Sermons & Sunday Schools

Living In Light of Christ’s Coming, Part 2

In this final sermon in 2 Peter, Pastor Joe Babij concludes examination of the last section of exhortation in 2 Peter 3:11-18. Pastor Babij explains the final two of the four eternal perspectives that people are to apply in light of Christ’s soon coming.

1. We should believe in Christ without delay (vv. 9, 15)
2. We should live holy and godly lives (vv. 11-14)
3. We should live guarded lives (vv. 15-17)
4. We should live growing lives (v. 18)

Full Transcript:

So today we’re looking at the last message in 2 Peter 3:11. First let’s go to the Lord in a word of prayer. Thank You, again for this opportunity to come together and look at Your Word. I pray that in light of Your coming, we as Christians would know what to do and would actually do it. You’ve given us everything to do it and we know that You want us to put the effort in to put these things into place. In our own lives, we should fairly examine where we are lacking and where we need to repent and what we need to change. Lord, we thank You for the Word of God that explains to us what we need to do. I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.

So what we believe about what happens in the future should dictate how we live in the present. Our belief about eternity demands that we have an eternal perspective in life in which our reaction is practical, righteous living. I have already said that along with Christ’s righteousness, He gives the believer an ethical righteousness. That means that a believer’s nature is transformed so that it will manifest into the character of God in an increasing way as they grow in Christ. As we are exiting 2 Peter, there are several things we must not forget. We have everything we need in a life of godliness. Let’s look back at 2 Peter 1:3 which says:

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.

The source of divine power is from Jesus so if you don’t know Him, you don’t have the power. The power is also expressed in a godly life in which our desires are changed, and we have divine enablement to put into practice what God actually asks us to do. You do this in a way that you’re not alone, like it says in Philippians 2:13:

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

For we are to replace sinful habits with godly habits. That is not human effort alone but it’s grace motivated effort. It’s not effort apart from but in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. When Peter started out this epistle, we learned that Christians are to take the human side of salvation very seriously by putting strenuous effort into their spiritual development. It’s the goal of all Christians to grow. And God intends His children to be godly. God has given everything to the believer for godliness to actually develop.

A godly person leads a life that reflects God and is growing in their desire to please God in their being, thinking, speaking, and in their desires and feelings. A good way to think of the Christian life is by using a farm as a model as given by Martin Lloyd Jones. He says that we are given a farm by God’s grace and we are the implements and tools that are necessary. We are given seed and we are called to farm. There is no use telling a man to farm if he doesn’t have a farm, or seed, or land, or tools. Nothing can be done. But all of these are given to us and therefore having received them, we are asked to farm.

Everything we ned for a godly and holy life has been given to us and is available to us. So this Lord’s Day, let me continue to examine the eternal perspectives we are to apply in light of the Lord’s coming, and what believers are to do while waiting for the Coming of Christ. The first eternal perspective is that we should repent and believe in Christ without delay.

I remember watching The Dispatches from the Front, a great series on missions and one of the missionaries was asked what he does. He answered this way, “I pray, I meet people, and I tell them about Jesus.” It’s something we ought to be doing too! It may be that the only chance that people have to come to Christ and be saved is by your witness. We ought to do this right now according to Scripture while God’s mercy and patience is actually operative in the age in which we live and we have to take full advantage of its availability. Just like it says in 2 Peter 3:9:

Not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Then look in 2 Peter 3:15:

Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you.

So that’s it: we are to evangelize. Along with that we are to examine ourselves for assurance of salvation. In 2 Peter 1:10 it says:

Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you.

God wants to make sure we are saved and the difference between a Christian and a non Chrisitan is it shows that a Christian is a person who has undergone the most vital change in their life that affects their being, inner personality, and their affections, mind, and will. In other words, they know they are saved by Jesus and have a testimony in which they can give an answer of the hope that lies within them. They know they are right by God and receive that by faith.

So salvation is the first thing which leads to the second eternal perspective we are to apply in light of Christ’s Coming is that we are to live holy and godly lives. Let’s look at 2 Peter 3:11:

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.

