Sunday, July 26

Who’s trying? 

Scripture: Isaiah 50-52, Psalm 92, 2 Peter 1

2 Peter 1:8–9 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

Observation

Peter starts by telling us that God has given everything we need to live a godly life through our knowledge of Him (v. 3-4).  God’s part.

Then he says, “In view of this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises, and add moral excellence to your faith ( and so on)… (v. 5-7).  My part.

When I add my part to God’s part, I grow and become “more productive and useful.”  When I fail to add my part to God’s part, I regress, become shortsighted or blind and forget that I’ve been cleansed from my sins.

Application

God’s part.  My part.  

It’s a relationship.  God initiates and provides all we need.  But He expects us to respond and add our effort if we want to grow.  I don’t add my effort to be saved or accepted by God—He’s taken care of that.  It is finished in Jesus.  But if I want to grow spiritually, if I want to be productive and useful, then I must respond to God’s grace and “make every effort” to add the named qualities to my life.  

Theologian Martin Marty wrote this: One critic said he had gone to many churches and heard the preacher say, “Don’t try to impress God with your works” or “Don’t attempt to please God with your merits” or “Don’t try to keep the rules and regulations and thus win your way.” He looked around at nearly slumbering collections of utterly casual Christians and wondered, “Who’s trying?” 

Indeed.

The preacher was right that we don’t impress or please God with our good deeds or win our salvation.  We can’t do it.  He has already done it.  The gospel is spelled DONE, not DO.  It’s about what God has done for us in Christ, not what we do for God.

But if you want to grow and be productive and useful, you must “make every effort.”  You must try.  You must respond to God’s gracious initiative and gifts.

Let’s not be those slumbering and utterly casual Christians who aren’t trying.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing everything we need.  Help us to give our very best in return.  I want to be productive and useful!