The Love Pathway
II Peter 1:1-11
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His 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. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We talked last week about God’s gift of love to us in Christ. Jesus is God’s clearest expression of His love for us. God is love, and God loves us personally. Jesus’ Incarnation, Death and Resurrection proves that clearly.
And God’s love is about more than reconciling us to Himself. It is about more than us spending the rest of our lives after we die with God.
God’s gift of love to us has a purpose, and that is for our lives to reflect His honor and glory. His love is not just an experience of grace, but is our pathway to life!
In our passage here, Peter talks about the knowledge of God in verses 2 and 3. And the impact of our knowledge of God is profound. The first point I want us to see that knowing God, and since His character is defined as love, knowing His love, gives us…
- Knowledge and Power for Life v.3
This is why I think it is important for us to focus on how God loves. Because it is as we understand God and His love for us, we learn how we are to love others. We are created in His image, verse 4 says we are escaping the corruption of the world and we are participating in the divine nature. The divine nature is God’s image, God’s character, God’s will for our lives.
- Knowing God is key to living best
v.2 Grace and peace are ours in abundance through our knowledge of Him.
- 3 Everything we need that we have that is necessary for us to live a Godly life is found in the power that comes from the knowledge of God.
Knowledge connects us to power
- We are called to God’s glory and goodness v.3
This is the standard for our lives. To sin is to fall short of the glory of God. But we have the very real possibility to walk out God’s character in our lives today. Galatians 5 says that if we walk in the Spirit we will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
- God promises life to those who follow Him
He promises to bless: Blessing equals abundant life
He promises to give the Holy Spirit: The Spirit gives life.
He promises to make us family: Family provides and gives care.
He promises to Resurrect: Sin kills, but God’s ability to Resurrect is greater than sin’s ability to kill.
- Participating in the Diving Nature v.4
- Escaping the corruption of the world
The world in this sense is the sum total of all desire, and direction for life that does not submit to God.
I am not called to follow desire for my life. If I desired what was good and had the power to carry the good out, then following desire would be just fine. As the Proverb says: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart.”
If you are delighted in God, then He will give you Himself! That is really what that proverb means.
- Corruption is caused by evil desires
Corruption is decay. It is the downward spiral of death that leads to ultimate destruction.
Romans 1: 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
How are we to escape this worldly corruption?
We are going to grow in God’s glory and goodness! V.4
- Growing in His glory and goodness
This is the opposite of corruption and decay. Corruption and decay are signs of death and rot. And rot grows.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.
The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
Start with Matthew chapters 5-7. If you hear Jesus’ words there and put them into practice you will be like a man who built his house on a rock. He has a strong life.
III. Knowing God’s Love is a Great Gift
- God’s love is the foundation of our good character
Matthew 5: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Law and the Prophets are fulfilled by Jesus, not abolished by Jesus.
And He then launches into an exposition on how to carry out the law in the rest of chapter 5.
Murder—anger—respect the image of God in others
Adultery—lust—respect for the created purpose for family and reproduction.
Oaths—lying—just tell the plain truth
Then the broader principles:
Retribution: an eye for an eye—
How does God handle this issue
Making everything equal and fair:
God bears the burden of mercy and love
Who is my neighbor? Who can I not love? Silence.
- Love is action, not feeling
A great definition of love is from Dallas Willard:
Love is acting in the best interests of someone.
- Love is not selfish
If you think about reasons to not be loving toward others, they will all revolve around a selfish reason. There will be a reason to behave badly. Adam and Eve: The woman you gave me. The snake deceived me. The bottom line is that their selfish desire was manipulated by Satan and they chose love for self over God.
Our knowledge of God and our love for God can change our orbit. We can make decisions in life purely from the standpoint of His love for others rather than ourselves.
Whitney Houston sang that she had discovered the greatest love of all and it was love of herself. I appreciate her need for self-esteem, but if we assume that she really knew those lyrics, here untimely death due to a drug problem indicates that there was a greater love to be found.