Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Believer’s Responsibility for Godly Living, Part 4

In this sermon, Pastor Babij preaches from 2 Peter 1:6 regarding the Christian’s responsibility to practice self-control, to master one’s passions and emotions and not be ruled by them. Pastor Babij teaches that, when Christians run from temptation, God will rescue them.

Full Transcript

We are continuing to look at the believer’s responsibility for Godly living. We’ll be looking at 2 Peter 1 and Ephesians 1 and some other passages that I’ll ask you to look up. We’re looking at part of 2 Peter 1:6 today. Let’s pray.

Father, thank You for another opportunity to be in Your Word and to have it available to us and to be able to read it and hear it preached. We are able to think through it and Holy Spirit, we ask You to allow the Word of God to be practical in our life that we would be looking at what we are seeing in Scripture and in our own life and I pray as we do that, Lord, that we would truly bear the benefits that this passage tells us. Because of it, when we live this way, Your Name is glorified. So bless us today with an understanding of the Word of God with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a will to do Your will. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.

Now if I were to tell you how to avoid being unproductive in your Christian life, avoid being spiritually shortsighted, avoid forgetting what you have learned so far being a disciple of Jesus Christ, avoid falling on your face spiritually, being unsure of your election and doubt whether you would make it into the Kingdom of God, would you wan to hear what I have to say? That’s the question I have for you!

If I then said to you, all those things are attainable and yours, all you have to do is put strenuous effort into obtaining them and then to continue to increase in them until the day you leave this earth, would you consider it? Would you consider it a legitimate pursuit and would you be willing to give time and effort in order to be godly? That’s what Peter is addressing in the first part of this epistle.

So if we are to supply generously to our own faith the seven qualities that are listed in this passage, and if we add to those qualities as we grow in our knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ, we will avoid the downside of the negative results of being irresponsible in our behavior. Believers are to be responsible for what they are reading and studying in the Word of God. That means Christians have been given everything, as it says in 2 Peter 1:3:

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.

Because we have that, we saw what God had done for us. Now the Scripture is telling us that we are to take the human side of our salvation very seriously, by putting strenuous effort into our spiritual development. As Christians we are to add to what God has given us, proceed to grow in it and then add to our faith the seven qualities. If you look at 2 Peter 1:5-7, here are the seven qualities:

Diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, ;self-control, perseverance, godliness, ;brotherly kindness, and love.

These ethical virtues are to be lived out by the Christian which constitutes what a godly life is. This is what Christians are enabled to do and discipline themselves to do. We are to lavishly supply to our Christian faith all the virtues until they culminate in the last virtue which is love. We are to work them out in every avenue until they are in every compartment of our lives. They are not to be worked out all at the same time but over a period of time all together. The first five are characteristics that grow out of our relationship with God: moral excellence, knowledge, ;self-control, perseverance, godliness. The last two represents are relationships with our fellow men, which would be brotherly kindness and love.

Again just like the Ten Commandments. The first part marks our relationship with God, the second is our relationship with people. That should reflect how we actually deal with people once we have been growing in these characteristics. Two starting qualities that should be added to our faith are moral excellence and knowledge. These lay down the foundation of the rest of them. Faith is the root of which these virtues grow. Of the seven qualities, two are foundational and five are directional.

The Scripture calls us to bring every effort of cultivating our spiritual growth, that is to increase in the image of Christ in our Christian character. These qualities help format that image. Now when you read passages like this, you may say to yourself that this is impossible to achieve. That’s why Peter tells us that we can because we are participating in the divine nature that God has put in us by His Holy Spirit. God doesn’t just tell us to do this and it automatically happens. He wants us to put the effort in because we have a relationship and are walking with the Lord. Every day as we learn more about Him, we are growing. You shouldn’t be the same a month or year from now then you are today, you should be different. You should be laying aside the things that God doesn’t want in your life anymore, which may not be sinful but don’t enhance your spiritual growth. You can spend less time on things that are just not helpful.

