There's a phrase that conjures up a life that's care-free, at peace, and enjoyable. Sometimes people say they're "just livin' the life." The idea is that I'm just living this unbelievably sought-after life. Of course, that's a fantasy for the most part, unless you understand what life is really about.
What is the meaning of life? It's surely not summed up in the pursuit of things or survival of the fittest, nor is it summed up in being religious or spiritual. The goal of life is not merely going to Heaven when you die. Life is about knowing God, being like God, and having meaning and purpose in God; His purpose becomes your purpose.
Think about even this simple greeting from Peter: "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1). Peter knew that life is more than what we do or what happens here. He also knew that life is not something you discover or gain as a reward for being religious or doing good things. Life is something you obtain because God gives it to you. That's why he says we have obtained faith - it's a gift given to us. We have obtained it, says Peter, "by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." It wasn't our righteousness but Christ's; we obtained it, not because of something in us or something we did, but because of something in Christ and something He did.
There is no small debate concerning the meaning of righteousness. But even a cursory walk through the Bible gives us the notions of justice, goodness, moral perfection, holiness, etc. It's the opposite of what we are as human beings apart from God. The righteousness of Christ refers to who He is in His infinite perfections, how He lived in His sinless, earthly existence, and what He did in His perfect work on the cross. His cross-work (dying in the place of guilty sinners so they wouldn't die) is what brings righteousness (right standing) before God to those who trust in Christ and His righteousness.
Now, it's the righteousness, or perfect justice, goodness, moral character, and holiness of Christ that has obtained salvation for us. It's Christ who is "our God and Savior;" He is the true and living God, King over all, Lord of our hearts, and the one who has saved us from the wrath to come. It's God's righteousness in Christ that has delivered us from death.
Life is more than deliverance from death as well. It's knowing God who Himself is life. That's why Peter gladly said he was "a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ." God had called him powerfully unto Himself and into His service. As a bondservant he was held captive by God's grace and as an apostle he was sent by Christ to serve others in His name.
What does that have to do with us? Peter wrote his second letter "to those who have obtained like precious faith with us." The faith that his recipients had is the same faith you have because it's the same faith Peter had. We have obtained "like . . . faith" with him (and the other apostles). It's faith in Christ for salvation from sin, Satan, and death (God's wrath) that we have if we know Him.
That "like . . . faith" we have with Peter is also precious. Why is faith precious? It's precious because you can't obtain it on your own; you can't work for it, earn it, or discover it. You don't even deserve it. It's precious because it's valuable unto life and it's relatively rare as few obtain it. More than that, it's costly; in fact, it's infinitely costly. It cost God the death of His perfect Son. Saving faith is precious because it came "by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." Now, we too are held captive by grace and sent by God.
So, think big picture. Your God-given-by-the-righteousness-of-Christ-apostle-like-precious-faith avails for you, clothes you, and compels you to be confident in every endeavor for the promotion of God and His ways in your world. It's your purpose; your reason to be. So, the next time someone asks you how you're doing, you can truly say, "Just livin' the life!"
Dr. Paul Dean invites you to discover more about yourself, God, and others . . . and develop a Christian worldview. Dr. Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. Receive a FREE commentary and learn more at http://www.trueworldview.com
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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