Summary: As believers, we experience complete transformation in salvation, and yet our salvation experience is an on-going process. We are saved wholly of grace, but that does not absolve us from responsibility in our Christian walk.
The Guidance for the Saints
2 Peter 1: 9-11
Our text today is actually a continuation of the conversation we began to consider a few weeks ago. Clearly, Peter is writing to the church – to those saved by grace and added to the body of Christ. While we are not saved by works of the flesh, service and commitment to Christ always follow genuine conversion.
Here Peter offers a strong challenge to the believers regarding their walk with the Lord. Not unlike the church in our day, it appears some had grown complacent and were neglecting their commitment to Christ. While I am convinced of the believer’s security in Christ, I also know that our conversion carries certain responsibilities. While I was completely transformed in Christ at the moment of my conversion by faith, my salvation experience is on-going. While I am sealed by the Spirit, and promised eternal life in heaven, I was not shelved and released of any responsibility following salvation. We are not saved to sit and soak in the blessings of God, certain of eternal life, without any service or growth expected. As we will discover, every believer is responsible for their growth and maturity in Christ.
As we continue to move through this challenging passage, I want to examine the admonitions Peter gave as we discuss: The Guidance for the Saints.
I. The Burden of Immaturity (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. Peter warns of the effects of immaturity among believers. He spoke of:
A. The Deficiency (9a) – But he that lacketh these things… He gave a specific warning to those who lacked these things. What “things” did Peter refer? He is speaking of the varied attributes we discussed in our last study, Vvs.5-7. While the Lord provided our salvation, full and free, every believer is responsible to obtain and grow in these attributes. If these attributes are not readily found in our walk with the Lord, we are deficient in the faith and lacking those attributes necessary to fulfilling, effective Christian service. While these may be more abundant at times than others, they should always be present, in some form, in the life of the believer.
B. The Dysfunction (9a) – But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off. Failing to possess these attributes in our lives creates dysfunction within our walk with the Lord. Peter reveals a lack of these attributes affects our spiritual vision. He is not referring to receiving one’s sight at salvation, but in essence being blind to the path God has for us and failing to walk in a way that pleases Him. Apart from these essential attributes, listed in Vvs.5-7, we will not possess the vision we need, having our sight limited. We will be short-sighted in spiritual vision and fail to see the true desire of God for our lives.
No doubt we have all experienced seasons of vision problems as we walk with the Lord. Failing to walk in fellowship with Christ has immediate consequences, but we also discover that it can have detrimental implications on future endeavors as well. When our relationship with the Lord suffers, we become short-sighted, unable to see the vision God has for our future. The effects of such disobedience are rarely confined to the individual. If we lack the ability to see the vision God has for our lives and this congregation, we negatively impact the entire body!
C. The Damage (9b) – But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Finally Peter revealed an increasing danger in spiritual immaturity, resulting in a lack of vision, if left untreated. He does not imply that one loses their salvation, but their memory is also affected by spiritual immaturity. Those who fail to possess these attributes, growing in their faith, are in danger of forgetting the blessedness of salvation. They soon forget the great price that was paid for their sin. They become insensitive to the leading of the Spirit, and soon find themselves in a backslidden state.
It is impossible to adequately convey the dangers of spiritual immaturity and neglect. Once our vision begins to slip, we soon lose sight of the abundance we have received in Christ. Our passion and commitment to Him begin to slip as well. We forget all that He has done for us and the joy of receiving salvation. It is easy to become complacent and even lose one’s desire to serve the Lord and fellowship with Him. We are all responsible to grow in our faith, continually seeking to walk with the Lord and be conformed to His image.