Faith that Changes Us

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Faith that Changes Us

Riverside Indonesian Fellowship
Published by Stanley Pouw in 2010 · 17 October 2010

Let us look together tonight at two verses in the Bible that are very very important. 2 Peter 1:3‐4. "Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence, 4 for by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."

Life in general, even for those of us who are true Christians, is not easy. None of us escapes the troubles of life in these sinful bodies, living on this fallen planet. Temptation, sin, failure, disappointment, rejection frustration, weakness, pain, sorrow, loneliness, fear, anxiety, alienation, all of that comes to all of us in varying forms.

Where do we find resources to deal with that effectively and in fact, to deal with it triumphantly? Where do we go to solve the issues of life? Can we turn to God? Does He care? Does He love us enough to dispense some supernatural help?

Some people just think that God is some Being who made everything but after that really doesn't care that much. Is that true? Or does God care and does God love us and has God given us resources to deal with the issues of life?

Even if we know God, has God just given us a small dose of supernatural grace barely enough to squeak by? Maybe enough to save us but not enough to sanctify us or maybe enough to save us and sanctify us but not enough to glorify us. I mean, if we come to God through Christ, are we really sufficient enough to cope with everything or is there more?

Well let's look at the Scripture, for a minute, just listen to these and see what you conclude. In Exodus 34:6 God gives a first person assessment of His character, this is what He says, "I am compassionate, I am gracious, and I am abounding in loving kindness."

In Lamentations 3:22‐23 it says, "The Lord's loving kindness indeed never ceases, His compassions never fail, they are new every morning, small is Thy faithfulness." Is that what it says? Not in my Bible, it says what? "Great is Thy faithfulness."

Psalm 42:8 says, "The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me." And then the psalmist says, "O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness." He provides what we need in the day, He provides what we need in the night and we ought to praise Him for it.

Scripture says that God is very generous. In fact, in all the issues of life it says He is great, plentiful, tender, abundant above the heavens and from everlasting to everlasting, His grace is as far as the heaven is above the earth, that's how great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.

In John 1:16 it says, "For of His fullness have all we received." When we received Christ we didn't get part, we got fullness. Jesus said in John 10:10, "I am come that you might have life and have a little bit of it." Is that what He said? No. He said, "I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly."

Listen to this statement in the middle of 1 Corinthians 3:21, "For all things belong to you." Who did Paul talk to? To believers. You say, "Yeah, but that's certain kind of believers." No, that was written to the Corinthians who probably were on the lowest rung of the ladder, very sinful people in many ways. They had come to Christ but they hadn't really been obedient in many areas. And nevertheless he says, "All things belong to you."

And then here's the most important part in verse 23, "And you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God." Wow! We're all wrapped up in whatever God and Christ possess, we possess. We possess the world, God made it for us. We possess life, spiritual, eternal life in Christ. We possess death, to die is gain for us (Philippians 1:21).

We possess things present, that encompasses every element in life, everything we experience, the good, the bad, the pleasant, the painful, the joys, the disappointments, health, sickness, God gave it all to us to work together for our good.

No wonder back in 1 Corinthians 2:9 Paul wrote, "That eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and it hasn't even entered the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him."

2 Corinthians 9: 8 brings this to focus. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you that always having all sufficiency in everything you may have abundance for every good deed."

Do you have all you need? Yes you do, you have more than you need. You have all grace, super‐abounding overflowing so that you are always completely sufficient for everything and you have an abundance for every good deed.

Listen to the words of Solomon who was wiser than a lot of people in this world. In Ecclesiastes 3:14 he said this, "Here's something I know, I know this, that everything God does will remain forever and there's nothing to add to it and there's nothing to take from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him."

"Well why do so many people doubt that?" Well one reason people doubt it is because they're not really saved, they don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ so they are insufficient, they just think they're saved. Another reason people doubt it is because they're ignorant. They don't know what they have.

Another reason some people don't experience it is even though they're truly saved and they are sufficient and even though they may be well taught and know they're sufficient, they're not walking uprightly. And so the resources are there but not available. But for the true Christian and the obedient Christian, there is complete sufficiency.

If God gave us the most, the sacrifice of His own Son, how could we imagine that He would hold back the least of the good things which the death of His Son purchased? Does that make sense? If God gave us the most, He wouldn't hold back the least.

Salvation isn't a stingy gift. In Matthew 22:4 Jesus likens salvation to a wedding feast. And the reason He used a wedding feast was because it was a wedding feast when everything was done abundantly. When you were saved it was like God treating you abundantly similar to what a person would do at a wedding feast.

All of that leads us to verse 3, "Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness." As Peter introduces this marvelous letter he is talking about our salvation. Being sure of our salvation is the first place to take your stand against false teachers and false teachers are his main theme.

But he starts out talking about our salvation which is where we take our stand against false teaching. He's already talked about the source of our salvation in verse 1. He's talked about the substance of our salvation in verse 2.

