I’m writing this from my seminary writing cubicle. It smells like a cubicle should smell like. Not sure what that means, but it just does! I have been pouring over 2 Peter 1 in commentaries, languages and the original text all week and still not ready to write fully. For those of you who do not know, my doctoral project is a discipleship process based on 2 Peter 1 which will have an actual seminar component that we will implement in the church in the near future. In fact, I cannot complete this project until I have trained at least one group of church members in this disciple-making process. My prayer is that this will help UBC to become more passionate followers of Jesus Christ.
I really don’t have time right now to say why I’ve chosen 2 Peter 1 as the basis, but I will say that after hours of deeper study I am more convinced than ever that this chapter is crucial in helping the churches in our culture know what it means (and what it takes) to be a follower of Christ. One thing I will mention, and this is appropriate given the nature of our Sunday morning messages; the message of 2 Peter focuses on living out the Christian life with increased grace and knowledge, which will produce verifiable behavior. Even in verse 10, Peter charges the churches in Asia minor to make certain they are true believers, and the only way to ascertain that assurance is to live rightly in this world.
In light of these truths I’ve been reflecting more about the nature of true conversion. In reality, if something is to be known as authentic, it must be authenticated. The process of authenticating something is to determine whether or not it is what it appears to be. For instance, I don’t watch it much but the “Antique Roadshow” pops up on the TV every once in a while and it fascinates me to see what people do not realize they have in their possession. The expert examines the article, verifies it and then puts a price on it. In the process, there are some (few because it’s not as good TV) that do not have the “real” thing. The point I’m trying to make is simply the authentication process only proves the nature of something, it does not MAKE it something. This is a defining point in 2 Peter 1 because if not careful we may perceive a works righteousness, instead of a righteousness by grace through faith alone in Christ. Our authenticating our salvation in our right living is not to MAKE ourselves disciples, it is to authenticate what we claim to be.
I know that this can seem arduous and even frightening, and I feel that as a Christian as well. But it is better to lose possessions, pride, position and even “pulpits” if we are assured that we have gained, and are known by, Christ Himself!
Although I’ve been gone 2 of the past 3 weeks (India and Fort Worth), I want you to know that my passion is to be with you all in Fayetteville, growing with you all in becoming more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. I want to see our church, community, the university and our homes engulfed with a passion for the glory of God. Let us not shrink back these summer months! Let us commit (apart from needed vacations) to gather regularly and often to exalt Christ and encourage one another, deepening in our knowledge and practice of the Word. Like Peter says (2 Peter 3:10-14)…
“10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”