We’re heading to eternity and the city of God! He is preparing us for that very purpose. The two foundational qualities are in 2 Peter 1:5:

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in ;your ;moral excellence, knowledge.

Moral excellence can also be translated the quality of the goodness of God that we learned from God which can be demonstrated in good habits. Fleshly desires are also discarded from us. We are to pursue what is morally right. Moral excellence is the state achieved by which the soul operates on the level of goodness. Christians are able to live out their virtuous life. Not because of our own efforts alone, but because of the presence of Christ in our soul. That’s what makes someone different from just professing Christ and nothing changes in their life, to those who have trusted Christ and have the Spirit and the Word of God and are different.

I think any honest Christians are going to say that the day they trusted Christ, everything changed. Our whole worldview change because of Christ. If someone was pushed in the corner and then grow in the Lord and become a Christian, they would say no to denying Christ. If this means that this is the last day, then so be it. God gives us the grace if that ever happens to us. We’re not going to deny Christ because we know He is our treasure. He gave His life to us and demonstrated love for us first.

This moral excellence is really part of the handiwork of God’s goodness in our lives. Everywhere we look, we see God’s goodness and creation. We see it in His laws and providences. God cannot be anything other than good. We learn goodness by keeping our eyes on Jesus, who He is and what He’s done. We learn goodness by the second foundational quality, which is knowledge. God does not bypass our minds, but actually makes it come alive. We understand things we never understood before. We know there’s a hope and a future for us, even when it comes to death.

It is so elusive for us to try and define what happens after death, but we can actually preach messages about that because the Bible tells us so. We have enough details of what God wants us to know on this side of eternity that we can preach on that and have a hope. Death is a doorway into God’s presence. To be absent from the body is to be present in the Lord.

That gives us the strength to be able to live another day. Even in the difficulties of life. So we are to add to our faith knowledge and this is the word gnosis, this means knowledge that is not necessarily complete yet. It is a growing knowledge in which we are stimulated in our minds intellectually and our appetites comes alive where we have a spiritual appetite for things we never had before. This knowledge definitely includes knowledge of Christ but it also includes wisdom and discernment that goes with knowledge. It includes the practical part of action after learning the Word of God. It’s not just cold theology or theory.

The Scripture is really stressing and imperative for living life well. It is this that if we are to finish life well, we must know God. The knowledge is really based on knowing who God is. We must get to work on knowing God because that is the pathway that leads to home which tells us in 2 Peter 1:11:

The entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

So this Lord’s Day, we will take a look at the first of the five directional qualities. This next quality will set us on the right path and give us clear direction on the way we should go. That’s why it’s a directional quality. The first directional quality is found in verse 6, which says:

And in ;your ;knowledge, self-control, and in ;your ;self-control, perseverance, and in ;your ;perseverance, godliness.

We’ll look at perseverance next time. I really want to focus on adding to your faith self-control. Now this word literally means to hold one’s self in. The root word means power and strength. In other passages, this term is used like in Ephesians 1:15-19:

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which ;exists ;among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention ;of you ;in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I ;pray that ;the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are ;in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.

Now let me stop there because the word there is the same word that Peter uses in 2 Peter, and it means supernatural activity or energy or the operation of one upon us. The question here is what power we are using to try and resist temptation. What power are we using to put off besetting sins, develop godly character or bear spiritual fruit. What kind of power are we using? We can’t just use our own because that’s not enough. Here the Bible is saying that this power has been given to us.

The fact is that sin is one of the greatest powers in the world. No matter or 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 and through Christ can access it. So Christians don’t really have to struggle vainly over victory over their sin. But they should instead seek God’s power in prayer and keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Surely, this should quicken our hope and should enable us to appreciate our inheritance that we have and it should strengthen us to maintain against enemy and hindrance and obstacle in our path and it could be overcome in God’s power. That’s why it says in Ephesians 1:19:

What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe?

