Speaking of Life
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Jesus Christ is not merely a great role model or a great moral teacher who pointed us down the right road. He’s our all in all, our everything, the beginning and the end – the goal of our faith and our lives.
It’s interesting to take note of the admonition the apostle Peter gives in the conclusion of his second letter.
He didn’t tell us to stop sinning. There wouldn’t be much point to that, since we don’t have it in us to stop sinning. Yes, that might be hard to admit, but if we’re really honest with ourselves, we know it’s true. Certainly, the more we walk with Jesus, the more we come to love what is good and lose our fascination with what is not. But we never reach the perfection of Christ in this life. In fact, the closer we are to Jesus, it seems the more we realize what a sinner we are.
No, Peter didn’t tell us to stop sinning – he told us to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Christ.” And then he told us how. Not by our willpower or by our efforts to be righteous, but by growing.
In 2 Peter 3:13-18 he tells us to grow in two specific things: the grace of Christ and the knowledge of Christ.
“…In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him… be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
We grow in grace by trusting God to be who he says he is for us. He’s our advocate who testifies on our behalf. He’s our defense attorney who believes in our value and worth. He’s our Judge who pronounces us not guilty. He’s our therapist, our trainer and our coach who helps us learn to live rightly. He’s our substitute, who takes all the negative consequences of our broken lives onto himself. And he’s our representative, who gives us his reputation as though it were our own. All this he does knowing fully well that we’re as guilty as sin.
In Christ, we are and always will be the beloved children of our Father in heaven. All he asks is that we grow in grace and get to know him better. We grow in grace as we learn to trust him to be our all in all, and we grow in knowledge of him as we follow him and spend time with him.
And there’s more. God not only forgives us, he transforms us. He makes us new, cleaning us from the inside out. As we learn to rest in his grace, we come to know him better. And the better we know him, the more we sense the freedom to rest in his grace.
It’s not about what we do; it’s about what Jesus has already done – and continues to do – for us, in us and through us.
I'm Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.