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Lesson 3: Grace That Sanctifies

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.

– St. Augustine

Devotion: Read 2 Peter 1:1-11. Our Creator has given us everything we need (knowledge of God, calling, promises) to live as faithful people. Of course, a decision to follow Jesus does not instantly grant us mature faith. We must grow in goodness, knowledge, self-control, etc. Becoming like Jesus is a process that takes our entire lives. We must make every effort to possess these qualities in increasing measure. Too many Christians think faith is a possession—either you have it or you do not. The reality is we must work to grow our faith by seeking and nurturing goodness, knowledge, self-control, etc. Christians must not settle for half-hearted efforts, but, at the same time, we must be patient with ourselves and others along the way. What have been the high and low points on your spiritual journey? When have you grown the most spiritually? What role have mentors and friends played? How can we best encourage one another on our journeys?

Personal Worship Option: Read Hebrews 11:6. Because Christian faith is a journey, we must continually seek God. Of course, a journey takes us to places we have never been before. Which of the following spiritual practices have you never used: journaling, walking prayer, sitting in silence, fasting, meditating on a single verse, and writing out a prayer, breath prayer, and confession to a trusted friend or pastor. Include one of these practices in your life today.

Dig A Little Deeper:

1:1 This is one of eight times in scripture where Jesus is referred to as “God” (Jn 1:1, 20:28; Rom 9:5; 2 Thess 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 1 Jn 5:20). The writer refers to Jesus as “Savior” five times in 2 Peter. Except here, each time the title “Savior” is paired with “Lord.”

The writer’s emphasis on having a faith which is shared with the readers lays a foundation for his later concerns regarding false teachers. Read 2 Peter 2 to gain insight into the church which he addresses.

1:4 Although other passages allude to the idea, this is the only place in scripture that clearly states that through Jesus we “may become participants of the divine nature” (1 Jn 1:3; Jn 15:4, 17:22-23).  This language is borrowed from Greek philosophy. What are the implications of this idea?

1:5 Roman authors often use this ladder writing style. Starting with one virtue, that virtue provides the basis for the next, and that one is the ground for the next, and so on (Rom 5:3-5). The “climax” (the Greek literary term) of this progression is considered the greatest virtue, in this case, love. Can you see a connection between “faith” and “goodness,” ”goodness” and “knowledge,” and so forth?

1:8 The nature of spiritual growth as journey rather than achievement is assumed here. What happens when we think we have arrived and stop growing? Is it possible to maintain virtue or do we begin to diminish in virtue when we stop growing?

1:9 Where 1:8 provides positive incentive for growth, this verse offers the negative incentive.

1:11 Like the use of “God” for Jesus (see note on 1:1), this is one of only two scriptures that refer to the reign/kingdom of God as the “reign/kingdom of Christ” (Eph 5:5).

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