God is not doing this towards everyone. He is only doing it to us who believe, those who are in Christ. You and I used to be in spiritual darkness and dead in trespasses and sins but now we are alive or quickened. In Ephesians, our hearts are opened and the prayer that is being offered here is that this light would be flooded into our souls to give us understanding. Now if you go to Ephesians 2:5, we get this passage of Scripture that says:

Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

The very fact that you and I are believers is solely a demonstration of God’s might. Many things had to be overcome and conquered by the strength of God in order for you and me to become believers. For example, our flesh had to be over come. Why did it have to be overcome? Because Paul said to us in Romans 8:7:

Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able ;to do so.

We know that God can do this but we need to continue in that even as we grow in the Lord. We still need the power of God to overcome our remaining sin and corruption that is in the world. The second thing that has to be overcome is the devil himself. He is a real being and a fallen angel. I guess you could say that his power is second only to God in this world. He is the god of this world, which is what it says in 2 Corinthians 4. He has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.

It is only by the exceeding greatness of God’s power that he can be over come. What about the world itself, the system in which we live that is pounding against us every single day? The subtle power of worldliness with its lusts and desires that are opposed to God, the regular influences that fall upon us by the endless flow of books and films and blogs and all the inroads those into our lives by the complex technologies of the day.

Now you know and I know that when we are surfing the web, we’re finding things that we want to find, algorithms are being designed just for you. They are tracking everything you do. They have all the information they need about you and they are mapping out your likes and your dislikes, your wants and your desires. And they are also formulating advertisements in order to entice you to further indulge yourself in endless gratification. That’s what we do today, spend all day surfing the web. Before you know it, you’re taking your credit card out and buying something you don’t need. And they’re good at doing that!

We put our names on Facebook and all of a sudden because you’re one of their friends, you now have an advertisement in your notifications and mailboxes. The world knows how to get their message out and they know how to entice people. They’ve done their homework and behind all this is Satan himself. It’s power to please and entertain and entice the natural man and ultimately to blur the lines of what truth and error are, even to dictate what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, what is real and what is fantasy, and if they can blur those lines, then they will get your mind.

1 John 2:15-16 says:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Sinful people are going to promote the things that they want and what the culture wants. These are nice people who are kept in darkness and lulled into a stupor of false teaching and practices because they are just following what the system of the world is already doing, and it is good at advertising at what they want you to do.

So even Christians come under the subtle power of the world, which is trying to lure them away from pure devotion to Christ. Now what I’m stressing here is the difficulty in believing if it were not for the power of God to cause us to be born again. None of us could be saved without Him or be able to live the Christian life. We would not be able to stand for one moment. That’s what Peter said in his first epistle. Let’s look at what it says in 1 Peter 1:3:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

If it was not God’s power, not only would we not be able to be saved, but we would not be able to stay saved. Believers have the power working in them, if it were not for God’s power we would not have the desire to read the Word of God, pray, or the strength to put off sin and put on righteousness, or be strong in the Lord in the spiritual battle. The Apostle in Ephesians is not praying that believers see their need of this power, or that the believer have more power, but that believers would realize the greatness they have of the power that is already working in them. Philippians 2:13 says:

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

God’s already doing that so you don’t have to pray for it! You now just have to live it out. How great is that power? How much strength is available for the Christian in this daily living out of our faith? Well in Ephesians 1:19-20 it says:

These are ;in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly ;places.

We often think of the Christian life solely in that we are forgiven. Then we tend to live the Christian life in the best way we can. This is altogether incorrect thinking because it is impossible to live the Christian life on their own strength. You see by nature, not one of us could or would believe the gospel. Nothing but the power of God can make us believers. But this same power is it what helps us continue in the Christian life. This is also connected to what God had to do to raise Christ from the dead and raise us to spiritual life. Believers are being urged to depend on this power and to realize the inexhaustible source of this strength that you can never run out of it since it comes from God.

I pray that we know it fully and personally and learn by experience the measureless might and exceeding greatness of the power that God is exerting towards those who believe. So if you are a person who has believed then you have the power of God to live out what Scripture asks you to live out and you can never exhaust it.

