Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Fruit of Our Faith


2 Peter 1:3-9 (New International Version)
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.


5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For 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. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

These inspiring words from 2 Peter tell us that faith is a foundation to be built upon, step by step, leading us ultimately and unbelievably, to participate in the divine nature (verse 4.)

If we don't build incrementally upon the foundation of our faith, Peter tells us that we will be ineffective, unproductive and nearsighted, forgetting that we have been cleansed from past sins.

In other words, although we may have responded to God initially in faith, we are like stunted trees, weak and sickly.

Peter's words in verse 3 arrest me! "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness." And in verse 4, "He has given us his very great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in the divine nature."

The key is that none of it is our doing and yet there is something to be done.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (New International Version)
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Faith

goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness

Love

Faith is the beginning, and the end is love. Love is the divine nature, the fruit of our faith.
2 Peter 3:18 (New International Version)
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen

4 comments:

Marilyn said...

"If we don't build incrementally...."

I wish to add that as long as we are living, we never run out of building to do.

Susan said...

Powerful truth. I'm printing this one off and taking it with me.

Joanna Mallory said...

Wow, Belinda, I'm reading Mark Buchanan's Hidden in Plain Sight and the whole book hinges on 2 Peter 1:1-9.

On page 28 he links it to Psalm 1 and says, "Faith erodes when we walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. It deteriorates in the company of the indolent."

Then he talks about that tension between God giving us all we need and us having to work at it.

I love the way he combines lyrical prose with practical wisdom.

Belinda said...

Joanna, that is incredible because I chose the verses from Jeremiah about the tree by the water, but I also love Psalm 1, and thought of, but did not use, verse 3: "They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither and in all they do, they prosper."

Thank you for sharing the parallels with Mark Buchannan's insights. That is so cool.