By Edna M. Thompson
Siloam Baptist Church
Many people feel they are ineffective, unproductive, and unable to make the right choices in life. In our lesson (taken from 2 Peter 1), Peter says that the inner strength needed to face life with new assurance and hope comes because of our knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ.
Christians know that God does not exclude difficulties from the Christian life. The difficulty of the Christian life is not solely about personal battles of the flesh, but is about battles against “principalities and powers, rulers of darkness in high places.” Those who seek to live as stewards of Christ’s love can expect opposition and oppression. Christians are challenged to be effective and productive witnesses of Jesus Christ as they live and negotiate the tension between the sacred and the secular, holy and profane, prayer and politics, religion and ethics, spiritual and material. The Christian life can only be productive if persons take up Christ’s mandate to love God and the things that God loves.
The holiness of Christ makes life worth living. To be a Christian and live a godly life is to live in the awareness of the divine nature within us – which has been made known to us in Christ. Through Christ’s power and promises, Christians have everything needed to live godly lives. It is the knowledge of Christ that helps Christians overcome the difficulties of living out the purpose and meaning of God’s salvation. The knowledge of Christ frees us to grown spiritually from the corruption of sin, and become effective and productive in our Christian witness.
From the study of previous lessons on Christian holiness, we know that godliness does not mean pious living without a commitment to God’s love and justice in the world. The Book of 2 peter provides a theological interpretation of how to handle difficulties, false teachings and illusions that arise when one’s commitments to godliness necessarily brings opposition. Godliness means having the proper attitude or piety toward God, expressed in obedience to His will. It is the mark of Christian maturity and confirms what it means to be called to service in Jesus Christ. Godliness is necessary for being productive and facing opposition to holiness.
When faced with difficulties and sufferings, we are often drawn to reflect on questions of identity – who we are and why and how we should invest our lives. When it comes to Christian faith, such reflection is not an easy task, particularly without spiritual mentorship, study and guidance from sources dedicated to God’s life, love and reign in the world. Faced with ostracism and opposition from a culture that rewarded nonbelievers economically and politically, the early Christians found strength through their relationship in Christ.
The Book of 2 Peter provides helpful guidance for those who want to be faithful and effective Christians. The scriptural and theological guidance that today’s believers find in 2 Peter require critical reflection on the virtues of Christian holiness and what these virtues mean for living spiritually productive lives.