Now let’s go back to 2 Peter 1:6 because I said all that for this reason, that you and I are to be growing in this quality of self-control that the Christian has available to them because they participate in the divine nature and power to control and stabilize their lives. Just think of this, controlling one’s passions and desires instead of letting them control you. Self-control is the ability to put aside your own desires and passions so that they are now your servants. Sin is no longer your master, you are the master of yourself. I’m saying that in a Biblical sense, not a motivational message. You make your passions and desires into your servants.

In other words they are no longer your master or tyrants or calling the shots. Why? Because God is transforming your mind to know what you ought to do and then do it. That knowledge shouldn’t just lay in your brain or go in one ear and out the other. It should go down to your will and move that. Your will is what you do. The Word of God, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, directing and informing your passions and desires, instead of the old sinful nature and the world’s system and demonic enticements. You are informing and in control of your own will because God has given you the power to have self-control.

It says in Galatians 5:22:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When Paul wrote and gave us the epistle of Titus, he said to the older men in Titus 2:2:

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

He told the older women so that they may encourage the younger women to love their husbands, children and be sensible. The word sensible means to be sound of mind and self-controlled. The older women are to teach the younger women to be self-controlled and pure, workers at home, kind, and subject to their own husbands so that the Word of God will no be dishonored.

So everywhere you go, you cannot get away from the fact that when you become a believer you are in control of yourself. We have no excuse that we are not. We can’t make excuses about things that we should not be doing that we are doing, or the things that we should be doing that we are not doing. Romans 8:13 tells us:

If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

You will experience the life of Christ in your life by these qualities becoming much more clear and more evident, not only in seeing them, but in wanting to do them as well. Then of course, the wisdom book of Proverbs tells us this in Proverbs 16:32:

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

It says this in Proverbs 25:28:

Like a city that is broken into and ;without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.

Of course a city without walls is easy to attack and easy to control, but people live there. But if you have walls up, the wall of self-control up, it’s very hard to change control. There is an interesting narrative in the book of Acts that I want you to turn to. Go to Acts 24. As I was studying this, I thought this was an incredible narrative because in it we get Paul standing before Felix and giving his testimony and of course every time the Apostle Paul gave his testimony, he always brought the gospel in. But I want you to notice how he preaches the gospel to Felix. In Acts 24:24-25 it says:

But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him ;speak ;about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.

When someone becomes a believer in Christ Jesus, one of the first things they begin to recognize in their life is that they have self-control, which means they are responsible for their life. Here’s the gospel, the righteousness of Christ, self-control once you’re a believer in this world, and judgment to come because you’ll stand before God one day and give an account on how you lived your life. Look at how Felix responds in Acts 24:25:

Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.”

It was interesting that Felix was controlled by fear. Look at the second thing it says in Acts 24:26:

At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him.

Here’s the second thing that Felix is controlled by: money! He’s not listening to the message, he’s controlled by fear, money, and greed. In Acts 24:27 it says:

But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.

He was also controlled by prestige and power. So Felix’s desires and passions were not controlled by himself even though he may have thought they were. They were controlled by fear, greed, and power. A believer is not controlled by any of those things anymore. It doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with them, but they begin to lay those things aside. Putting it all together, it means you the Christian participates in the divine nature are able to control yourself. That means the greatest feelings you have, the strongest desires and cravings you have, the powerful passions that you have, you can control them with wise control without giving in to the strongest urges.

When the direction of the believer’s life is in accord with practicing self-control, he or she will avoid falling prey to all kinds of temptations. Self-control is connected to the temptations that you are going to be tempted with in this life and in this world. Don’t misunderstand! This has no connection at all to what psychology calls behavior modification. Anyone can make modifications in their behavior if they want to. They can stop smoking, overeating, spending money, drinking, and taking drugs.

The Bible is talking about something else. It is talking about transformation where these seven qualities are worked out in every avenue and compartment in the Christian life in which they are growing all at the same time. The Spirit of God is developing in us the image of Christ and we the Christians are cooperating with Him to pursue that goal.

