4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

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Be Diligent

Posted On October 31, 2018

2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”

I do not think that there is a better motivational verse for godly living than 2 Peter 3:14. The main reason I think this is due to the way that Peter writes this verse. He does not come to us and admonish us to see what we would lose if we did not live sanctified lives, but he comes and proclaims, “Look! Look at what you gain!” It is a beautiful joy that overflows Peter’s heart, and it should stir us up, as well!

Verse 13 says that “according to God’s promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” Then verse 14 draws the inference for daily life of this hope: “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these things, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace.”

Yet, that raises a question for us. How can we sinners hope to be found without spot or blemish? There is a parallel that helps with our answer. In 1 John 1:7 the Apostle John writes, “If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.”

Simply, John is saying that if we are to be at peace and be spotless in the sight of God, the blood of the Lamb must cleanse us. Revelation 13:8 says, “Christ is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.” What does this mean? This means that when God planned the world and spoke it into existence in the span of six days, he knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the forbidden fruit; he knew that sin would bring death; he knew that Christ’s bride would be destroyed by sin and worthy of hell. But God already had a plan to draw us back to himself. And at the center of that plan is Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain. Only he could save sinners, and wash them as white as snow!

Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Blood had to be shed, for you and for me to enter into heaven and live eternally.

We sing a well-known hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and in that hymn, a beautiful stanza is written,

See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow, and love flow mingled down; did ‘ere such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Believer, the Father sees the wounds on the Son’s head, his hands, and his feet, and because of Christ, the perfect and singular sacrifice, our sins are forgiven, and we are entirely acceptable to God.

But, do not miss a crucial point here. If we can go back to 1 John 1:7 for a moment, notice that both peace and spotlessness depend on our walking in the light as God is in the light.

When Peter says, “Be zealous to be found by God without spot or blemish and at peace,” he means the same thing John does when he says, “Walk in the light,” and the same thing Jude means when he says in verse 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

As the Apostle Peter has shown us before, there is an intimate connection between doctrine and life. The false teachers, who Peter confronts in this letter, who denied Christ’s return in order to embrace immorality, show us that without right doctrine, right living is impossible. However, we must not think that we have properly understood doctrine if our lives are not affected by it. Our confession can be solid as a rock, but we have not really understood the Scriptures if our actions are not changed as a result of our union with Christ.

Those who rightly understand and long for the world to come, our eternal home, will be concerned with the transformation of themselves in their lives. They will desire for their lives to be a foretaste of what is to come! Those who really love righteousness will seek to be spotless and pure. John Calvin writes, “He who waits for the new heavens, must begin with renewal as to himself, and diligently aspire after it; but they who cleave to their own filth, think nothing, it is certain, of God’s kingdom, and have no taste for anything but for this corrupt world.”

As we look to the promise of our new and eternal home, where righteousness dwells and in which the glories of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, a supernatural power will light our hearts anew us with a zeal for purity and peace.

Only if we are in Christ will we be spotless to enter the world to come. His righteousness imputed to us in our justification will be the only thing that secures our entry into heaven. Our justification reveals itself in our works. As we strive for gospel obedience; we will also strive to walk in the light! We rejoice in the gift of Jesus’ perfect righteousness and should remember that this gift must motivate us to holy living for Christ.

Do you need some motivation today? It is beautifully found in the promise of the new heavens and new earth that shines so bright with God’s righteousness and glory. When heaven is clearly in view, how can we not walk in the light!

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4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

Beauty on the Inside Around the corner from where I live, a house is for sale. In bold green letters, the lawn sign reads: “I’m Gorgeous Inside!” The message is surprising. From the street, the house is thoroughly ordinary, even run-down. It’s a seventies-era raised...

A Christian Reading Manifesto

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Modern technology has launched us into the stratosphere of learning. With the click of a mouse or a few keystrokes, we can access information from around the world and gain a treasure chest of knowledge. Smartphones are at the forefront of the new technological...

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