And now he's talking about the sufficiency of our salvation in verses 3 and 4, and it is, frankly, one of the greatest statements in all the pages of Scripture. So let's talk about the sufficiency of our salvation.

The first word I want you to think about is the word "power" at the beginning of verse 3. "Seeing that His divine power..." Now power is the source of our sufficiency. Whatever sufficiency has been given to us is because of supernatural energy, not because of our power, not because of anything we did, not natural power, not human power but divine power.

Paul said it this way in Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think according to the power that works in us." What power? The power that raised Jesus from the dead, resurrection power operates in us and we can do what we can't even think, we can't even speak.

Beloved, the Christian can never experience a power failure. Did you hear that? You can get unplugged, and you can turn the switch off, but the power never fails. It's always there. The moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ, divine power is granted to us, to all Christians.

The second word I want you to focus on is "provision." What has His power granted? He has granted to us, here it is, everything pertaining to life and godliness. Absolutely unbelievable statement...apart from the fact that it's in the Word of God.

None of us if we looked at or practical lives would assume that we have everything necessary to life and godliness because we stumble and fumble around so much. But here it is. The word "everything" is emphatic because what Peter is emphasizing is full sufficiency.

We have new life in Christ and everything related to sustaining that life we have. That's why we have to believe that a Christian is eternally secure. Why? Because you have everything that pertains to that life. That's why we believe that a Christian will permanently persevere.

And then he adds, "and godliness." Everything you need to be godly you have. That beautiful word eusebeia means true reverence, reverence in worship and active obedience. Everything you need to be a reverent pious and holy person, you have.

How do you get this? What he is saying here is that you have to know Christ. Not a superficial knowledge, not some kind of surface awareness of the facts that Jesus lived and died and rose again. Not some shallow understanding of Jesus as a good teacher. No, you have to know Him intimately.

Like in the Old Testament when it says in Genesis 4:17, "Cain knew his wife and she bore a child." That's a deep knowing. Joseph was surprised when Mary was pregnant because he hadn't known her. That means intimate sexual contact. It's talking about intimacy. And when it says that we receive it through the knowledge of Him, it means we need an intimate relationship with Christ by faith, by truly knowing Christ intimately.

When I understand that Jesus lived and died as God in human flesh, that He died for my sin, that He rose again, that He is Lord of all and I come to Him and say, "I believe in You, I turn from my sin and I give You my life to follow You in obedience as my Lord," that brings one into a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. And in that true knowledge the power comes and the provision is granted.

But there's more here. John 16 says the Holy Spirit begins to convict you of sin, you see your sin. And then I believe the power of Satan is broken and you begin to see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's God drawing you.

What about my part that I have to do? Look at verse 3 again. The true knowledge starts when we are called, but notice that call becomes effective toward us by His own glory and excellence. God calls but that calling is revealed when we are drawn by the glory of Christ.

When I look at Jesus Christ I see not only God but I see a perfect humanity. I see perfect excellence. I see a display of divine acts and divine words coming through that God/Man. The divine nature of Jesus, the moral excellence of His life is what draws men. That's the only thing that will draw men to God.

Men are drawn by God not because of promises of happiness, not promising them good times, not promising them heaven, all of those things come later. What draws men truly is when the vision of Christ becomes clear. They see that He is God and that He is perfect.

Understanding His glory as God and His excellence as perfect enables us to believe His precious and magnificent promises. Because of who He is He has granted to us...again a perfect tense verb which means continuous, He gave it and it has continuing effect.

What are those promises? Jesus said in John 11:25, "Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live," the promise of life. He said in John 10:10, "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." He said in John 11:26, "Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die," and promised us resurrection life.

The purpose for God’s promises through Christ was so that you could become a partaker of the divine nature. When you come to Jesus Christ you receive everything you need for life and godliness, you receive all the promises of God in time and eternity and you become a partaker of God's nature.

You become children of God. Romans 8:9 says the Spirit of God dwells in you. If the Spirit dwells within you, you possess the divine nature. Galatians 2:19‐20 says, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me." God lives in me. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”

The word "partaker" is koinonos. We often translate that word as fellowship. It means sharer or partner. We partake of God's life in us; we're partners in the same life. There is a sense in which our new life in Christ is a new nature, the divine nature, and we have escaped the corruption that marked us prior to our conversion.

So, at the time of salvation we escaped. The word depicts a successful flight from danger. We escaped from the rottenness of our decomposing, stinking, fallen, sinful nature. And now I'm a new creation, I have a new nature in Christ, the life of God in my soul.

There's a sense in which we already partake of the divine nature because we have a new heart. And there is a sense in which we will yet partake of the divine nature when we have a new body to go with the new heart, Amen?

Is there sufficiency in our salvation? Listen to this, anything less than a completely sufficient salvation mocks God and dishonors Christ. Of course it is sufficient. Our God gives more grace than you could possibly ever understand. Let's bow in prayer.


© 2017 Ferdy Gunawan

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