Summary: The paths that we choose today, will determine our final destination.
In my office, I have a poem by Edgar A. Guest, about the roads we take in life.
The easy roads are crowded and the level roads are jammed; the pleasant little rivers with the drifting folks are crammed. But off yonder, where it’s rocky, where you get a better view, you will find the ranks are thinning and the travelers are few. Where the going’s smooth and pleasant you will always find the throng, for the many more’s the pity – seem to like to drift along. But the steeps that call for courage, and the task that’s hard to do in the end results in glory for the never – wavering few.
The point of the poem is simply this: where you end up one day will be determined by the pathway you choose today.
Peter speaks to us here in this passage about the importance of Christian character development. Last time, we considered why Christian character should be our priority in life. Peter says it should be priority for us because when we make Christian character development our daily pursuit…
• It will insure that our life is not wasted. (v. 8)
• It will insure our proper appreciation of salvation (v. 9)
• It will present a positive witness to others (v. 10a)
• It will prevent us from bringing reproach to the name of Christ (v. 10b)
• And it will guarantee a rich welcome for us when we enter heaven (v. 11)
But if this is going to be true in our lives, where do we start? How do we proceed? What path must we take to know the benefits associated with developing Christ-like character? Let’s notice what Peter tells us.
I. It begins with a personal and growing knowledge of Christ (vv. 1-3)
a. We develop Christ-like character by virtue of knowing Christ.
i. This knowledge of Christ is first of all, a personal knowledge.
ii. It is one thing to know about someone, but it is another thing altogether to know them.
b. This personal knowledge of our God and Savior is possible because….
i. The Grace of God
1. Peter tells us in (v. 1) this is made possible “through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2. Through His sinless life, He was uniquely qualified to suffer for our sins in our place, so that through faith in Him, we might be made right with God.
ii. The Goodness of God
1. A personal knowledge of God is made possible as well because of God’s pursuit of us.
2. Verse 3, tells us that God calls us, “by His own glory and goodness.”
3. God lovingly pursues us and calls us to enter into a personal relationship with Himself.
iii. The Gift of God
1. In verse 1, Peter tells us that this faith that is ours is something we have “received.”
a. In other words, it is not something we earn or deserve, but something which God allows us to have through faith.
2. It is interesting to not that the word Peter uses here that is translated “received,” refers to winning something by lot.
a. The idea is that something has won something, like the lottery.
b. A person who wins the lottery has nothing to brag about.
c. Their winning isn’t due to their intelligence or worth.
d. In fact, the odds against anyone actually winning the lottery are so great that when it does happen, it is truly amazing!
3. In the same way, we cannot boast or brag about having come to know Christ as our personal Savior.
a. It is something that our participation in is due solely to God’s grace and goodness.
b. That’s why the bible describes it as being a “gift.”
The Message paraphrase of Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us, “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play that major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!
c. Salvation is not mainly about forgiveness of sins, it is mainly a fellowship with Jesus.
i. This possible relationship becomes a personal relationship, when I choose to receive God’s free gift of eternal life through faith in Christ.
ii. This is where getting on the right path begins.
1. You must repent, that is, turn around, from walking from Christ and accept God’s gift of a personal relationship with Christ and the privilege of being able to walk to Him.
2. Becoming like Christ begins with a personal and growing knowledge of Christ.
II. It continues through reliance on God’s power and promises (vv. 3-4)