We should be preparing for it by cooperating with the Spirit’s sanctifying process in our life through our conduct and behavior. So if we are looking for a place where righteousness dwells and our Holy Lord is present there, how can we continue to do that which belongs to the realm of sin and Satan in this world? We can’t! What kind of people ought to be which is the statement in the question. Well the first thing is holy conduct which is someone who is living a holy life so believers belong to God and are responsible to live differently from their former way of life.

We are to be holy in everything we do and we’re going to see it as it says in 1 Peter 1:15:

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.

Holiness means to live apart from the world and to live for God. Saints are to abstain from the vices of their former lives and to place their trust in God rather than their own selves and the world. The bottom line is that saints are responsible to live right before God because they are to pursue holiness. Christians are no longer ignorant and should no longer be ignorant of world, sinful, carnal behavior. Look at what the Apostle Paul says to the church at Rome in Romans 13:13-14:

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

That’s how we are to live and we are to do it right in the middle of a wicked world. A Christian’s participation in the divine nature gives believers new ability to resist sin through a union with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in which the desire of the flesh is weakened and the voice of the flesh is dimmed.

The desire to obey the Holy Spirit and please Christ is strengthened and the volume of listening to the Spirit and the Word goes up and drowns out the old fleshly side of us. We desire to pursue a holy God and love of Him and a life that has a pattern of holiness in its lifestyle. So being ready for Christ’s return means as Christians that we are checking our attitude and our choices and behaviors and desires. Then we’re seeing where the allegiance lies and we make the appropriate adjustments by repenting and putting off sin.

So we pursue holiness but the second thing in our passage is that we are called to be godly. Practicing sound doctrine and the truth will lead to a godly life. There’s a certain truth coming from the Word of God that will lead a person to godliness. Paul writes in Titus 1:1:

For the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.

And again in 1 Timothy 6:3-6 it says:

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, e is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a sick craving for controversial questions and disputes about words, from which come envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

But real truth will lead someone to a godly life and a content life, trusting God with everything. So a godly person is not controlled or directed by trends, high profile people, popularity, cultural pressures, obtaining wealth as a goal for life, or by possessions. They are controlled and led by God’s Spirit and desire to do and know God’s will in their life. The growth in holiness and godliness as it increases our desires, it will increase our desire to want to be in God’s presence and it will increase our awareness to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

So when Christ does come, how should He find us? Peter addresses several things that He should find true of our lives. We need to be working in these as the Spirit is working on our lives. In 2 Peter 3:12 it says:

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!

We are to be found desiring and then we are to be found doing something. By living a holy and godly life, Christians hurry up the coming of Christ. Judgment is coming on this universe however that is not what we are desiring. We are looking beyond the catastrophe that is coming and are looking for a freshly created Heaven and earth where God’s will is paramount and God’s presence is enjoyed and honored and He is all in all. In 2 Peter 3:13 it says:

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

We are looking for a glimpse of the other, real, holy world that is yet going to be. This old world can never be improved or reformed no matter what we do. Look at how far we’ve been in the world and how far we have to go. There are more wars, divisions, strife in the world than ever before. Just turn on the news or look at the media. We are going backwards not forwards! So God will throw the world out and the passions and desires and Satan will take over and we will be in chaos.

Believers should not be in chaos. The world we presently live in is a world with a war on truth, righteousness, and justice. God will set up a new world, a renovated cosmos and a perfect universe where glory is everywhere. That’s why when you read the book of Revelation you see all these jewels and streets of gold. The glory of God is shining through everything and it is everywhere you go! Everywhere in the new Jerusalem will be like that!

Some people have asked me if when it is all over, we will remember what happened in this life. According to Isaiah 65:17 the answer would be no! Isaiah is saying this beyond the millennial event that he describes in the previous chapters. Remember the millennial event will end in rebellion. Isaiah the prophet sees a new creation in Isaiah 65:17, which says:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Thank the Lord we are not going to worry about the past. Isaiah has this eternal perspective in his mind. Why are we to have that same perspective? Because our hope are not to be based on this world, because it is doomed. It will end and the gospel message is addressed not to the world system but to people. If you don’t want to be part of the world and it’s ungodly system of condemnation, then be diligent to keep looking for Christ and striving for the coming of the Lord. Remember it says in 2 Peter 3:12:

Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.

