Be What You Are
II Peter 1:8-11
These verses go to the heart of the Christian experience and raises the issue of the real difference that being a Christians should make in the life of a believer. Peter has just listed that we saw in our last post, that being the progression in Christian virtue that starts with faith and ends with love. Peter then makes the following three points.
- These things are already yours. Not only are they yours but they are increasing among you. Peter is not talking on the individual level but to the Christian community at large.
- Verse 9 points out that anyone lacking these virtues has forgotten their cleanings from previous sins.
- Verse 10 states that since these virtues are already ours and we have been cleansed of past sins, that each Christian should make sure for themselves their election and calling. How can we do that? By exhibiting these virtues in their lives. If the Christian exhibits these virtues in their lives and the community as a whole does as well, then Christians as individuals and as a community will never fall, they will never stumble.
We are saved by grace through faith and faith is the foundation of Christian virtue. Upon faith, all other principles are built upon. Peter makes it clear then that we also play a role in our own salvation. So make our election sure we must have all the virtues Peter tell us that all Christians should have, the greatest of which is love.
Does this mean that Peter has misunderstood, especially since Paul in Galatians 2:16 and Ephesians 2:8 seems to say the opposite? No, not at all, because Peter says our virtue is built upon faith and all these virtues are the result of faith, not our own works. But, in order for us to be saved we need to exemplify these virtues in our lives.
Both Paul and Peter emphasizes that as Christians we are being transformed into the into the likeness of Christ and that this process lasts a lifetime. In baptism, we join in the death of Christ and die to sin, but in Romans 6:11 he urges us to consider ourselves dead to sin. We are to live in the lights of the new reality that Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought about.
Both Peter and Paul, say “You are – Therefore be!” Be all that is already true for you in Jesus!