After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
In a previous article, I showed how 2 Peter 1 teaches us what the Christian faith is. And in this article, I want to show you what God’s Word promises to those who have this Christian faith.
What Does God Promise to Those Who Have This Faith?
Participation in The Divine Nature
He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
What does that mean? How can you participate in the divine nature? Either you would somehow have to enter God, which the Bible never suggests happens. Or God would somehow have to enter you. The Bible clearly teaches that when a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit enters the life of that person.
When Peter says “you may participate in the divine nature” (v.4), he is talking about our union with Christ. This is the same thing the Apostle Paul is speaking of when he says: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Our Lord puts it in a picture “I am the vine you are the branches. If a man remains in me he will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). These are all different ways of talking about a shared life.
Many of us think that we have all that God has to offer, but all we really have is forgiveness for the past, heaven for the future, and a great void in between. I want you to remember what Peter wrote: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
The gospel is more than forgiveness and heaven. It is God’s power and presence in your life today.
When we are in heaven we will see Jesus in all of his glory. We will say “I knew he was great, but not this great! And to think the he was with us all the time on earth! Why didn’t we have more faith?”
Escape from Corruption in The World
He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may… escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:4).
What’s wrong with the world? Where does the corruption in the world come from? What would need to change if we are to have a world of freedom and justice and love and joy?
There are many answers to these questions. Some people will tell you that the corruption in the world comes from lack of education, lack of opportunity, or lack of resources. The Apostles would not agree with that.
Peter says the corruption in the world is caused by evil desires. That’s why you find corruption in people who have education, opportunity, and resources, as well as those who don’t.
What evil desires are we talking about? Envy, greed, lust, pride, and laziness—to name just a few. These desires are in us, and they corrupt us.
Do you ever find yourself overcome by moods, and you say to yourself, “Where did that come from? Why was I like that?” Do you ever find yourself looking at another person—at what they have, and their success? It eats away at you and you say, “Why is my life not like that?”
You don’t want to be like that, but you can’t seem to help it. There’s something going on inside you. It spoils you. It corrupts you, but you can’t get free from it.
Understand your position
What does Peter mean when he says we can “escape” the corruption in the world? I am a Christian, but I have an ongoing battle with lust or greed or pride or envy. What do you mean escape? I struggle with evil desires all the time!
Some of you may have seen the film, The Fugitive. A doctor is framed for the murder, and sentenced to jail. While they are moving him to a penitentiary there is an accident. The bus rolls off the road, and in the chaos that follows, the character escapes. He becomes “the fugitive.”
He hits the road with a mission: to find the truth and to establish justice. And he moves from place to place, constantly in danger of being apprehended. This man finds himself in a great struggle. He is relentlessly pursued. It seems like the whole world is against him, but he is not in chains. He is free.
That’s your position as a Christian believer. Understand your position and it will make sense of your experience: I am the fugitive. I have been released from captivity to sin and darkness by the power of Jesus Christ. I’ve escaped.
But sin and temptation are pursuing me. Satan, who once held me captive, is always after me. He is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Satan wants to get you back in chains, but God is with you and He will protect you. Sin is your enemy, but it is no longer your master (Rom. 6:14).
You are in for a life-long struggle against sin, but you are not in chains. You are not a captive. Instead, you have escaped! You can move and you can act! And this freedom is God’s gift to you in the gospel.
Hear God’s Promise
I want to speak to Christians who feel defeated. I want you to hear this promise: By his power, and through Jesus Christ, God’s promise to you in the Gospel is that you should escape the corruption caused by evil desires. Sin shall no longer be your master.
You will not escape the battle with evil desires. But if you are in Christ, you have escaped their power over you. Stop telling yourself you are in chains when God has set you free.
I thank God for this promise. A gospel that offers forgiveness but not power isn’t big enough for life. Many people have heard a gospel that is about forgiveness for the past and heaven for the future, but it says nothing about God’s power to change your life now.
That’s why there are many who attend church and profess faith, but never grow. They remain stuck in the same failures, gripped by the same fears, trapped in the same despair.
Peter tells us about a faith that is big enough for life. He tells us about God’s power that gives us everything we need for life and godliness. That power will come into our life through Jesus Christ who calls us by his own glory and goodness.
And here is his promise: His Spirit will live in you, giving you new power, new desire, and new capacity, so that you will escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires!
Sin shall no longer be your master!