This term hastening can mean several things but I think both are meant as first an earnest desire for God to come, but secondly it means to cause the Day of the Lord to come sooner. In other words, believers have a part in bringing about the return of Christ. Now how does one speed the Day of Christ along? Well we are doing that already by preaching the gospel. It says in Matthew 24:14:

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

So gospel preaching, witnessing will bring it on. Secondly, prayer brings the Day of the Lord. In Matthew 6:10 we see the Lord’s prayer:

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We are to pray for the Lord’s Kingdom to come and we can also move it along by preparing ourselves and living godly and holy lives. All these things are to be destroyed in this way and people are to be in holy conduct. The more we have these qualities, the more we want to be with the Lord. There is a second thing that we’re to be found in 2 Peter 3:14:

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found spotless and blameless by Him, at peace.

Peace describes here he stated f being right with God and of having increasing joy in His presence. Peace is established in our salvation and expands in our sanctification. Peace is a state of reconciliation with God that restores sinners joy and we enjoy our relationship with the Lord. But we know that this is brought about by what Christ has done as it says in Colossians 1:20 which says:

Having made peace through the blood of His cross.

And Romans 5:1 says:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This also means that we must have peace with both God and man. We must not be living in rebellion against God or divided against our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must be living just like God says we ought to live so we are to live lives that are peaceful with peace of heart, peace with God, and peace with people. The notice what else it says in 2 Peter 3:14:

[We are] to be found spotless and blameless by Him, at peace.

Now remember if you go back to 2 Peter 2 you’ll found out that their false teachers were called blots and blemishes on society and the mission of Christ. Here, spotless is the goal of those cleansed from past sins and this means they have no dit, pollution, or condemnation of sin. The believer is to be confessing his sins always, which may have caught the eye or the ear and which may have caused unclean thoughts across his mind. While they are confessing and repenting, keep in mind that it is the power of Christ’s blood that cleans us and keeps us pure.

Now this is why the godlessness is such a great mystery, as Paul says in Timothy. By common confession great is the mystery of godliness, why? That means we can’t fully understand it because the Christian who still has remaining corruption in their heart livens in a world that is against them and now has the focus of demons to attack them and yet they are enabled to live a godly and holy life, a spotless and a blameless life. They are enabled to do that by God’s power! That’s not us alone.

That’s why the things I’m mentioning here are impossible to have without bing a believer. Also in verse 14, Christians are people who are found to be blameless. Blameless means free from fault and condemnation and to be above reproach or rebuke. It says in Philippians 2:15:

So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.

In the wisdom book of Proverbs it says in Proverbs 11:5:

The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.

See Christ is the reason for these descriptive words and Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the blemish of sin and makes us clean like He already mentions in 1 Peter 1:19, but with the precious blood of Christ like that of a lamb without spot. It’s all connected to Christ. In fact when we consider the doctrine of election, of God choosing us, in Ephesians 1:4 we realize that God not only chose us to be saved but also to be blameless. Look at what it says:

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

See the Lord chose us not only to be saved but to live this blameless, spotless, peaceful life because we know that we are right with God. Even the book that I’m going to next after 2 Peter, which is Jude, says in Jude 1:24:

Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy.

Why are we able to stand in the presence of God with joy? Because of what Christ has done. So then live like the Master. You and I are given everything to live like Kingdom children. You have no excuse. That leads me to the third eternal perspective that we are to apply in light of Christ’s coming and it is this: we are to live guarded lives. In 2 Peter 3:15-17 it says:

And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unscrupulous people and lose your own firm commitment.

We are to live guarded lives and aren’t you glad that this is written here that there is a level of difficulty in Scripture? I don’t know about you but when I go to Scripture, I don’t know what it says. Even after studying it for awhile, I still don’t get it. There’s a way to get to what it says even still. If you are reading the Apostle Paul, you know it’s hard to understand the old and the new nature, God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are difficult things. The olive tree and Israel’s future, marriage, some’s place in the church, the mystery of godliness, freedom from the law yet under the law of Christ, are all not easy when you come to Scripture.

It takes study to handle the Word of God accurately. The Bible has all kinds of different genres in it. Cut it straight by using a proper hermeneutic: a handling of Scripture that includes the grammatical words and the word that the Spirit wrote to us. And we are to look at the historical and cultural contexts: who it was wrote to and where. So whether we are reading parables or poetry or an apocalyptic passage or historical passage or an epistle, we use that method to get to the original intention of the writer.

