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If You Do These Things, You Shall Never Fall
December 26, 2010
The apostle Peter wrote that we must add to our basic faith in Jesus Christ, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity. Not only must we grow in the spirit in these areas, most likely in the order in which Peter presented them, but he said that we must have an abundance of these things in order to make our calling and election sure. He also said that we had to do those things in order to keep from falling. Sobering words to contemplate. How do we measure up?
If You Do These Things, You Shall Never Fall
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 12-26-2010
Presented to Load church of Christ on 01-02-2011
2 Peter 1:1 "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting"
For several weeks we have studied how that, as growing Christians, we move through different levels of development into spiritual maturity. Once we have added these layers to our lives, we come to the end of the commandment, which is charity – love your neighbor as yourself. Charity is love that is shown simply because it is the righteous thing to do, and not because the recipient earned the love, or even deserved it.
Peter had further to say about these things that take us through spiritual growth into maturity. He said that these things must be in the Christian, but also that they must abound. Abound, according to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, means:
1: to be present in large numbers or in great quantity : be prevalent
2: to be copiously supplied
Peter said that we are not only to have those things in our lives, but in great quantity.
So said also the apostle Paul:
Philippians 1:9 "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
If we abound in those things, Peter said that we will never quit bearing the fruit of knowledge of the Lord. We will not be dead trees, fit only to be cut down and thrown on the fire.
Jesus had this to say:
John 15:5 "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
As Peter said in his opening remarks, we must give due, careful attention to building ourselves to spiritual maturity by pursuing faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. An abundance of those will make us fruitful. As only the mature plant bears fruit, so only the mature Christian bears ripe spiritual fruit.
Peter also wrote “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
If we do not add those things to our lives, we are blind. We see the trees, but not the forest – we cannot see into the distance. That means that we become insulated from things distant, including memory of our own condition, over-laden with sins, before Jesus washed those sins away. We stay in a state of spiritual immaturity, unable to bear fruit, unable to function as God intended.
And Peter had this to say: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting.”
God has called and elected the saved. Contrary to what the Calvinists and their offspring teach, you can fall from that calling and election. Peter instructed the brethren to give due attention to securing their calling and election. How? By doing the things that he had just listed, and that we have just spent the past several weeks studying. It is this application of these characteristics – or, as I have come to define them, stages of spiritual growth – that assures our eternal life.
The apostle Paul also wrote of this:
Romans 6:22 "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
While in this life, we bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit of God:
Ephesians 5:9 "(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)"
By diligently adding the things that Peter mentioned, we will be fruitful. If we are fruitful, we make our calling and election sure.
Revelation 22:17 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
“Whosoever will” indicates that anyone can drink of the water of life.
1 Timothy 2:3 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
Paul told Timothy that God wants all men to be saved. Why, then, are not all saved? Why is it possible for one to fall from the calling and election of God?
Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
Matthew 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
“Few there be that find it”. A striking statement that lets us know that we must diligently search for the way of righteousness, as Peter also said. The calling and election belong to those who, when they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, diligently pursue the knowledge that leads to righteousness.
Revelation 22:14 "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
The gospel message is for all. Anyone who accepts it will be saved.
Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
But, if we do not make our calling and election sure, we will fall from the grace of God. Let us diligently seek Him, and bring forth fruits of righteousness.