Read 2 Peter 1: 5-11
General idea: We are called to know Christ better and to practice moral excellence. But before moral excellence can happen, our hearts and minds must be lined up with God; and before we can do this, we have to know Him. Character and Fruit are only exhibited when we are communing with Him¾not when we are negating or neglecting Him. The more we know God, the more we know His call, and the more we will have the desire and ability to grow in and apply it. Then we grow more in character, as the knowing and practicing also helps us to be built up in Christ. But, beware when we are myopic in our outlook on life; not seeing Christ or applying Him in our lives will cause us to fail at what is important, which is virtue and character!
We are called to grow in Him! Why? Because when we receive a faith and salvation that we do not deserve or earn, we consequently respond with gratitude for what He has given, and we will even desire more. But to be so, we need Christ's empowerment. This will come from knowing Him, growing in Him, and then having the desire for more.
Look over these key words and ask how do they relate to you?
- Does not have them/lacks these qualities refers to not exercising our faith perhaps not even having saving faith. If there is no fruit from a person claiming to be a Christian, the odds are he or she is not one, but rather is a pretender (1 Pet. 4: 1-11).
- Nearsighted/…blind. This refers to having faulty vision. You do not "squint" to see better, or for us today, use no glasses to see better. This can also mean to have good sight and yet refuse to use it, or only see what we want to see as in myopic. This is a failure on our part to either utilize His call or seek to understand and apply His precepts (Isa. 42:19; John 9:39-41; 2 Cor. 4:4).
- Cleansed is a Jewish depiction of being purified by getting rid of moral corruption and anything else that defiles us before God. For us, it means staying in our sinful ways or "the flesh" and ignoring our new life and responsibility (2 Pet. 2:20).
- Calling, in Judaism, referred to being close to God.
- Make your calling/ election sure. God calls us. We do not call on Him for our salvation. We receive it only as an act of undeserving grace that we cannot get on our own by merit or birthright. Now that we are transformed, we are called to show it and grow in it (Rom. 12). The Spirit gives us testimony and empowers ours; we are then to persevere in our faith. This is our assurance of salvation; what we have done with what He has given is the evidence of who we are in Christ (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:4-6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 3:10-14).
- If you do these things refers to practicing what God gives, as God gives us salvation and eternal life that we continue in. Doing our Christian life is not sitting and doing nothing or only what we can get away with. Practice preserves and grows our faith and then produces fruit, character, and virtue (Matt. 10:22; 24:12-13; Gal. 5:6, 22-23; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 3:6).
We are called to emulate Christian virtues! We are also duty-bound to be diligent to take and receive them, not for our salvation but to grow in life and ministry. These benefits, which are the Fruits of the Spirit, God's love and working in us, need to be known and then applied to be effective and real to us and those around us. If we know them and then do nothing with them, they are as useless as having health insurance but when you are sick not using it. The same is true with trying to apply a Fruit without understanding what it is and how it is to be used. We would be having an imitation or a skewed and perhaps even rotten fruit as His marvelous fruit goes unnoticed and unused. It is like never filling out the forms and starting the benefits. Not knowing God's precepts means we will not be able to apply, because what we may be applying is not of Him!
Do not be shortsighted concerning your faith and the opportunities Christ has and will still bring. If we do not have a desire to pursue the will of God, we have to ask ourselves why and what is in the way. Most, if not all of the time, it is the desire of sin that blocks us. Sometimes we may not recognize sin and perhaps rationalize it away. This happens especially when it is dumbed down and shown as OK in the media and entertainment, which are at our disposal. Our election is proven by our obedience and growth in Christ!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1. Why do so many Christians see their faith as "on hold" until when it may be needed, and/or doing nothing or just what they can get away with?
2. How would you describe moral excellence? Can you give an example of it? Is it something that just happened? Why, or why not?
3. What does it take for you to have a greater desire and ability to grow, practice, and apply your faith?
4. What happens when we are myopic (narrow minded) in our outlook on life?
5. Why is love the essential, quintessential fruit of the Christian life? How would you define it? How do you know when it is real?
6. What does it mean that God supplements and multiplies our faith? How has He done multiplied your faith recently? How can He do multiply you faith?
7. How do we acquire Virtue and Character?
8. What are you going to do about the abilities and promises He has for you?
9. Has shortsightedness or a refusal to be prepared affected you in any area of your life? What can you do to make sure you do not become shortsighted?
10. If we want a productive and purposeful Christian life, we have to get it in us first. How can this be so in you and your church?
11. How does the practice of Character build much heartier and healthy relationships with others? Can you think of a specific area in your life where one of the virtues that are listed needs to be more manifested? If so, how can you make this so?
12. What are you going to do for more character and Fruit to be exhibited in you? What can your church do to help?
© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/