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Bible Pathways 12/19/2001

December 19

Read 2 Peter 1 -- 3

This second letter begins with one significant thought that rises far above that of gloom, persecution, and death. Peter wrote that God, by His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3). Peter's key thought is that a life of godliness is made possible only by the divine power of God. Godliness does not depend upon our own ability or wisdom, but upon the determination of our hearts. However, godliness can only be attained by appropriating the exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature (1:4).

God is Holy and He has made godliness (holiness, sanctification) the moral condition necessary for the health of His Body the Church. Whatever is holy is healthy; sin is a moral sickness that must ultimately end in death. Since the first concern of God is for His children's moral and spiritual health, whatever is contrary to this in their lives necessarily brings about His discipline and correction. His holiness and His wrath against sin are inseparable.

The Word of God is the source from which all spiritual blessings come to us. And, Peter warns that the unlearned and unstable wrest (distort) . . . Scriptures, to their own destruction. We must grow daily through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that we might not be led away with the error of the wicked (3:16-18).

The ultimate goal and true fulfillment for the Christian is living above temptation, deception, and sin. Peter reveals how that ideal becomes a reality: Forasmuch as you know that you were . . . redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ. . . . Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the Truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again . . . by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The Christian life begins with the new birth, when Christ becomes the personal Savior and Lord of our lives. One test of the genuineness of our conversion is our attitude toward other Christians who may not believe and worship exactly as we do (Ephesians 4:29-32). Let us adore the Prince of Life, the Living One, the glorious Son of God, who prayed that they also may be one in Us. . . . that the love wherewith you have loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:21).

We become the answer to our Lord's prayer to the degree that we purify our souls in obeying the Truth. Put off concerning the former conversation (behavior) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Cross Reference:

For 2 Peter 2:22: See Proverbs 26:11.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Rob Portman (OH) and Rep. Lynn Rivers (MI) · BPM Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Pray for Claudia Wintoch, German translator · Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and Italian · No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted · 98% Muslim; 2% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for help when you have a need (2 Chronicles 14:11).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:7-8

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