That’s the job, not to put things in there that are not meant in Scripture. We don’t read the Bible and say what we think it means. It doesn’t matter what you think it means… what does it really mean? That’s what will produce true godliness. So we need to be guarded and what do we need to be guarded from? We need to guard ourselves from Scripture twisters.

In 2 Peter 3:16 it says that those who are untaught and unstable distort the Scriptures. The term distort means to twist or warp and that is what false teachers do. They twist, warp, and distort the Scriptures. Now false teachers do still use the Scriptures but they mishandle them to their own destruction so that cutting it straight is abandoned by the unlearned and unstable who tend to use Scripture to justify behavior that is not in line with sanctified holiness.

There are several examples in Scripture of people taking what Paul wrote and twisting it and he has to correct them on several occasions. One of the occasions was on Romans 3 where Paul was teaching on the justification by faith. The teaching some people said about this is that when a person believed in Christ, he was saved and it didn’t matter then how he lived. Paul uses the statement may it never be to respond and says this in Romans 3:8:

And why not say (just as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let’s do evil that good may come of it”? Their condemnation is deserved.

Paul never said that, that we should do evil that good may come. But that’s where people twist the Scriptures. They think that God has given us liberty and freedom. If God set us free, then what are we free to do now? Not anything we want, but we are free to live for God. So what does Paul say in Galatians 5:13? It says:

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

People were saying that they were free so they could do whatever they want without restrictions. People justified their lifestyles with these twisted verses. The reason we are to be guarded and keep watch, so that we are not duped by the false teachers. The false teachers are skilled in communication. They are skilled to get people to listen to what they have to say and follow them. Many of them have a command of the language and are wordsmiths to understand things and how to get people to do things. They are often also good salesmen.

So if you are not on guard, then you’re being lazy and complacent. If you’re lazy and complacent, you are more likely to fall into sin and worldliness. Look at 2 Peter 3:17:

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unscrupulous people and lose your own firm commitment.

This is what Peter doesn’t want you to do. False teachers believe that falling your lust and showing no restraint were signs of maturity. Freedom for them in Christ was to follow their own sensuality, not truth. Freedom for them was to follow their own lusts, not the truth. So false teachers actually feed the strongest urges of the fallen nature of humanity, to be wealthy, healthy, and prosperous. Christians are not exempt from the duty of vigilance but are to be guarded and watchful in their lives.

So the subtle power of worldliness and all that it is, which is all they have to go by, with its lusts and desires are opposed to God. There is a regular influence upon us by the endless flow of books, films, and all the media that inroads into our lives. We have all the complex technologies of our day that come across our phones and computers that we’re not even looking for. They already figure out what you are searching and can get your attention by algorithms that map out your likes, wants, and desires. They formulate advertisements that entice you to further indulge yourself in endless gratification.

So we can be duped and we have to be careful because many times things are subtle. Let me give you an example of how easy it is to be swept into worldliness and idolatry. This past year, we had a very heated election cycle and the internet and social media made it more explosive and divisive. Many of us got swept up into talking about cultural issues such as critical race theory, government oversight in regard to COVID-19 regulations, homosexuality, LGBTQ community, abortion, and others.

Maybe what we didn’t realize at first is how much the cultural issues had become political issues and when these two things mix, it seems the political agenda distorts these issues and uses them as clubs to divide people, to cause hatred and division amongst people. And when it spilled over into the Church, it started to produce the same results of division, dislike, and hatred. All amongst believers! That is not living blameless or godly lives, but the exact opposite! We’re passionate about our country and issues and while I believe it is important for Christians to be knowledgable and involved to some extent, we have to be careful that we don’t make idols of our political parties and our cultural concerns.

I believe we should support those leaders and organizations that have committed themselves to stand for justice and righteousness but we need to remember that the first priority of the Church is the proclamation of the gospel. People need to be rescued from the power of Satan and brought into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

So if we lose sight of the Church’s primary calling then we are in danger of making an idol of our culture and political initiatives. Many of us are subtly drifting right into the hands of the onslaught of media coverage and we are picking sides. We can’t pick sides when it comes to what God wants us to do because the world is always going to have issues and trumpeting something that is not as important to what the Church ought to be.

