Some of my favorite biblical passages are the ones that capture the “both/and” of the gospel message; that is, they highlight the fact that everything that matters in our faith comes to us completely undeserved as a gift of God’s grace — AND — they make it clear that we are called to respond to his grace by working diligently to obey God’s will and grow in Christlikeness. The short list of these “both/and” passages include…
- Ephesians 2:8-10 (“For it is by grace you have been saved” — AND — “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works”);
- Philippians 2:12-13 (“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” — AND — “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose”);
- And the passage that takes center stage into today’s New Testament lesson:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet. 1:3)
Just think; while we so often struggle with letting go of sinful habits and growing in the fruit of the Spirit, the plain truth of scripture declares that God has already given us everything that we need for a godly life! The gift is given; all that we need to do — in fact, all that we can do — is to receive it. AND — because we’ve been given this gift, Peter goes on to say:
For this very reason (emphasis added), make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1:5-8)
It is precisely because we are the recipients of such undeserved favor that we respond to God by using His gift in the way that it was intended. We “make every effort” to do the good works for which we were created, constantly rejoicing in the fact that God is the one who’s working in us to make those works possible.
What steps of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love might the Lord want us to take this week — AND — what matchless grace will He provide to make those steps possible?
May it be our desire and our delight today to receive the gift that keeps on calling.