Summary: For becoming a mature Christian, the seed of faith planted within a believer by the Spirit of God is cultivated and developed into right living by the Word of God for producing the fruit of God.
MATURE CHRISTIANS ARE LIKE RED DELICIOUS APPLES!
Based on 2 Peter 1:1-11
As we begin our study of Second Peter, consider the apple.
How did this red delicious apple come to be a red delicious apple?
Just as there can be no red delicious apple without the planting of an apple seed, there can be no fully grown Christian without the planting of the seed of Christian faith.
Christian life begins with a seed of faith. The instant we meet God’s requirements for salvation, the seed of Christian faith is planted within us - instantaneous spiritual rebirth – meaning that the seed of a new spirit has been planted in us. You might say that we have received a spiritual implant.
The spiritual implant I have received is equal to the implant you received. An identical spiritual seed is planted in all who believe.
2 Peter 1:1-2 . . .
The second epistle of Peter was addressed (2:1) to “those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours.” In Christ, believers are equal.
Peter wanted all Christians to realize that all people of faith stand as equals before God - no matter what their lineage or background might be. We all begin the Christian life in the same way: The seed of the Spirit is planted within us - even though we did not deserve it.
What did Peter say (1:1)) was the basis upon which we obtained the start of a new spiritual life? Was it due to any righteousness of our own? No. It was due to the righteousness of “our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Notice that the apostle Peter refers to Jesus as God. It seems that, due to false teachers going around trying to sabotage the Christian faith, Peter thought it necessary that we be reminded of the deity of Christ. He says that our Lord’s DEITY is the reason why His followers should not subscribe to any doctrine other than scriptural truth.
The argument goes like this:
Jesus was DIVINE, so you would have to agree that, if He taught it - whether in His own words or through the words of His apostles - Christians ought to believe it. Christ taught it; that settles it; Christians believe it!
Then Peter makes the point (1:2) that, as you grow in your knowledge of God, a multiplication process takes effect - so that those of you who are SAVED will experience GRACE + PEACE beyond your expectations - “May grace and peace be multiplied in your life.”
I hope you have found it to be true in your Christian walk, that the more you study God’s Word and put it into practice, the more you realize that the GRACE of God is sufficient for every need AND the PEACE of God is yours to experience!
2 Peter 1:3-4 . . . Again, consider the apple:
The seed that produced this red delicious apple had to have a whole lot of help in order to grow from a seed to a tree to an apple. Whatever the seed of this apple needed for growth was provided – either by God or by man or by both working together. “We are laborers together with God.”
Peter tells us (1:3-4) that God provides what we need to help us grow as Christians. God has given us everything we need for developing a godly life. His instructions have been provided for us.
Where do we find the instructions for what we need to know in order to grow in the likeness of Christ? “Thy word, O Lord, is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Once the seed of the Word is sown in our minds . . . takes root in our hearts - what must we do in order for the seed to sprout and grow into a full grown plant that bears fruit? We must cultivate it. This is what the psalmist may have had in mind when he said:
“Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against God.”
As we cultivate the seed of the Word that has been planted within us, two necessary things happen – one positive and the other negative:
On the positive side, the Bible teaches us that the promises of God enable us to STAND FIRM in our Christian faith - so that we will not fall for just any teaching that comes along. Why? Because we are convinced that if we remain true to the Word, one day we shall partake of DIVINE nature – meaning that we shall mature in the likeness of Christ because our nature is being transformed by the Word of God.
You stay with the Word - and your nature will change for the better! You will indeed be transformed by the renewing of your mind.