Our master has granted to us a reservoir of spiritual power to fulfill our calling to overcome our sinful attitudes and partake of Jesus’ glory and moral excellence. But we are the ones who must step into that battle and unleash that power. WE must respond to Jesus’ call to become like him. To do so is the path to the greatest possible fulfillment in life.
Author, David Murrow, in his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, observed that Jesus demonstrated the pattern of a man on a mission. He writes.
“Jesus had a vision. He called it the kingdom of God. It was huge. It involved nothing less than a re-creation of the world, one person at a time. And we are His partners in this task. This vision was the focus of his entire life. Everything about his life was tied up in this vision. This vision is what kept him focused on his mission. It was the reason he lived and died” (Why Men Hate Going to Church).
As followers of Jesus, we have joined his mission—to restore rightness to every square inch of planet earth, or as Jesus put it, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Spreading the kingdom of righteousness begins with the loyalties of my own heart; I am called TO CHRIST to enjoy a love relationship with him. Spreading the kingdom then moves outwardly to encompass my heart attitudes; I am then called TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST. The reign of King Jesus over my heart attitudes expels wrong attitudes. Paul explains this part of the Christ-follower’s mission when he said to the church at Ephesus, “You’ve been taught to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Great men, in the eyes of Jesus, are those who fight the sinful attitudes of their hearts, self-centeredness, pride, resentment, lust, selfishness, impurity, rivalry, idolatry, greed, envy, selfish anger, laziness, lack of love for others. They surrender in humility to God’s reclamation project of re-making them into the toughness of character that Jesus showed. They channel their masculine aggression towards overpowering the dark attitudes of their fallen hearts. This episode explores what the Apostle, Peter, taught about how to unleash the power God has provided to overcome the selfish attitudes and wrong desires of our hearts.
To overcome the wrong attitudes and desires that arise from our sinful nature, we need spiritual power. In fact, we need the mightiest power there is since the greatest power in the world is the power to overcome evil. Today, we begin a new November series, Becoming Men Who Exhibit the Toughness of Jesus on the Inside, based upon 2 Peter 1:3-8. Let’s explore what Peter said about accessing that power.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s dig into this amazing passage that tells us how to access the unlimited power God has provided us for winning this battle over our heart attitudes. Verse 3:
His divine power.
Jesus located sin in the human heart. The message of Christianity is that only Christ, God himself come in the flesh, could defeat evil, and dethrone it from its control over the human heart. The summary message of Paul’s great theological tome, Romans is that righteousness is from God (1:16-17, 3:21-22). Righteousness from God not only saves us from the penalty of sin (justification) and saves us ultimately from the presence of sin (glorification), righteousness from God also saves us right now from the power of sin (sanctification). This word, power, is DUNAMIS, from which we get dynamite.
Trusting Christ’s power to overcome wrong attitudes is described by another Apostle, Paul. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20). The relentless battle against our sinful attitudes requires a constant supply of spiritual might that is found only in Christ’s resurrection defeat of evil and its consequences. Just as faith is trusting God to impute Christ’s righteousness to us so that we are justified, faith is trusting God to impart Christ’s moral power to have right attitudes, i.e.be sanctified.
Has granted to us all things.
The grammatical structure of the Greek sentence begins with the word all things, putting the emphasis on the sufficiency of this power source. Years ago, the manufacturers of the infamous Rolls Royce refused to identify the exact horsepower of the engine. They simply listed it as adequate. The power over sin granted to us is adequate to get the job done.
The word translated granted is DOREOMAI, which literally means “freely given as a present” This word is not the common word for give but puts the emphasis on free gift, gratis, without payment. The verb tense, “has granted,” implies that the past act of granting continues its effect to the present day and is thus to continue. Jesus paid a high price for us to have this power to overcome sinful attitudes. Peter had written in his first letter, You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Pet 1:18-19). Having paid such a high price, our master wants us to unleash this untapped spiritual power.
That pertain to life.
Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. The power, which is in view here, is the power for restoration to the life God intended. The wage of sinful heart attitudes is always death. Paul urges believers to never doubt that truth though they may not see the destructive consequences of sinful attitudes. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Gal 6:7). The biblical concept of eternal life is not just existence that begins after we die and continues forever. It is the quality of life that begins in this world when it is partially restored by the power of Christ to what it was created to be, before the fall, which and continues into eternity. This high-quality, abundant life is described by David in Psalm 63:
Because your steadfast love is better than life my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy (vs 3-7).