Bible Study from 2 Peter 1:5-11
The reality & outworking of our faith!
by I Gordon
 ↩ Like I said, there are pitfalls on both sides. An example of this is from Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim's Progress knew all about this. He knew about the dangers on the left and the right, Concerning Christian's journey to the Celestial City (Heaven) He wrote 'I saw in my dream that there was a very deep ditch on the right running the entire length the valley. It is that ditch into which the blind have led the blind in every age. And both have perished miserably. On the left was a dangerous marsh that even if a good man falls into this he can find no bottom on which to stand. It was into that bog that King David once fall and would have been smothered had not he that is able pulled him out. The pathway here was also extremely narrow, and Christian had to be more careful than ever for when he tried to avoid the ditch on one side, he almost slipped into the mire on the other. And when he tried to escape the mire he had to be careful not to fall into the ditch and I heard him sigh bitterly for besides the dangers mentioned above the pathway was so dark that often when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he did not know where or upon what he should place it next.' So this is what John Bunyan wrote concerning the Christian life. You've got to be so careful and remain balanced! There are traps aplenty!
So here is a test for you... We haven't had a quiz for a while! John Bunyan mentioned a ditch and a marsh. The blind lead the blind in the former trap and yet even a good man like King David can fall into the later. So here's the question. What do the ditch and the marsh represent? For a clue, think about the types of people that fell into each of these traps. Check out the last footnote, for the answers.
 ↩ In many ways what Peter is saying in these verses, is exactly the same as what Paul wrote when he said 'work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do.' Paul wasn't asking us to work for our salvation, but to work out that which is within us. In like manner, Peter is not asking us to add these characteristics for salvation, but he wants to see an outward working of the divine nature within us. Both of these apostles wanted those who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as saviour, to also manifest something of His life through godly living.
 ↩ The great Christian, Tom Olsen, used to read this list to his son in this way (okay, so I had no idea who Tom Olson or his son was, but I do like how he read these verses) 'Add to your faith the virtue or courage of David. And to the courage of David, the knowledge of Solomon. And to the knowledge of Solomon, the patience of Job. And to the patience of Job, add the godliness of Daniel. And to be godliness of Daniel, the brotherly kindness of Jonathon. And to the brotherly kindness of Jonathon, and the love of John.
 ↩ Paul often compared discipline and self-control in the Christian life, to the same characteristics needed in the area of sports. It's funny that we can show such self-control in training our bodies for physical discipline, and yet be so slack in spiritual discipline. Take to heart the words of Paul who said 'train yourself to be godly... For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Tim 4:7-8
 ↩ Time to play 'Guess Who'. And this is a case study in perseverance. When he was seven, his family lost their home so he had to work to support them. At age nine his mother died. At twenty two, he lost his job as a store clerk. He then applied for law school but was rejected because of a lack of education. At twenty six his business partner died leaving him a huge debt that took seventeen years to pay off. At twenty eight his fiancŽe died leaving him heartbroken. At twenty nine he had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. At age thirty one he sought to be the Speaker of the state legislator but was defeated. At age thirty three he sought to be the elector but was defeated. At thirty six, he ran for Congress and lost. At age thirty nine he ran for Congress again and won! Two years later he sought re-election and lost. At age forty six he ran for the United States Senate and lost. At forty eight he sought the vice presidential nomination for his party and lost. At fifty he ran for the United States Senate again and lost. At age fifty two he was elected President of the United States of America. Who is he? He is one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever seen... Abraham Lincoln.
 ↩ You would no doubt have seen the little Christian bumper stickers that have a little white fish swimming against the flow, against the tide, with all these other nasty mean looking fish coming the other way! In its own way, it does portray what the Christian life can be like. It does mean going against the tide. That is why Peter emphasises 'add, add, add!' Keep pressing forward. Keep swimming!
 ↩ There isn't much that you can take with you into Heaven. Your car, your house, your fancy boat certainly aren't going to make it. Our whole life will pass through the fire at the judgement seat of Christ. Only that which was built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ will remain. A person that has twenty twenty spiritual vision will constantly remember that the most important things in this life revolve around their character (as Peter mentions in these verses), their love and devotion to the Lord, and the work done in His name in seeing others come to know, and with grow, in Him.
 ↩ Let me just quote from Pilgrims Progress (yet again!) as Christian and Hopeful finally came to the gates of Heaven. 'Now as they drew near the gate, a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; and the other two Shining Ones said to this company, 'these are men who have loved our Lord when they were in the world, and who have left all for his holy name; and he has sent us to fetch them... so that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.' Then the heavenly host gave the great shout, saying, 'Blessed are they are which are called into the marriage supper of the Lamb.' At this time several of the Kings trumpeters also came out to meet them... these trumpeters saluted Christian and Hopeful of with ten thousand welcomes... Now I saw in my dream that Christian and Hopeful went through the gate; and as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had garments put on them that shone like gold. Then all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and they were told, 'Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.'... now just as the gates were opened for the men, I looked in after them, and I saw that the city shone like the sun; the streets were paved with gold, and on them walked many men with crowns on their heads... and after that they shut the gates, and with what I had seen, I wished myself among them.
 ↩ The ditch that the blind leading the blind fall into is obviously a reference to the legalism of the Pharisees as this is a term Jesus used of them in Matt 15:14. Many have fallen into this ditch. Go too far to the other side however and you will fall into the marsh. This is what David fall into. I believe this is the opposite of the legalistic spirit and could probably be termed 'complacency'. This is definitely what led to David's sin with Bathsheba. So, like I said at the start... it is very hard, yet very important, to remain balanced! So how did you do? If you got those correct then you have won a free trip to the Bahamas at your expense... Enjoy!
Related Series Posts
- 2 Peter 1 The necessity of true knowledge
- 2 Peter 1: The reality & outworking of our faith!
- 2 Peter 1 Don't Forget to Remember!
- 2 Peter 1: A glimpse of the age to come!
- 2 Peter 2: A trip to the dark side!
- 2 Peter 2: How to smell a rat!
- 2 Peter 3: Expect the Unexpected!
- 2 Peter 3: The Day of the Lord
- 2 Peter 3: The New Heaven and the New Earth!
- 2 Peter 3: A final warning and a final plea!