Happenings around Antioch

Grow in Grace and Knowledge of Christ

Peter greets the readers of his second letter with, “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing,” reminding us of three foundational truths about our faith foundation. First, the faith that we have was obtained. The word picture there is of someone who has received his or her apportioned share of an inheritance. They did not earn it nor do they deserve it. They are the beneficiaries of another’s grace and mercy. God has given us faith, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Have you seen the commercial where Mr. Marbles the Cat is in the room when the will of his deceased owner is read? The cat is given a lifetime supply of Chewy cat food. He says, “I always loved that old man.” But then it is revealed that Mr. Marbles was also left the summer house. While the family members are groaning in unbelief, Mr. Marbles says, “You got a train set, Todd!” Ok, it’s a commercial. But this verse stirs up my mind by gentle reminder that God’s gift of faith in Christ is better than a whole universe of summer houses or train sets.

Second, the faith we have obtained is the same faith that the apostles obtained. The New King James Version says, “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us.”  Spurgeon wrote, “He tells us too, that faith is ‘precious;’ and is it not precious? For it deals with precious things, with precious promises, with precious blood, with a precious redemption, with all the preciousness of the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The same precious faith that was given to the Jews, Peter says to the elect Gentile believers, was given to you! You have equal standing with us. Every sinner saved by grace has equal standing with every other sinner saved by grace.

Third, we stand on and in “the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” That righteousness was given to us, imputed to us by Christ’s death and resurrection, and we are in Christ because of God’s grace. 

Then Peter says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” There is a constant push by those in the world to increase in knowledge without acknowledgement of God, who is the source of knowledge. Or to increase in truth without obedience to the one wo said, “I am the truth.” Or to increase in “faith” without recognizing the only immoveable object of faith, our God and Savior Jesus Christ. If we have knowledge without God or truth without Christ, what good is our faith? I remember when I was training for my first triathlon in my early 50’s and I was a terrible swimmer. Still am. But I went to Beck Pool at Elon a number of times to swim laps because there was hardly ever anybody in the pool. I would start at the deep end and swim to the shallow end, back and forth, trying to get to the conditioning level where I could swim a mile without stopping. Sometimes I would be swimming in near-darkness, early in the morning. What if I had walked in one day when they were doing maintenance on the pool and it was dark and I didn’t know the pool was empty and I dove off the deep end…my faith in water that was not there to hold me up would be as profitable for me as those who believe in knowledge without God and truth with Christ. 

May you and I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.