This is the opposite of what false teachers are teaching which Peter is going to get to in our text. Turn back to 2 Peter again and I want you to notice that he is writing these things for the believer to be able to stand up against the pressure that is going to come against them through what people are calling true teaching which is actually false teaching. He says that false teachers believed that following their own lusts and showing no restraint were signs of maturity. Look at 2 Peter 2:2:

Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.

For the false teacher in verse 2, to be in Christ is to follow their own sensuality and not the truth, to follow their own passions. Look at 2 Peter 2:18-19:

For speaking out arrogant ;words ;of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

So the lure of the false teachers is to bring a person into their world and that is how someone can live their best life now. If you fulfill your passions and desires, the ones you want, then that’s what you ought to be doing in this world. In 2 Peter 3:3 it says:

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with ;their ;mocking, following after their own lusts.

Freedom in Christ is to follow their own lusts and not the truth. This is the danger of false teaching because they are not packaging it as false teaching, they’re packaging it into a container and giving it out as truth. False teachers actually are feeding the strongest urges of the fallen nature. Those include to be wealthy, healthy, and prosperous.

It is interesting that Paul uses the same word for strength and power that he has been using for the Christian. He says in 2 Timothy 3:2-5:

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, ;unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, ;treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, ;holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

We live in a day where there is an abundance of false teaching packaged as truth. We also live in a day in these last days where people do not have self-control. They are powerless to control themselves.

For the believer, we are to grow in this characteristic of self-control. It was Jesus who said that if you don’t want to enter into temptation, you need to develop certain characteristics. One of these is to be watchful. He says in Matthew 26:41:

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The Apostle Peter uses in 1 Peter the word to be on the alert and awake and watchful. He says don’t be lazy or sleepy that Christians are nonexempt from the duty of being vigilant and on the alert and constantly ready. Another way He put it was to gird up your mind, which means don’t move through life with loose thoughts that are lazily moved by just impulse and passions, drifting this way and that way as the occasion dictates. Instead, the girded mind means the mind is made up and has decisive thoughts and made decisions already. It knows the direction that the life should take.

So the sober mind is a calm and steady mind. It is a sensible mind and a balanced mind. A spiritually balanced Christian can maintain self-control and spiritual sanity. A sane person looks like they see things in their proper order. They see what things are important and what are not important. They are not swept away by sudden and passing enthusiasts. They are not prone to unbalanced fanaticism.

They know in what they believe and who they believe. They see affairs of this life in light of eternity and their eyes are fixed on the goal. They give the Lord Jesus proper place in all things and have a heart fixed on God. They have minds un-intoxicated with the structures of this world. They know that they are in Christ and they know where they are heading and what to do while on this Earth heading towards Heaven. They are watchful and aware. They are self-controlled. It is very difficult to convince the person who is self-controlled to do other than what they already decided to do.

Jesus said a thing that with watchfulness comes prayerfulness. Keep praying that you do not come into temptation. The Spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. Self-control is the discipline to be able to restrain one’s desires and follow through on doing what is right, even when it is difficult. Of course another thing is mentioned in 2 Peter that goes along with that that Jesus didn’t mention. Not only we are to be watchful and prayerful, but we are to take the way of escape. It says in 2 Peter 1:4:

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.

It means to flee, get out of the area and run. Self-control or somebody who is holding themself in, is specifically related to the matters of sex and greed. The false teachers in 2 Peter seem to focus on those. The Bible’s best advice in dealing with all kinds of temptation is to run from it. Put as much distance between you and the source of temptation as possible. Don’t feed it or allow it to get a control of your imagination where you’re thinking about it. Paul says this in 1 Timothy 6:10-11:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance ;and ;gentleness.

He always says that if you’re going to flee from something to pursue something else. Who is not tempted with having more wealth or being comfortable? Nobody can get away from temptations because as soon as those things that you desire start to be taken away, you ask what is going on here. He says to flee these things and pursue righteousness and godliness and faith and love and perseverance and gentleness. It is the same kind of list that the Apostles use everywhere. A Christian should already know to take a certain road.

