacrifice of Jesus to the whole world and calls us to salvation by His blood (1 Cor. 1:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:20). Thank God today for His great love, His marvelous wisdom and His rich mercy. All are on full display when we survey the wondrous cross of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Clothed with Humility #607

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore 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. (1 Peter 5:5–7, NKJV)

Humility shows itself through submission. It is the proud of heart who always knows better, does better and is better than everyone else (or at least, in his or her own eyes). We will not show proper humility toward others until we are first humble toward God. We must submit ourselves to His power, to His time and trust His constant care for us. It takes humble faith to trust the Lord’s way instead of our own. Submit your will to the Almighty and clothe yourself with humility. God will exalt the humble one, whose submissive life readily serves God and others.

Lying Lips #606

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22, NKJV)

Honesty must be part of the defining character of every Christian. Deceit takes different forms, all of which are detestable to God. A lie is a deliberate falsehood (Gen. 27:19). It can take the form of an evasive answer, as when Cain answered God’s question about Abel (Gen. 4:9). The misrepresentation of facts is also lying, as when Gehazi lied to Naaman (2 Kgs. 5:20-27). Misrepresenting oneself to others is also lying, as when Ananias and his wife lied (Acts 5:1-4). God takes joy in those who are truthful in their dealing with others. On the other hand, dishonesty is hostile to God and to His truth. Lying originates from the devil, and all liars will join him in the eternal fire of hell (Jno. 8:44; Rev. 21:8, 27). Put away lying in all its forms and speak the truth (Eph. 4:24-25).