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Productive Faith

Updated: Aug 6, 2023






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Target: This lesson dives into spiritual growth and maturity, drawing guidance from Apostle Peter's insights on overcoming false teachings through ongoing personal development. Explore the metaphor of bearing spiritual fruit and its relevance in Galatians 5, emphasizing the value of embracing virtues and reflecting Christ's character. Discover practical steps for active engagement with Christ, encompassing prayer, Scripture study, community participation, and embodying His qualities. This lesson underscores the connection between unwavering dedication to Christ, the Holy Spirit's guidance, and deepening knowledge of His kingdom, all amid a world full of distractions and falsehoods.


Over the past seven weeks, we have looked at a passage of Scripture found in 2 Peter 1:5-9. Our series has been Increase. The apostle Peter encourages Christians to grow in the Lord in this passage.


The church is facing the challenges of false teaching. Much of the letter of 2 Peter is a warning to and a warning about false teachers.


2 Peter 2:1–3

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber."


Peter's prescription for facing the challenges of false teaching is growth and maturity in the Lord. As partakers of the divine nature and those who have escaped the corruption of the world (2 Peter 1:4), we are to add to our faith (2 Peter 1:5). Peter lists several virtues Christians are to add to their faith. We have been focusing on these virtues. Notice what Peter records in verse 8:


2 Peter 1:8

"For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Peter's prescription for the wave of false teaching is continual growth and maturity in the Lord; if these things are yours and abound. Christians should not be idol in their knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should be increasing. As we increase in our faith, it enables us to have a greater impact for the kingdom of God, our lives will grow more into the character of God, and it will allow us to walk closer with the Lord. We will be better equipped to discern the truth of the Lord from deceptive and destructive teaching.


Productive In Faith


As we move forward in our text, adding to our faith enables us to produce qualities in our lives that are consistent with Lord's character; we will neither be barren nor unfruitful (2 Peter 1:8).


Peter blends these rich metaphors to describe how we as Christians should be formed, by the Spirit, into the knowledge of our Lord.


In Paul's letter of Galatians, Paul contrasts a life led by the Spirit with a life led by the flesh. A life led by the flesh is shaped by adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, and selfish ambitions, among other things Paul describes in (Galatians 5:19-21). As Paul says, a life that follows after the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God.


Galatians 5:22–25

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."


Adding to our faith, as we grow in the Lord, we are to be formed by the Spirit to reflect Christ's character and nature. Our lives are to be consistent with the grace we have received in Christ.


Shortsighted


Similar to what Paul does in Galatians, Peter does here. In contrast to a growing Christian, an idle Christian is shortsighted, even to blindness.


2 Peter 1:9

"For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins."


Peter uses an interesting word, shortsighted, used only here in the New Testament. It somewhat describes a person who cannot look far from themselves. Their focus is only on the immediate, and what they see are the distractions right in front of them. They are spiritually blind and have forgotten about new life in Christ, being cleansed from their old sins.


We are a new creation when we come to Christ and make Him Lord of our lives. The apostle Paul records such in (2 Corinthians 5:17); "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."


As new creation, we enter into a new life in Christ:


Romans 6:3–4

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."


In new life and as a new creation, you and I, as Christians, are born into God's kingdom. Although we may look around us and things seem very much the same, we live in a different reality as Christians. The reality of Jesus as being Lord. The One who has been exalted (Acts 2:36, Heb. 1:3, 12:2) and given all power and authority (Matt. 28:18) calls us to follow Him in His kingdom.


Peter is calling us to grow in our knowledge of the Lord. Peter calls us to grow in understanding His kingdom and purposes.


2 Peter 1:10–11

"Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."


Bridging


Are we growing? Are we actively seeking to participate with Christ as we pursue His character?


Through prayer, the study of Scripture, participation in the community of Christ, and walking as Jesus walked, our lives are led by the Spirit. As the Spirit guides us, we begin to reflect Jesus. Virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love become who we are because this is who Jesus is.


Peter shares his desire for Christians to grow in Christ. Growth in Christ is a prescription for standing faithfully amid trials we may experience. Idolness, apathy, or a lack of maturity and growth in the Lord is like being shortsighted and forgetting that we are a new creation in Christ.


How can we participate with Christ, being led by the Spirit, as we grow in our knowledge of Him and His kingdom?


Share on Social

"Embrace the journey of growth in faith! Just as a tree bears fruit in due time, let the virtues of love, patience, and self-control blossom in your life.” #GrowthInChrist #FruitOfTheSpirit

"Dive deep into Scripture, letting its wisdom and truths shape your understanding of God's character and His kingdom. Let's study, reflect, and grow together!” #WordOfGod #SeekHisKingdom

"Led by the Spirit, we walk in the footsteps of Christ. Let's cultivate virtues like kindness, perseverance, and love, reflecting His divine nature. In unity and community, we journey toward spiritual maturity.” #WalkingWithJesus #SpiritualGrowth



works cited:

Unless otherwise noted: Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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