2 Peter 1:5-7. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Dallas Willard once said, “The gospel isn’t opposed to effort, it’s opposed to earning.” But too often a theology of grace alone leaves no room for any sort of effort on the part of the Christian. “It’s all of grace,” we say. But where does that leave faith? And where does that leave active faith that makes an effort in the pursuit of Christ’s character.
You see, what Peter knows and is teaching us is that union with Christ is participation with Christ. It’s a partnership. Christ does it all first and then we do it all. Yes, God’s redemptive work in Christ is complete. It is finished. There is nothing left for God to do in order for the salvation of mankind, and the restoration of the creation to take place. And yet, God’s redemptive work continues THROUGH Christ, IN us. Transforming us. Changing us. Sanctifying us. As we saw yesterday, Christ has given us everything we need for life and for godliness, but now we must make every effort to turn all that he has given to us into his godly character in us – virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
Christian, our life in Christ is NOT about trying harder and harder. But it is about making every effort. And yes, there’s a difference. Trying harder and harder implies I must do better and better in order to succeed. But making every effort isn’t about getting better and better in order to impress. It’s about living in a mutual relationship with Jesus. Working toward a common purpose together. Living interdependently with Christ.
How does this happen?
The more and more you believe that you have freely and graciously been given everything you need for life and godliness by your Savior King you will, quite naturally, be determined to add these gifts on to your life by faith in Christ. If you graciously gave your child a Lego set what would you expect them to do with it? That’s right, you’d expect them to “add” the Legos together, to build with them, to stack them up into something amazing and fun.
So let’s grab the “Love Legos” God has given us in order to build Christ into our lives.
On our table top of faith, let’s stack up a foundation of Christ’s virtue. His practical, tangible goodness and kindness.
Don’t forget knowledge. Look at the instructions so you can see what the finished design look like.
Then grab the Legos of self-control and steadfastness. Building is a slow and steady process with lots of parts. Don’t lose your cool. It’s gonna look great in the end.
Next comes the blocks of godliness and brotherly affection. Never lose sight of why we build our lives in Christ’s love – to honor God and care for others.
And finally, love. The finished product. A life that looks like the agape love of God. A life that looks like “to live is Christ.”
Are you “trying harder” or “making an effort” to let Christ’s love flow out of your life? Can you tell the difference?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ (review 2 Peter 1:3-4) allow these virtues to flow out of our lives through our faith filled effort?
Christ in you
Where might you need to add some of Jesus’ goodness, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, or brotherly affection today?
Playlist: Like Jesus.
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