Believers, we share one faith, one Lord, and one Spirit. We are many diverse people in one body. Some people are more mature than others. Some people have a deeper spirituality, others have a profound knowledge of the Scriptures. We all have different gifts, talents, and experiences. But we all have the same Father. We have the same faith. Yet, among some believers people allow covetousness, pride, and arrogance to come in between the unity and camaraderie they are supposed to enjoy with their brothers and sisters.
Do you assume a Brother with more Bible knowledge looks down on you because you are a new Christian? You are probably wrong. Are you projecting your insecurity onto him? Do you look down on a sister who hasn’t yet reached your level of wisdom? Weren’t you once in their place? The greeting of Peter’s second letter in verses 1-2 read,
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
The faith we received is equal to that of Peter, Paul, your pastor, and all the other believers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every single one of them sinned and was forgiven, just like us. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin or even our righteousness. He see Jesus’ righteousness, whether our name is Billy Graham or Donna Campbell. But we can’t allow that to be an excuse to remain immature. We are supposed to increase in knowledge, increase in faith, and be transformed to Christ’s image.
Jesus makes it possible for us to grow. His Spirit is in us, working through every experience to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. He has promised us eternal life, a life we live now culminating in the promise of New Jerusalem. He said He will always be with us and never forsake us. He has promised us so much more. Through Jesus, we have everything we need to live godly lives. Verses 3-4 read,
“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, 4 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.”
He allows us to take part in the divine nature, which is the essence of God, His Spirit, His desires, and His character. That is unfathomable to most people. It is not just some believers, not just the apostles, or only the prophets, or solely the pastors, but all of us. We only have to believe in Jesus. We only have to allow the Spirit to do His work in us. Verses 5-7 say,
“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.”
We can make a conscious effort to lean on our faith, remembering who God is, and supplement our faith by choosing goodness, especially if pride or other sin is trying to get in there. We must purposely imitate Jesus, even though it goes against our nature. We want to partake in God’s nature not our own. Making those choices increases our knowledge of God, which in turn makes us more self-controlled and steadfast. Those characteristics are like God. It is Jesus’ image we wish to reflect. Maturity is godliness. Godliness is not without purpose. The Christian who is okay with being worldly doesn’t do much in the way of serving the Lord and impacting the Kingdom of God. Verses 8-9 read,
“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. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
If we are not maturing, it’s like we forgot that we’re saved. We don’t remember that the Spirit of the Living God resides in us or that we are not who we used to be. If we don’t see Jesus in ourselves, how can we expect the world to see Him in us?
Are we being godly, are we being like Jesus or are we resenting people, comparing ourselves to them, or disdaining our brothers and sisters for errors and differences? Doesn’t the world do that enough? Do we have to contribute to hating? We are supposed to be like the world. We have a mission. We have a purpose. Being Christ-like, exemplifying and glorifying our Lord achieves so much! Our transformation testifies to Christ and the miracle of Salvation. It brings us ever closer to Him, and continues our transformation. Verses 10-11 read,
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
We are not fighting against our fellow believers, we are together in this. We should be supporting maturity, teaching one another, encouraging one another, serving one another, and even exhorting one another. Peter refused to let the church forget their goal of being Christ-like. We have the same responsibility to each other. Verses 12-15 read,
“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”
Jesus had told Peter that he was going to die for Him. That is the ultimate following of Christ. Knowing that fact could have made him prideful, it would have before Jesus’ resurrection. But Peter had grown. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and he had let faith blossom into godliness. Rather than snub the followers who were not as godly as he was, he encouraged them to be godly. He encouraged believers to help each other as they walked.
Rather than dismiss the person who may not know as much about Jesus as you do how about teaching them with compassion and love? Instead of resenting the person who has a gift you don’t think you have, how about asking them to teach you? We are one body with one faith and one Lord.