And you know what? If you win someone to Christ, they are going to change. Their worldview is going to change and their view of people and race is going to change. Because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s what is important, to keep the unity and peace amongst us. We don’t deal with worldliness by determining that we will not be worldly, but by committing ourselves to be more godly. We need to grow in our relationship with Christ and begin to view all aspects of life through the lens of His glory. We really need an increase of an affection for God that will expel from our hearts the affection for things of the world and the flesh.

That leads me to the last thing and it is this. Look in 2 Peter 3:18. The fourth eternal perspective we are to apply in light of Christ’s coming is that we are to live growing lives. Look at what it says:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

See, we ought to keep growing onward in our knowledge of Christ. Is there any greater defense of the faith than to see progress in our own personal growth in Christ likeness? And progress in our congregational growth in Christ likeness? No, growth is a priority for both things. God intends that all Christians should grow. Parents of newborns find great joy in them but imagine the distress they would feel if the months went by and their babies still remained a baby, smiling and kicking in the crib but never growing. That would be a tragedy!

We should not allow ourselves to forget that God must know comparable distress when we, His spiritually born children, fail to grow in Christ. God’s looking for growth in all of us. When we think about growth, the great idea here is change and development and enlarging and gaining strength. It’s showing energy and advancement and deepening our understanding of things and becoming mature in Christ.

Remember babes, young men, fathers. That’s the growth that we want to head for. But hopefully you are not in the crib still crying and kicking and not getting up on your own. Hopefully you’re taking things as you ought to and growing! See we Christians need to add to what God has given us and proceed to increase and grow in it. Add to your faith the seven qualities and virtues that are listed in chapter one. The ethical list of virtues are to be lived out by the Christian that constitutes a godly life. That is what Christians are to do.

This is what they are enabled to do and what we should discipline ourselves to do in light of Christ’s coming. These are the qualities that help to form the image of Christ in our Christian character. These qualities deserve our utmost effort so we come full circle in chapter one all the way to the last verse. It’s like a sandwich where Paul starts off saying grow in these things and he ends with growing in Christ.

So we are to add to our faith moral excellence. No one is born morally excellent but this word actually means to be good because God is good! If we are growing in Christ likeness, we are going to be actually genuinely good people because God is good. The only way we can get somewhat of a picture is by looking at the character of God as recorded in Scripture. The Word of God speaks often of the goodness of God as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:68:

You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

We ought to recognize that the drop of morning dew gleams of His glory and goodness and every speck of dust bears the impression of God’s goodness and glory. And yes our great God is within us, keeping our hearts in motion and around us giving us the air we need to breathe so we can sustain our life both physically and spiritually. You read Scripture and find that we are not only created for good works but it says in Titus 3:8:

Be careful to engage in good deeds.

Hebrews 10:24 tells us:

Let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds.

This reflects a holy holy and godly life when we are considering people who are weak, feeble, sick, elderly, the widowed and orphaned, the young men and young men. We are doing this when we send packages and letters and emails to provide companionship and meet their needs and pray for them. We come alongside each other and sometimes mow lawns or shovel snow. We invite others into our home and bring them to church or the doctor if they need a ride. Anything we do we are reflecting the goodness of God. It says in Matthew 10:24:

And whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

So we’re to be people who are good. Secondly we are to be people who are knowledgeable. This knowledge is of the significant things of our lives like life and death, how to be right with God, eternity and how to get to the Kingdom. God doesn’t want us to check our brains at the door. Knowledge definitely includes the knowledge of Christ but also wisdom and discernment. All over 1 and 2 Peter you find these words, like in 2 Peter 1:2-3:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord for 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.

In 2 Peter 1:8 it says:

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they do not make you useless nor unproductive in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So if the Scripture is stressing an imperative for living life well, it is this. If we are going to finish this life well we must know God. To faith in Christ, let us add a praise worthy life and to that let us add knowledge. So get working on knowing God. Knowing Christ and God’s will enables us to live for Him. God places no premium on ignorance. A person can know about God and yet not know Him. This is a prayer for the saints, to have a true knowledge of God, one that is personable and intimate and where God is real to us and we are conscious of His presence.

