In case you haven’t noticed, the “Verses” category at this blog simply points out a scripture that I believe is meaningful and important. It may be a passage, or as we have today, just part of a single verse.
Sometimes the simplicity of the message scripture is obscured in all the opinionating and shouting that goes on among Bible students.
So here’s one for you: God has already given us everything we need for living a godly life.
Now….there may be things God still needs to give us in future situations. There is certainly nothing wrong with asking for God to intervene in an illness or a crisis. We ought to pray for what people need and don’t have.
But when it comes to what we need for living the Christian life- what Peter called “godliness”- we already have it. We have it all and we’ve had it all as long as we’ve known God through faith in Jesus.
Here’s a slightly longer excerpt.
2 Peter 1:3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises…
We were totally resourced for living as disciples when we came to know “him.” “Received” is past tense.
Does this do away with living by faith? No, because what God has given us are his very own promises. These promises, which center around the Gospel and all Jesus has done and will do- are the energizers of God’s power in our lives, just as they have always been in the lives of people like Abraham and David.
I bring up this passage because a conversation today reminded me that vast numbers of Christians are living as if God has not given them everything they need to live the life, and is in fact being very tricky and gamey, making his power only available to those who jump through the proper hoops, wind up at the right church, pray the right prayer or get kicked by the right evangelist.
Whole segments of evangelicalism and Christianity in general promise to get God to finally come through if we will just do our part in the game. God is dangling the “real” Christian life in front of us. Will we have the whatever it takes to grab it? Will we play the game so we can get what we need?
This is very, very far away from 2 Peter 1:3 or the many statements of Jesus that tell us our heavenly Father knows what we need and will provide it. In the area of living the life, we have EVERYTHING we need, and we’ve had it from the moment we belonged to Jesus. In him, all the promises are yes. In him, the fullness of the Godhead dwells incarnationally. In him, we are complete. In him the shadows have become the reality. In Jesus, God has reconciled, poured out, acted, raised and saved.
It’s sad to see Christians acting as if God must be made to notice us; that he must be somehow motivated to give us all that help that we actually don’t have, and won’t have if we don’t find out the secret principles or the official secrets or the mysterious outpourings.
He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Now, look around you at the Christians you know. Listen to the sermons you hear. Get the feel of the kind of God and message that are coming into your life from the Christians around here.
Do they believe and practice a kind of Christianity that says “We aren’t trying to get God to give us what we need to live the life. We have what we need. Now it’s time to LIVE THE LIFE?”
Maybe this verse can help us see why the early Christians really were able to do so much more than we seem to be able to do. They knew Jesus had done everything and given them everything they needed for the mission. Now it was time for the mission, not for playing games with God.
Meanwhile, today’s Christian is trying to get the secret, have the experience, receive the blessing and so on.
A great verse: We have everything we need for living a godly life. We should believe what God has promised and live out those promises, celebrating our all sufficient, all wise and generously loving God.