Advent Day 2
Preparing Our Hearts for the Season
“Eternal God, in your providence you made all ages a preparation for the kingdom of your Son. Make ready our hearts for the brightness of your glory and the fulness of your blessing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (UMC Book of Worship, 1992)
2 Peter 1:3-11
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Great Tradition
“This verse follows on what has gone before, because it is by the knowledge of our Lord and Savior that we come to understand all the mysteries of his divinity, by which we have been saved. For he did not send an angel or an archangel to save us, nor did he find anything in us which might allow us to contribute to our own salvation, but when he saw that we were weak and had nothing to boast of, he came in his own glory and power and redeemed us.” (Bede)
Prayer of Confession
“Lord, so often we have allowed our focus to be on the divisions and conflicts in the world and we have lost the vision of your kingdom to come. So often we have sacrificed and died for standards of our own making, and we have turned away from your standard of the Cross. Forgive us, Lord, and restore our vision of your mighty kingdom. In Christ we pray. Amen.”
There’s a lot to meditate upon regarding the profound message of 2 Peter 1:3-11. Through the precious gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we receive not only forgiveness but also the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. With this divine empowerment, we’re guided to live the godly lives to which we’re called.
The Apostle Peter reminds us that, although we cannot earn our salvation, we are encouraged to add to our faith qualities such as goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). These virtues are reflections of the good works we were created to do (Ephesians 2:10). John Chrysostom emphasizes that their abundance is even more commendable. While these qualities do not save us, they protect us from being unproductive in God’s Kingdom. They are the fruit of our salvation and evidence of our growing relationship with Christ.
Remember the inspiring words of our Lord in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” On the Day of the Lord, hearing those words will be our greatest reward.
- Grace Leads to Transformation: Our salvation is a gift of grace, and it’s through God’s divine favor and power that we are transformed. Advent reminds us of God’s ultimate gift, Jesus Christ, who brings transformation and hope to our lives.
- Virtues Reflect Our Faith: While we cannot earn salvation through our good works, they are the natural outpouring of a heart transformed by faith. Another way it has been put this like this: Our good works don’t save us, but they are proof we are saved. During this Advent season, let’s strive to cultivate these virtues in our daily lives.
- Preparing for the Kingdom: Advent is a season of preparation. As we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth, let’s also prepare our hearts for his second coming. The qualities listed in 2 Peter 1 are essential in this preparation.
- Take time to thank God for the gift of salvation and his grace that empowers you to live a godly life. Remember that your new life and transformation (not to mention all the good gifts you enjoy daily) are a result of his divine favor and power.
- Focus on One Quality: Select one of the qualities mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7 that you feel you need to work on the most. Spend time in prayer, asking God for the strength and grace to grow in that area.
- Embrace the Advent Season: Let this Advent season be a time of reflection, preparation, and anticipation. As you prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth, also prepare your heart for his return. A big part of that will be to live a life characterized by the virtues outlined in 2 Peter 1.
As we journey through Advent, let’s remember the incredible gift of grace that is conforming us into the likeness of Christ. Our salvation is a result of God’s divine favor and power, and it empowers us to live godly lives characterized by virtues such as goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. These qualities are not means of earning salvation but are reflections of a heart transformed by faith in Christ alone and a sovereign and gracious work of God’s Spirit.
This Advent season let’s prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth and his second coming. May our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of grace, and may we all one day hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” on the Day of the Lord. Thanks be to God.