How often have you heard of someone with a great reputation committing some criminal act? Newspaper articles have often read: “Upstanding mayor arrested for embezzlement”, “Preacher caught in affair”, or “Teacher arrested for drunk driving.” Each of these positions is considered to be respectable. When individuals ruin their reputations, it hurts the rest of those who are working in their fields.
Anytime we see people do these types of things, it affects our trust. We no longer believe that their character is intact. Our world needs Christian character to make a comeback. How can we do it? Let’s examine a few ways from 2 Peter 1:9-11.
#1 REMEMBER WE HAVE BEEN CLEANSED FROM SIN (v. 9)
After describing all the types of traits that a Christian should have, Peter informs us that anyone who does not possess these is shortsighted. They have forgotten that they were cleansed from their old sins. Imagine developing a disease such as dementia which begins to destroy the mind. As it progresses, you would forget more and more. Some have been seen on social media asking their loved ones if they recognize them, only to be told no. That must be so devastating for children to see their parents forget them, or for a spouse to see their loved one wither. Yet, all of these do not come close to the heartache that will be felt by those who willingly forget what Jesus has done for them. Those who intentionally sin and are separated from God will not be with Him in eternity (Isaiah 59:1-2). We were cleansed to stay with the Lord, not return to the vomit of sin (2 Peter 2:18-22).
#2. BE DILIGENT IN FAITHFULNESS (v. 10)
Does Peter say that we are going to be okay if we, at one time, had the traits of verses 5-8? Not in the slightest, he actually says that we must be even more diligent to make our calling and election sure! A government official can lose an election if they do not continue to work and bring good to the people. A Christian can at one time be saved, only to later lose that salvation due to sin. Simon the Sorcerer had become a Christian, and seemingly immediately committed sin. Peter told him to repent of his wickedness and pray to God that he could be forgiven (Acts 8:22). If the profession of faith was enough, why then did it matter that Simon stumbled? It mattered to him just as it should matter to us. We must stay on the right path, or risk being on the outside looking in.
#3. ONLY THE CHARACTER OF A CHRISTIAN GETS INTO HEAVEN (v. 11)
You might be thinking: “The Christian life is so hard, and I do not know why it is worth it.” I understand. I have often wondered how many people refuse to become Christians simply because they do not believe that they can quit committing certain sins that they are entangled in. If we want to know why it is worth living a life being set apart (Romans 12:1-2), we have to look at what Peter says in verse 11. He informs us that those who continue in the Gospel and serve the Lord will be supplied an entrance into Heaven. This directly means that those who are not like the last few verses will not be supplied an entrance. While Jesus said that He would prepare a place for me, that mansion being given to me is held to upholding the Law of Christ.
God loves us so much that He was willing to send a Savior even when we did not deserve one (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). What are we going to do with that great show of love? Will we accept it and all the responsibilities that come with it? Will we take better care of our Christian character? Will God look at us and say, “well done”? We can all do better!