ODJ: Participating with Christ

May 27, 2018 

READ: 2 Peter 1:1-11 

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.8).

John Calvin (1509–64), in his commentary on 2 Peter 1:4, suggests, “The purpose of the Gospel is to make us sooner or later like God . . . a kind of deification.” Many scholars have speculated about what the reformer meant here. Did he really mean that in some mysterious way we can share God’s nature? Most agree that Calvin’s words are based on the idea of being “engrafted” into God through Jesus. Because of Christ living within us through His Spirit (see John 14:20), believers can pursue spiritual growth and transformation.

The opening of Peter’s second letter, probably written shortly before his martyrdom, contains a call to live a life set apart for God while growing in maturity. Because God has given His children all they need to live a life that honours Him through sharing “in his divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4), we should use our energy and effort to grow in Him (v.5). Because we’ve been called by God, we also need to “work hard” to live for Christ (v.10). How? By pursuing moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love (vv.5-7). Then we’ll receive “a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom” (v.11).

But we don’t pursue these qualities on our own. All we need to live for God is found in Him (v.3). Through relying on His Spirit living within us, we can grow in these virtues. We can exercise self-control instead of lashing out; we can endure suffering with patience and hope; we can grow in knowing God through His Word. And in this way our lives will display the imprint of God and communicate His love and grace to a world hungry for it.

May we “work hard” to grow in Jesus—even as we rest in His loving care.

—Amy Boucher Pye

365-day plan: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Read through the apostle Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). What strikes you as you compare Paul’s and Peter’s lists? (See 2 Peter 1:5-7.) 
Throughout your day, focus on pursuing one of the attributes Peter lists. Before you go to sleep review how your heart and actions were changed.