2 Peter 2nd Lesson: Take Time to Be Holy
Peter tells us in verses 2 Peter 1:8-11: If you possess these qualities ( listed in verses 5-7) in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What promises these verses contain! However, there are conditions to be met. Let us back up for a minute to something very important Peter told us in his first letter. In I Peter 1: 13-16 we read: Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: be holy, because I am holy. Do you see what is our responsibility? To prepare our minds. This is the first step in pursuing holiness.
In order to be holy as the Lord is holy what is required? We must be partakers of His Divine nature in order to escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Peter then gives us a list of attributes, which are actually fruits of the Spirit we are to add to our faith. The list includes: goodness/virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly love and love/charity. Now we cannot produce these fruits of the Spirit, we can only yield to the Spirit in obedience in order for the Spirit to produce fruit as we abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus.
This is an ongoing process as Peter refers to our progress as in increasing measures. It is continuous learning, continuous application, continuous growth. Paul said he did not consider himself as having obtained this level of perfection so he pressed toward the mark.
We are then told if we do this our reward will be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. He expresses it by saying we will avoid being ineffective and unproductive. He says not to possess these qualities in increasing measure will lead one to be spiritually blinded and forget they have been cleansed of their sins. Peter also tells us we will never fall and receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So how do I come to be holy as He is holy? How can I experience success in increasing measures in my Christian walk, in my relationship with the Lord? Paul told us whenever he wanted to do good, evil was always present. This is a truth we see over and over in Scripture: the ongoing battle between the spirit and the flesh, the new nature versus the old nature.
Well lets look at someone who was facing a real, literal battle and God will tell us exactly what is needed to be successful in our pursuit of holiness. In Joshua 1, we read of Gods instruction to Joshua after Moses death. He faces a huge task and battles with an enemy the Israelites must drive out of the country. This is God speaking to Joshua: Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Do you want to possess what God has given you? Be strong and courageous. Physical strength comes from the exercise of our muscles-to be spiritually strong we must exercise our faith. Interesting in 2 Peter, we are told to add to our faith- virtue(KJV). Virtue is not only goodness, it is valor, courage and strength.
God reminds Joshua-He has promised this land to them. God has promised no one will be able to stand against them. God has promised Joshua- He, God, would be with you and never leave him or forsake Him. Do you see the great and precious promises God had given to Joshua?
Has He not promised to always be with us? To never leave us or forsake us? To provide our needs?
Watch carefully what Joshua must do in order to succeed: Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
If our desire to be holy as God is holy the spiritual battle we will face will be no less than the physical battle Joshua faced. God says the key to victory is : meditation and obedience to His word.
Meditation should be a daily priority in the life of a believer. It is a discipline the enemy will do everything he can to keep us from observing. Can you imagine, if you would, telling Almighty God you dont have time for Him? You are too busy.
You want to be holy as God is holy? Guess what? It takes time. Time alone with Him. Time spent in His Word. Meditation is setting aside time to spend with the Lord, to contemplate His greatness, His promises, and allow Him to speak to us. Imagine the King of Kings, wants to be alone with you and wants your undivided attention.
I have a picture sitting above my desk where I study and work. It is an old picture of the Lord Jesus speaking to a middle-aged businessman with a quote from Psalms 73:24: Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. The man is listening intently as the Lord speaks to him there in his office. What a literal picture of meditation.
As I have often told you, meditation is a process of engrafting the Word of God and here are the steps:
- Hear the Word of God.
- Read the Word of God .
- Study the Word of God
- Memorize the Word of God
- Meditate on the Word of God- meditate = contemplate, ruminate ponder .
Then we obey it. Obedience should be the natural outcome when we begin to think Gods thoughts after Him.
The Words of God are living words, they are powerful and alive. They are eternal truths that can only be taken in and become a part of our thinking as we digest them through meditation. Taste and see the Lord is good, blessed is the man whose refuge is in Him.(Psalms 34) Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord. ( Matthew 4)
Read Psalms 1, Psalms 119 and many more verses all through the Word of God. Psalms 19 says; May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer.