Lingering in the vicinity of power and temptation and sin is foolishness. Don’t act the fool. The Apostle Peter used the same word to describe those who barely escape from becoming slaves of the lust of human society. If you look in 2 Peter 2:18 it says:

For speaking out arrogant ;words ;of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error.

Obviously when I get there I’ll explain that a little bit more, but who are those who barely escape? The example in Scripture is Lot. He lived in Sodom, where there was pollution, pornography, sexual perversion, homosexuality, etc. It was part of an acceptable lifestyle in that city. He lived among fearful corruption and Lot did not flee. But God rescued him. If you look at 2 Peter 2:7-8 it says this:

And ;if ;He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard ;that ;righteous man, while living among them, felt ;his ;righteous soul tormented day after day by ;their ;lawless deeds).

You might ask Lot why didn’t he leave! Abraham rescued him once, so why did he go back? There’s no reason for us to be tormented by lawlessness and corruption. We can actually do something about it and Lot of course did not remain uncontaminated because he ended up drunk and dishonored on a hill overlooking the smoldering ruins of the city where he had made his home and raised his family.

Self-control over anger, hatred, anxiety, negativity, selfishness, and a multitude of other sins. This is part of the old nature and believers have the control to live out the nature of God and not live out the corrupt life that this present evil world offers. A Christian’s participation in the divine nature gives believers a new ability to resist sin through union with Christ in the indwelling Spirit in which the desire of the flesh is weakened and the desire to obey the Spirit of God is strengthened to which they desire to live a holy life in the patterns of their lifestyle.

In other words, we resist and flee the temptation and God rescues us from the temptation. Look at 2 Peter 2:9:

Then ;the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.

That’s how God cooperates with us when we are resisting the sin and resisting the temptation. He comes in and rescues us. That’s the promise that we have as believers that we are to add to our faith self-control. So are you in control? Or are you still guided by your passions and desires? You should have new ones that are stronger than the old ones because God has given you everything you need to participate in life and godliness.

If I ask a teenager how they know when they fled from temptation, they might say when the world is their goal and their friends are their masters. When you are in school and your classmates are living as close to the world as possible in their attitudes and music, you say in your heart that all of your friends are doing it so you should too. You’re saying that you have given up your goal and want to be spiritually asleep. At that point of thinking, it becomes apparent that the world’s corruption is your goal and your friends are your masters.

Peter is saying to those learning to follow Christ to begin to control yourself and say no to ungodly passions. Do what is right and increase in your knowledge of God for your own salvation’s sake, begin to control yourself in all areas of your life. You may have to ask the Holy Spirit today to reveal to you characteristics of the culture that He wants out of your life. Old default sins that you quickly go to. Whatever it may be, He wants out of your life.

Now you have all the knowledge in Christ and all the power from Heaven to not do that anymore. You have to pledge your life to conform it to Christ and not to the culture and not to your own sinful ways. Look at the positives and the transformations that God has actually done in your life. You should be able to say that you are not the person you used to be. It’s not having willpower or turning over a new leaf, but it’s God giving you a new nature and you cooperating with what God is doing in your life using His power and your effort to make you like Christ.

You can praise the Lord for that and know that if you continue on that path, you will not be at all unsure of your election or unproductive in your Christian life or spiritually short sighted. You will not fall on your face spiritually and you will know that you’re going to enter into the Kingdom of God someday.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again. Lord, Your Word is awesome. What it reveals about us is so detailed and so clear. Thank You that this passage of Scripture is there for us, for our learning and edification. We ask You today to help us be honest with ourselves, that if there’s anything in our life that remains an issue, whether it be sinful or not, that we would by the control You’ve given us and the power of the Spirit, we would put it out of our lives. And that we would practice that every day until it is gone. We pray that Your passions become our passions and Your desires would become our desires. I pray this in the precious, holy Name of Christ.