“Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me”
2 Peter 1:14
The life of the true believer is lived with the reality of eternity in view. Our life is to be held in the context of our departure and our readiness to stand and give an answer for the life we have lived here (2 Corinthians 5:10)*. Peter’s epistle is the result of seeing his life from the eternal perspective. His exhortation to the people of God is one of “endeavoring” to remind them to continue to add to their faith, to grow in the virtue of Christ unto godliness and love. There is a calm and settled approach to his departure from this world. His care is not for himself; his heart is for the condition and welfare of the Body of Christ. They who live with an eternal perspective cannot be uninvolved in the welfare of His people.
“And I will make every effort to ensure that after my departure, you will be able to recall these things at all times”
2 Peter 1:15
A life unaffected with a concern for the condition of God’s people is the revelation of a life lived unto itself. The eternal Love of God in Christ must produce within His own an expression in harmony with the things that concern Him; to love the things He loves and to hate the things He hates. His anointing rests upon those who walk and live as He is.
“But unto the Son he saith… Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore, God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows”
“Transiency is stamped on all our possessions, occupations, and delights. We have the hunger for eternity in our souls, the thought of eternity in our hearts, the destination for eternity written on our inmost being, and the need to ally ourselves with eternity proclaimed by the most short-lived trifles of time. Either these things will be the blessing or the curse of our lives. Which do you mean that they shall be for you?”
– Alexander MacLaren
*“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”
2 Corinthians 5:10
“I am the resurrection and the life”: does the declaration end there? Does it not go on to say, “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”? Is the old thunder “come forth” nothing now but a hollow and impotent whisper? Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever?If ye then be risen with Christ, prove your resurrection by your consecration“
– Joseph Parker
“Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act”
– Richard Baxter
“The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness. Its joys are ravishing, its peace profound, its humility the deepest, its power world-shaking, its love enveloping, its simplicity that of a trusting child”
– Thomas Raymond Kelly
“And Jesus answering, said to him, “It has been written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve Him only”
Serving God will always be proportional to the condition of our hearts. Divided loyalties result in a tainted service unto Him. Jesus said unequivocally “No man can serve two masters…”. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to bring an individual to the singular desire to serve God. Purity of heart (a heart void of mixture or agendas) is the criteria for wholly serving God. Within the core of human nature lies the unbridled and undisciplined chaos of the fall. This results in the lawlessness of the cravings and relentless pursuit for self-realization, self-gratification, and self-promotion. This inherent evil produces the conflicts, wars and grievous atrocities in the Body of Christ around us.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
It is the war within that produces the conflicts without. The horrific need for control and recognition and satisfaction is the curse of the religious world. The great deception here is the promotion of self under the guise of serving God. Those who crucified Jesus did so in the name of God through the innate evil of self-serving ambition. Lust, self-love, covetousness, envy and jealousy are mitigating factors that rob the heart of its singular desire to serve and honor God. A divided heart is an evil heart. A divided heart is an unstable heart. A heart driven by a passion for anything other than the love of God will, in the end, betray Him. Dying to self is the only means to a pure and single heart. God has no other answer for the human condition.
“…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin”
Freedom in Christ comes by our co-crucifixion with Him. It is in our daily walk of following Him that we are freed from the desires and lusts of self. Our ability to serve God with a whole heart will be proportional to the depth of our co-crucifixion with Him.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In the discipleship of picking up our cross and following Him His Love will be seen. Only disciples have the ability to show forth the wonder of the Love of Christ. True disciples of Christ are easily seen by the purity of love that flows to others.
“Should the whole frame of nature be unhinged, and all outward friends and supporters prove false and deceitful, our worldly hopes and schemes be disappointed, and possessions torn from us, and the floods of sickness, poverty, and disgrace overwhelm our soul with an impetuous tide of trouble; the sincere lover of God, finding that none of these affects his portion and the object of his panting desires, retires from them all to God his refuge and hiding place, and there feels his Saviour incomparably better, and more than equivalent to what the whole of the universe can ever offer, or rob him of; and his tender mercies, unexhausted fullness, and great faithfulness, yield him consolation and rest; and enable him, what time he is afraid, to put his trust in him”
– William Dunlop
Let us not stop in our pursuit of God until this be the temper and the very spirit of all that we are.
“While salvation is a free gift, the ‘winning Christ’ can only be through unreserved consecration and unquestioning obedience. Nor is this a hardship, but the highest privilege”
– Hudson Taylor
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ“
– Philippians 3:8