Evidence Of True Spiritual Growth
2 Peter 1:8-9
INTRODUCTION: The life within will reproduce that image if we but diligently cooperate with God and use the means He has lavishly given us. And the amazing thing is this: as the image of Christ is reproduced in us, the process does not destroy our own personalities. We still remain uniquely ourselves. God only makes originals, no copies.
Peter has said that if the believer actually has a desire to grow in this knowledge and will be careful to build a superstructure, consisting of these virtues that have been named, on the foundation that has been laid, then he will not be idle in his pursuit of this full knowledge and grace.
The Christian life begins with faith, but that faith must lead to spiritual growth, unless it is dead faith. But dead faith is not saving faith (James 2:14-21). Faith leads to growth and growth leads to practical results in life and service. People who have this kind of Christian experience are not likely to fall prey to apostate false teachers.
GREAT QUESTION: How can the believer be certain that he is growing spiritually?
I. THE CLAIMS OF THE GODLY LIFE. 8-9
"For if these things are yours"
The possession of the Christian virtues by the believer is a natural, expected thing by reason of the fact that he has become a partaker of the divine nature (1-4).
Not a spasmodic possession, present one day and absent the next. If they were not present in the life, one could well discount the person's claim of being a child of God.
These qualities of character do exist "within us" because we possess the divine nature. We must cultivate them so that they increase and produce fruit in and through our lives.
EXAMPLE: I must mine what is mine.
John 15:4, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."
Vincent, in Greek ...
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