To know a person means something beyond just a casual acquaintance. Knowledge means intimacy and personal information about it. It means a special knowledge of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit that comes right out of Scripture, which is the special revelation given to us. So we ought to be people that not only do good but are knowledgeable about what we believe. And we need to have control over ourselves which is one of the fruits of the Spirit. That means that we are able to hold ourselves in. With what power are you trying to put off hindrances and besetting sins to develop godly character and bear godly fruit.

Your own power will never do it. The fact is that sin is the greatest power in the world. No method or power from us or from our world can overcome it. Only the almighty power of God working in the lives of those who seek it from Him and through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian participating in the divine nature is able to control their greatest feelings, desires, cravings, and passions with wise control.

Without giving in to its strongest urges and only the Spirit of God can accomplish that. Those things are impossible without Him. So when the direction of a believer’s life is in accord with practicing self-control, he or she will avoid falling prey to all kinds of temptations. Believe me, I am not talking about behavioral modifications. Anyone can modify their behavior in one place or another. Maybe they stop overeating, or stop spending or stop taking drugs. People do that all the time. The Bible is talking about transformation from inside out, not from outside in.

We are to be people that have patience and endurance or perseverance, meaning that we understand from Scripture that the Christian life has difficulties, troubles, valleys, and trials. But it will also have its victories. It won’t be a smooth road to enter the Kingdom of God and that’s what the Lord told us in Scripture. The assumption here is the walking on the path of perseverance will develop a strong faith that leads to godliness, perseverance. We’re to add to that godliness which I have already mentioned. And then we are to be kind to our brethren because we are cleansed and purified people that can live it out in our daily lives. In other words, we can genuinely love others because we have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred and prejudice along with other defilements of the sinful heart.

We can do this because we are already prepared for this. The last thing that we are to add is love. This is none other than agape love. It’s the Biblical love that has origins in God the Father. The Bible tells us 1 John 4:10:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

And it’s a love that is demonstrated by God the Son, Jesus Christ. It says in Ephesians 5:1:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

And then we have the Spirit of God who is pouring out that love in our hearts. We don’t have it there and we cannot have this love without the Spirit of God. It says in Romans 5:5:

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.

So we are people who are continuing to learn to love God. We are continuing to learn to love like God. That will never end and we will never arrive there but we should we working our way there. So we should live this love because of the new birth. This love has a divine origin. Love is the badge of the character of Christianity. Those growing in Jesus’ kind of love will not only say loving words but also loving deeds just as He did. So the Christian faith is not limited to the initial conversion experience. It was intended to grow and mature from babes to young men to spiritual fathers.

I hope your’e not still that baby laying in the crib not maturing yet. If that is the case, you may not have been saved. God promises that you and I can live a useful and fruitful live in our Lord Jesus Christ. He promised that not only will we join Christ in the eternal Kingdom but the entry will be rich and rewarding. He says in 2 Peter 1 that if we are growing in that way, we will be more useful and productive. We will not be blind, forgetful and we will have assurance of salvation and an abundant entrance in the Kingdom of God. I love what it says in 2 Peter 1:11:

For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

That’s what we have to look forward to. That’s motivating to live for God. So Paul ends the book by saying this in 2 Peter 3:18:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

If you do a study of the word grace, there is saving grace, sovereign grace, providential grace, sustaining grace, and sufficient grace. There’s grace to go around! There’s also growing in the knowledge of Chris, knowledge acquired by learning, diligence, and experience. The more we grow in Christlikeness, the more we will wan to go home and want Him to come back. That’s where Peter wants us to be. So then that is what believers are to do while waiting for the coming of Christ.

We shall believe in Christ without delay, we should live holy and godly lives, we should live guarded lives, and we should live growing lives. That’s who we are and I pray that you would put them into practice. Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again today for your kindness and patience to us. Make us people who are learning to love like You love and who are kind and self-controlled and patiently endure. Make us people who are knowledgeable and good. Make us people who are guarded and growing and that know we’re saved and know the areas in our lives that we actually need to work on.

I pray Lord, that as You expose those things to us, that we would take care of them. We do this all in the power of the Holy Spirit and we know that You desire for us to be transformed into the image of Chris. I pray that we would not buck against that but would cooperate with You. I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.