Meditation is the key to building your day and night around Scriptures. It provides one with a conscious awareness of God at all times- a key to pursuing holiness.
Mediation is communing with God in the language of His own written Word.
Meditation is worshipping God in spirit and truth.
Listen to this foreword from the Gideon Bible: The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelers map, the pilgrims staff, the pilots compass, the soldiers sword and the Christian charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven is opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject , our good the design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given in life, will be opened at the judgment and remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred content.
The Bible is Gods Word and absolute truth. It generates life, creates faith and produces change. It frightens the devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character and transforms lives. It imparts joy, overcomes adversity and defeats temptation. It releases power, cleanses our minds and brings things into being. As Christians we cannot live without the Word of God.
In order to meditate, we need to do three things: memorize, visualize and personalize. It is the ultimate activity by which we gain moral freedom. When you read a novel, do you visualize what the characters look like? My mother said she read Gone With the Wind- without stopping in one morning sitting on her mother and daddys front porch. She said when the movie came out- the characters were just as she had visualized them. God has given the creative ability of imagination. Can you not visualize these events you read in the Bible? Then if you personalize Scripture and there are promises to you- you can personalize that Scripture and visualize the Lord telling youDid I not tell you, Tim, I had plans for you. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on me, and come and pray and I will listen to you Tim. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Gina personalized the promise in Psalms 91, when I had cancer that the Lord would be with me in trouble and deliver me and honor me with long life I will satisfy Tim and show him my salvation.
The instruction to be holy as I am holy- sounds like too great a task. But an invitation from Almighty God to come and spend time with Me and I will tell you about my plans for you- does not sound like a task too great- it sounds like an opportunity one would not want to miss for anything.
Now when we look back at those instructions to Joshua, we cannot help but note God tells Joshua several times to be strong and courageous. Do you know why God repeated those instructions? Because studying Gods Word and applying His principles to our lives takes courage. In Joshua 3, the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River.
Watch what happens when you decide to step out in faith in Gods Word. Joshua 3:15 tells us : Now the Jordan is at flood stage When you decide to obey Gods principles the enemy will bring a flood of problems to hinder you from obedience. Thus the need of courage. Sometimes God asks us to go where we have never been before. The story in Joshua 3 gives us a clear example of how God works: The priests are to enter the water first carrying the Ark of God. The Ark represented the presence of God. In other words, God is saying sometimes I will ask you to go where you have never been before. But I will go before you. The instructions were as soon as the priests who carry the ark set foot in the water, the waters flowing from upstream will be cut off and stand in a heap. But they had to step into the water first. A step of faith. They had to get their feet wet first. Gods best always comes through faith.
Now I may have seemed to have strayed from the lesson, but I really was just doing what Peter says he was doing in the next verses: So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory ( 2 Peter 2:12-13)
God says He knows the plans He has for you- plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ( Jeremiah 29:11-13)
You cultivate faithfulness when you meditate on the Word of God. When you apply His principles and truths to your life. Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
He is sitting in that chair , just like in this picture I have hanging above my desk, waiting for me each morning.
He is also waiting for each of you. Why would you miss the opportunity to spend time with the Lord? Holiness is an ongoing process- it comes as a byproduct of spending time with the Lord in meditation.
You see to be holy as He is holy requires meditation and obedience. And therefore as this old hymn tells us:
Take Time to Be Holy
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Each verse of this song begins with Take time to be holy and gives examples of how to do this.
So if you desire to be holy as He is holy- and His word commands us to be holy- guess what:
You have to take time to be holy. It will be time well spent!
For Further Study: Scripture References
I Peter 1: 13-16
I Timothy 4: 17; 2 Timothy 3: 16
I Corinthians 9: 24-27
2 Corinthians 3: 16-18
John 15- The Abiding Life