Last update, we covered 2 Peter 1:2-4. We know that it is through an intimate knowledge of God that we receive everything we need to walk in The Spirit.
Now, Peter shows us how to achieve that, step by step. Because, though each step is a gift, not attainable on our own, we are expected to build on these gifts, forging a more intimate bond with our Creator, and thus becoming everything He created us to be.
2 Peter 1:5
5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith . . .
So we are building a relationship, and faith is the cornerstone. Actually, it’s the whole foundation. The word “faith” here, is the Greek word, “pistis,” which is also rendered, “belief,” and refers to the living, Divinely implanted principle. Like the knowledge in the earlier verses, we cannot achieve it on our own.
In Romans 10:17, Paul said, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
This is such a cool verse because it literally means that the voice of Christ ignites The Holy Spirit in those who belong to Him, allowing them to hear the truth. How cool is that? So, we hear The Word of God, recognize it as truth, and so believe.
It’s no surprise that it all starts with faith, since that is the one thing on which our salvation rests:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'”
But way back in Genesis 15:6, “[Abram] believed The Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”
Righteousness! Before Jesus ever became flesh, died, and rose again! Above all else, God wants us to believe in Him. Some would say He wants obedience more than anything, but here’s what John had to say about that.
1 John 5:3-5:
“3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
If we believe God is who He is, disobedience is no longer an option, as it brings immediate conviction from The Holy Spirit, who makes us truly repentant. It is that intimate knowledge of God that gives us a contrite spirit.
The word “believe” in all its forms appears no less than 346 times in the Bible. It is that important to God. I haven’t even begun to count the word “faith!”
And there’s a theme running throughout. Belief or faith, is always accompanied by blessing, such as a name change: Abram to Abraham; Jacob to Israel, etc., monetary blessings, miracles, healings, and most important of all, eternal life. Likewise, unbelief brings a curse: rebellion, loss, the inability to perform or receive miracles or healing, and ultimately death, just as it did in Eden.
So we know it is important to God that we believe in Him, and we know that that ability is given to us by Him, but Jesus made it clear that our faith is something that can and should grow.
15“Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
How do we “grow” our faith?
Prepare to get uncomfortable. Because, that is exactly what it takes. Just as Peter stepped out of a perfectly good boat and onto a stormy sea, so we must step out of our comfort zone. We must forget what we know with our minds, eyes, ears, etc., and act on what we profess to believe, keeping our eyes glued to The One who holds us above the waves.
James goes into this in detail in chapter 2, but the bottom line is, “. . . faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Not the action WE decide God wants from us, but obedience to the Holy Spirit’s voice. Which leads us once more to that intimate relationship with our Creator. For how can you obey a voice that you don’t recognize? And how can you recognize someone’s voice without spending time with Him and getting to know Him?
God is the source. But He will not follow us around, begging for attention, (unlike some children, who shall remain nameless,) and He will not compete for our time, like a used car salesman. He will wait patiently for us to come to Him and say, “Here I am, Lord. I want to know you better. ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.’—Mark 9:24″
Well, we have our foundation now. Next time, we’ll start on the framing.
God’s grace and peace be yours,
Also in this series:
- Part 1: Intimacy with God