Reminder of the basics
There is no end to the amount of ministry that one can do. People will always be people therefore they will always have issues regarding sin, trials, temptations, uncertainties, selfishness, and any number of other things. One of my jobs as Pastor is to be a reminder-er. That is, to remind people of what Christ has done, of whom Christ is, of who they are, and of what they ought to be. This can be overwhelming. There is always someone who needs to be reminded about something. The apostle Peter understood this. In 2 Peter 1 Peter says, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” In his mind he knew that it was his responsibility to continually remind those he was Pastor over of the basics of our faith.
We as people have this desire to move on from the simple to the complex. We bring this desire with us when we become Christians. So often times we forget the basic principals of our faith and trade them for some “deeper truth”. This is not only unhelpful but has been the cause of many church splits and cults though out the centuries. Peter shares what some of these basic principals are that we need to be reminded about. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:2-4.
He reminds us first that when we are in Jesus we have grace and peace. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. We do not deserve everything that pertains to life and godliness but that is what God gives to us when we become Christians. We deserve to be judged for our rejection and rebellion against God’s holy law. Grace, instead of giving us what we deserve, gives us what we could never earn, namely the salvation and preservation of our lives. This brings us peace. I have seen and heard a lot about the desire for peace from people in my life. For the most part this that people think of is simply peace to do what ever they wanted with out the fear of repercussions for their actions. It is not just a peace from war and fighting although that is certainly part of it. It is that peace the says “Don’t tread on Me!” This is not real peace though. In my freedom I could do something that would infringe upon your peace or vice versa, and then who is right? Is my peace more right or important that of anyone else? Hopefully you see the problem. The peace that God gives is the peace that all of the wrong that I have ever done, am doing right now, or will ever do is forgiven and forgotten and that I will never be judged for it. That is real peace.
Secondly, Peter reminds us of something that I have already touched on, and that is that God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. What this means is that everything that we need to live a holy and righteous life has been provided for us and we are free to live as such. I can choose to not sin now as a Christian. I can do this because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This new life has in it the power to live in a God glorifying way. Roman 6:6-7 says “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Because we died with Christ we have been freed from the power of sin, we need to now live appropriately. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14). So the reminder that Peter gives us, that we can live a life of godliness because of God’s provision, is one that I need to continually remind myself and those to whom God has called me to Pastor.
Thirdly, we are reminded by Peter that we have the exceedingly precious promises of becoming like Christ. These promises were given by God to encourage me to continue to on in my Christian walk because one day I will be conformed to the image of Jesus. What does that mean? In 1 John 3 we find some helpful information about what we will be like when we are like Christ. “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” So when we see Jesus upon death or being received up into glory we will become as much like the incarnate deity as is possible. As much as it is possible for me to be like Jesus in all of His perfection that is what I will be like. This is an exciting promise that motivates me to live as much like that now as I can. Notice what John says at the end of the verse. The hope of future glorification purifies your actions now knowing that we will one day be as pure as we can possibly be.
These are some of the basic, fundamental truths that I need to remind myself and those whom I pastor of often. In fact, grace, peace, the power to not sin, and the promise of glory are all so basic that we take them for granted as Christians. Therefore I must be all the more diligent to remind others, and myself, that these are so true that we do not have a basis for any other truth apart form these in our lives. So think on one of these today. Maybe make it a study for the week. Then move on to one of the other ones. Continually go back to the refreshing waters of the basic principals of our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God.
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