The Story: The unfruitful Christian may not necessarily be not a Christian at all. But he should be concerned. He’s so “nearsighted” that he spends all his time thinking about having been forgiven and going to heaven. It’s all he can see. And he gives little if any attention to the daily walk of following Jesus. This is not what God intends. Are you blinded by your salvation so that you are actually unfruitful in it? If so, it’s time to ratchet-up the diligence of making your calling and election sure. We can be sure, Peter implies, that God has saved us. But that certainty doesn’t come from remembering that we’ve prayed to receive Jesus. It comes from being “all the more diligent” to bring forth the virtues of godliness and love in our daily walk. Further, the more diligent we are in acquiring and expressing these virtues – the virtues of Christ at work within us, making us willing and able to do the pleasure of God (Phil. 2.13) – the greater will be our strength against all temptation, so that we will stumble and fall less frequently.
The Structure: Believers need to encourage one another in giving all diligence to grow in virtue and good works, just as Peter was doing with these believers (Heb. 10.24). The life of a Christian is not easy. It’s like running a marathon race, boxing against a powerful opponent, fighting a war, or bringing a crop to fruitfulness. This is hard work, and each of us needs friends to encourage and help us in the journey. We’re bound to stumble and fall from time to time, but if we can pick one another up and help one another avoid the pitfalls of temptation next time around, our witness to the watching world will be strengthened, not merely by our own improved righteousness, but by the love we bear for one another.
Who encourages you in the life of faith? Do you have soul friends to share and pray with in your journey?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Getting on with the Life of Faith: 2 Peter 1,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.