1 John 2–You Can’t Follow Christ and Not Be Different

When one decides to follow Jesus, it is not simply an acknowledgment that He is God, it is an acknowledgment that we cannot be saved without God’s grace.  In that vein, John emphasizes that when one submits to His lordship, that person’s life and actions change. The spirit enters and begins to transform us into Christ’s spiritual image.  It is not a takeover, where one loses their ability to choose, and count on it, it is not like one becomes perfect immediately.  Instead, it is a change in attitude and priority, a world where God and others take priority over self.
 
In our personal lives, we all have areas that require a daily choice to acknowledge who is the boss. Those areas can cover a wide range of sin and selfishness. We, as God’s chosen, seek to live lives that honor God and relinquish control of our walk to the Lord. John reminds us that it is a choice we make several times a day, but, in the end, if Jesus is in our lives, those lives should look different.  Whatever the areas of our lives that we continue to try to control, we need to simply ask the Lord to give us the faith to release them to Him. when we do, we will find that God will only improve those areas. He will take the stress and the manipulation away, and leave a life of peace and purpose!
 
God Bless You

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.

1 John 1–The Truth of Christ and Salvation

In his first letter, John gets right to the point. If he were in a trial before a jury, He would say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen, ate with, listened to, and literally held the Word, the author, and creator of all things. I want you to enjoy the relationship that I enjoy with God. But, to make that a reality, one must first recognize that God will not deal with sin. If you claim to be free from sin, you are deluded! If you recognize that you are a sinner and confess that sin, God, through Jesus will forgive the sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. BUT, to claim to be perfect makes Him out to be a liar and prevents Him from forgiving and cleansing you from sin and death!”
 
It is a simple reality. Romans 3:23 tells us that we are all sinners. Romans 5:8 reminds us that God demonstrated His love for us by dying for our sins and accepting us where we are. Romans 6:23 tells us that while the wages of sin are death, God’s gift is eternal life through Jesus. Finally, He reminds us in Romans 10:9-10, that if we confess His lordship in our life and believe him to be God and Savior, He will redeem us! So, John is simply reiterating the simple truth that God wants to be in a relationship with us.  He does, however, require redemption be received on His terms, not ours! 
God Bless You

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our[a] joy complete.

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

This is the message we have heard from him and declares to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

2 Peter 3–God Is Patient

Peter wraps up his letter to the church by giving the greatest reminder of all. God is not slow, He is patient. To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. In being ready to be done with this world and these human beings, God has been slow to act. How grateful we should be as a body to know that God does not give up easily. Generation after generation of Christians have lived in societies that have abandoned God and chased sin with abandon. Still in the midst there have been the faithful that have continued to live lives according to their commitment to God, allowing Him to transform them and use them to build the body of faith. 
We would be lost, except that God patiently allowed us to come to know Him and follow him. Imagine in your own lives how many times you would have given up on you! Then realize that our Heavenly Father never leaves us or gives up on us. He leads with His spirit and moves us to be people of purpose, and people that build a legacy that lasts well beyond our meager lives.  We must be as patient with God and His plan as He has been with us. He will do things in His perfect timing, and we will be able to see His fingerprints all over the blessings that fill our lives. In the meanwhile, we must continue to trust in Him and His plan to produce an abundant and purposeful life for us.
God Bless You

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[b] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[c]

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 2 Part 1–No False Teachers Allowed

God has never tolerated Heresy. From the time of Lucifer, when He took a third of the angelic host in rebellion, God has dealt directly with those that would choose evil over God. God cast angels out of Heaven, destroyed most of mankind by the flood.  He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and has dealt with false teachers and cults.  God loves His people and wants to be in a relationship with them. He will not, tolerate that relationship, however, if it is not based on faith and trust in Him. God is a gentleman.  He will not force His way into folk’s lives. He is also, however, not weak.  He does not settle for co-leadership. Either Christ leads and Christians submit to his leadership, or run their own lives.  He does not do a Hybrid version. 
 
In our lives, we try so hard, oftentimes, to help God out. Rather than wait on His timing and leadership; we take matters into our own hands.  Like the false teachers of old, we try to change the message ever so slightly to allow us to manage our lives by committee with God.  Simply put, God does not allow that.  Either we allow him to lead, or we walk on our own and suffer the consequence of running our own show. If we will allow Christ to lead and follow His truth; then, He will give us an abundant life of purpose and blessing.
 
God Bless You

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh[c] and despise authority.

2 Peter 2 Part 1–God Does not Suffer Fools

Petre next addresses the issue of false teaching within the church.  It was certainly a problem in the growing church to see people spin off the original truth of God’s grace and gospel. Some made the faith seem like a package of rituals and rules, while others treated the grace of God as a get out of jail free card. Peter re-emphasized the critical truth. God will not be mocked.  Since the time of Noah, God has dealt with lies and heresy.  He will not tolerate fools changing the truth to fit their circumstances. He will also punish those that are evil and seek to lead others away from Christ for their personal gain.
 
God does not want to be used as a pawn then or now. He has provided the church with grace and redemption. In exchange, the Lord simply wants our humble submission to following His lead in this walk to eternity.  If we twist the faith to meet our criteria, he will neither bless it or tolerate it.  It is not a checklist of rules and tasks it is a relationship that grows as we get to know God and walk with Him daily.  Jesus said it best in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; then all these things will be added to you!”
 
God Bless You

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God a did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;[c] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,[d] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge[e] in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority

2 Peter 1 Part 2–The Reality of Christ

Peter reminds the people he is writing to that his experience with the Lord was real, personal and live. He was actually there when God said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Peter walked on water with Jesus, he helped to feed the 5000. He had breakfast prepared by the risen Lord.  Peter tells these folks to understand what they have been called into. Jesus is real, He is alive and He is preparing those he has called to become like Him and remain with him throughout eternity.  That is no small thing.
 
The same holds true today. We have a risen Savior. He has called us to be in a relationship with Him.  It is not a form of religious discipline; no, it is an actual living, breathing personal relationship with the great I AM.  we need to be thankful, watchful and humbly submitted to His leadership.  He wants us to have purposeful and amazing lives. There are no catches, no hidden agendas.  He simply loves us and has given all to be with us! Let’s join him in that!!!
 
God Bless You

Therefore, brothers,[g] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1 Part 1–Walk Equipped to Live a Great Life

As Peter opens his second letter, he opens with very practical instruction. Employ the right tools to walk with the Lord.  Peter declared that walking with God helps His chosen to avoid the chaos of the world and its culture.  So, having decided to walk with the Lord, one should add goodness to their faith–be better in your attitude and actions than the world expects. then add knowledge–know why you believe what you believe, ground yourself in the word and the teachings of those God uses to lead.  Couple the actions and knowledge with self -control and discipline so that you will be consistent in your walk with the Lord. Peter then calls Christians to persevere. In the midst of the perseverance, add Godliness and love for one another. Then one has the whole package to live like Christ, walk with Him, and minister to those that need Him.
 
Conversely, if Christians walk like the rest of the world, they miss out on the blessings, the growth, and the power to following him daily.  It is tantamount to standing in the midst of the seven wonders of the world; but, being so nearsighted that you cannot see anything.  Peter is concerned to see the Church miss the blessings that rest right in front of them.  So, Peter emplores the church to walk prepared for life and embrace all that Christ offers to lead His Chosen through this Amazing Journey.
 
God Bless You

a

Simon Peter, a servant, and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

3  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10  Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[1] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.