Fully equipped

One of the complaints made about the war in Afghanistan, which is now supposedly over, is that the troops were sent into battle under-equipped. The same was said about soldiers fighting in the trenches of the First World War. And for them it was a matter of life and death. Whether it was roadside bombs or deadly machine gun fire, to be under equipped was a serious business.

And many Christians see their Christian life a bit like that. They know that without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) and they sense, therefore, that this is a matter of life and death; eternal life and death. Yet they feel utterly ill-equipped to deal with the pressures that come at them from outside and from within, to fend off the doubts and sins that beset them. They see the stubbornness of their own sin and feel as though they are hopelessly adrift.

Yet we need not feel ill-equipped. The Apostle Peter, who knew a thing or two about getting it badly wrong, writes; "His [God's] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3). God, himself, has fully equipped us for holiness. In fact when you take in what Peter is saying, it is breath taking.

The passage first tells us that God's divine power has been granted to us. It is the power of the living God who is awesome in His simplicity, fearsome in His majesty and who is mighty to save. A truly holy God grants to utterly sinful rebels this amazing grace, having dealt with our rebellion and sin in Christ Jesus. We should not pass lightly over the magnitude of this. God is the Creator and we are the created. He is infinite and we finite and momentary. The gulf between us, even before sin, is incalculable. And yet, even after we worship all that is contrary to Him, God deigns, through what to us looks like inexplicable love and gobsmacking grace, to grant us this gift that enables us to live forever and attain to godliness.

And it is His power that is granted. This is a power that cannot fail on what it seeks to accomplish. We have this infinite power available, but it is for a purpose; It is so that we will have all that is needed to live a godly life. This is something we need to recall, especially in times when we have stumbled badly. And Peter writes thus for those who need to recall it. See how he says later, that those who do not progress in godliness are those who have forgotten "that they have been cleansed from their past sins." We cannot be complacent about sin. But if we keep hold of its guilt, as though God is still angry with us, then we will never be able to grow in the Christian life. Godliness is built on the foundation of sins forgiven, once and for all, through the death of Jesus on the cross.

So we are granted divine power. And through that power he gives us "all things" that are needed to live forever and to do His will. All things! There is no lack of provision. "O but I am weak," we might say, "too weak to stand up to sin, and to live a life worthy of my Lord." But God has given you all things and that includes the strength to overcome that weakness. "O but I am too far gone in my sin to do righteously!" You may be, but God has given you all things needed even so. Has he saved you through His Son? And does not all things, if it truly be "all", include bringing you back?

And how is this power obtained, or received? It is through the knowledge of Him who called us, through, that is, knowledge of God. That suggests that power increases for us and to us to the degree that our heart knowledge of God increases. Not that heart knowledge is, or can be, divorced from knowledge that is founded on the truth revealed to us in the Bible. Indeed, although they may be distinguished they are inseparable. There is no real understanding of God that does not include experience of Him, and there is no real experience of God that comes from ignorance. And God has supremely revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ. In fact the gospel is described for us as "the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." And the more that we know of him the more we grow like him. So 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, And we all, who...contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."And the particular knowledge that empowers us for life and godliness is stated here as being of Him who called us. You see He drew us to Him; it was not us seeking Him out. God comes and calls individuals out from the corruption of the world (v.4) and into His glory and excellence. This is surely bound to impact upon us? It is a profound mystery, but we are called into the very glory of God in some way. We are, in fact, made partakers of the divine (2 Peter 1:4). And we become so through the promises that He has granted to us. Thus, in some way, the promises function so as to give us a participation in the divine nature, which in turn is experienced by way of our knowledge of God in Christ Jesus. And that knowledge is the vehicle for the divine power that is all we need for life and godliness. Thus the past grace of forgiveness is the foundation for godliness, the present grace of power is the strength for godliness, and the future grace of the promises is the spur for godliness. We are not ill-equipped. We have all that we need for life and holiness in the divine power that God supplies.
Oh our heavenly Father, thank you that you have given to us all that we need to live as you want us to live! In your sovereign grace you have left nothing to chance. You will save to the uttermost all of your people. Glorious sovereignty! Delightful grace! My sovereign Lord pierce our hearts with the splendour of the fact that we are made partakers of the divine nature so that we might live a godly life. Fill us afresh with the joy of this truth so that we will press on to win the prize that has been set before us - that of seeing and savouring your glory, revealed to us in the face of Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.

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