A Faith as Precious as Ours
First lesson of the November 2015 gospel meeting!
2 Peter 1:1, “To those who ... have received a faith as precious as ours.”
First, we consider our faith being precious because of what it has done for us. We consider the fact that our faith has saved us (Jn 3:16). Our obedient faith cleansed our hearts from sin (Acts 15:9). It was our obedient faith which made us righteous in the sight of God (Rom 10:9-10). And it was faith that motivated our obedience to the gospel in baptism (Mark 16:16). Whether repentance from sin, confession of faith in Christ, or baptism, people who do not believe in Christ do not do what God’s word says to do.
Secondly, the emphasis is on how precious our faith is because of what faith is now doing.
1. Our faith is the means though which God’s blessings come. In the text, we find (1) God’s grace, (2) our peace with God, (3) “everything we need for life and godliness,” (4) “his very great and precious promises,” and (5) that “you may participate in the divine nature.” None of these blessings would be possible if it were not for our faith in Him.
2. Our faith today serves as our shield against the Devil. Ephesians 6:16, “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” Just as the Roman soldier’s shield served to protect him in battle, so our shields of faith protect us. What is faith anyway? In this sense, faith is believing what God has said and committing ourselves to what we believe.
3. Our faith helps us make the right decisions in life. We can see this in the examples of Moses’ parents (Heb. 11:23) and in the faith of Moses (Heb. 11:24-27). Moses’ decisions were made by his faith which allowed him to look further than the present. In our lives, we need to let our faith direct own decision making process.
4. Our faith is the means by which we overcome the world which we do by adding the virtues to our faith. In 1 John 5:3-4 we read, “and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith.” “It is faith which enables us to resist temptation, to avoid the entanglements of the world, to reject false teachers and the doctrines of men" (G. N. Woods). Many are falsely seeking some kind of spiritual experience or some increased level of spirituality and are not “satisfied” with just what God has given them as forgiven Christians and the hope of eternal life. The child of God is taught to expect victory.
5. Our faith gives us the power “to move mountains” (Matthew 17:20). Whatever is the “mountain” in your life, your faith can overcome it. When you come to your mountain (1) you can curse the mountain... and quit! And then use the mountain as an excuse for failure; or (2) you can exhaust yourself trying to climb the mountain; or (3) you can say to the mountain: “get out of the way!” and overcome it by your faith. (See also Zech. 4:6.) The easiest way to “move the mountain” is usually just to go around it.
6. Our faith is the means we have to handle the unknown futures of our lives.
“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen (Heb. 11:7).
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed . . . not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).
Often we today face an uncertain future and we are afraid! This is rather foolish because the future is always uncertain. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? So then faith helps us to put ourselves in the hands of God and allow him to work in our lives. We need to have faith and to believe that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
7. Our faith today is the means through which our lives come to please God today. Just as Abraham “did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom 4:20-23), so “without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6) for us as well.
8. My faith serves as the foundation for the virtues to be added to it (2 Peter 1:5-7). All those virtues, however complete or incomplete they may be at this point in my life, cannot be successfully added if I do not have the faith upon which they are built!
Thirdly, our faith is precious because of what faith will do in the future.
One day, on the last day, my faith will turn into sight. (Heb 11:1). Today I “see” my Lord by faith. But being faithful, one day I shall see him in reality (1 John 3:2)!
And on that same last day of his judgement, my faith will turn me to the salvation of my eternal soul (1 Peter 1:8-9)! So let us not throw away our confidence, but rather endure as we wait to receive the promise (Hebrews 10:35-39).
In conclusion, let us have the same precious faith as did Peter and Paul (2 Peter 1:1). And let us be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). So then we can look forward to receiving the rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11). May we all increase in faith!
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? Have you confessed your faith, repented of your sins and been baptized into him for the remission of your sins?
If your faith has been weak, my brother or sister, will you return to Christ in repentance, confession of sins, and prayer?
Only in faith will you come to Jesus.