Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Today’s Topic: Precious Faith
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 1:1 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: (NIV) or, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours: (ESV)
There are times when we wonder if our faith would be stronger if only we had been able to walk with Jesus on the earth. There may even be an element of envy that arises in our hearts when we consider the faith experiences of others compared to our own. On occasion we even succumb to the temptation to believe that some people in the family of God are more blessed than others. This may cause us to question our value. We may begin to wonder if we are all that precious.
The Apostle Peter makes an incredible statement in the opening verse of his second letter to the Christians of the first century. You remember Peter. He walked and talked with Jesus. He was a first-hand witness of His resurrection. While at a public breakfast meeting on a beach he was appointed by Jesus to feed and care for His other followers. He was tempestuous. He had to be rebuked. He was courageous. He had to be slowed down. He was scared of what people thought of Him. He denied knowing Christ. He was forgiven.
Most of us would tend to place guys like Peter, along with John and Paul, on a different plane of faith than ourselves. When we mention anything about all of the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11 we immediately put them in the same unreachable category as Peter. It’s easy for us to fall into the comparison game. It’s even easier for Satan to capitalize on such comparisons and bring our credibility into question. Some of you may be suffering from such symptoms even today.
But Peter, the guy we put on the pedestal, says this – you have received a faith as precious as mine. You have equal standing before the Lord with me. I hope I’m not unique here, because I want you all to enjoy the splendor of that thought. My first reaction was to shout WOW! I hope that was yours also. But then I thought of those of you who are so overloaded with credibility questions that you immediately doubted the reality and truth of what Peter said. I understand, because I’ve been there myself. But there is freedom from that competitive comparison bondage.
Look back at what Peter said and you will discover the key to unlock your chains. It’s right there in the first part of the verse. Until you discover it, you will continue to think that the value of your faith is based on the validity of your works. Until you get this one thing corrected you will continue to live under the lie that your faith is obtained through your attempts to become righteous. Unless you correct your mind and bring it into conformity with the truth of God’s Word, you will continue to try to out-perform others in an attempt to raise your personal assessment of your worth.
So what’s the key? It’s simple – your faith is based on the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. That makes all of us equal and equally precious. When God looks at your life right now, no matter where you are or what you are doing, He sees the righteousness of Christ in you. You are equally precious in His sight with any and all other believers. You have equal standing with Peter, James, John, and Paul. You are as precious to God as Mary the mother of Jesus. You, with all of your flaws and failures, have been given a faith that lifts you out of the slime of sin and places you at the side of the Savior.
You are so precious that Jesus came from glory to get you. C.S. Lewis says it this way. One may think of a diver first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through the increasing pressure into the deathlike region of ooze and slime and old decay, and then back up again, back to color and light, his lungs almost bursting until suddenly he breaks the surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing he went down to recover. That dripping, precious thing is you and I, and Jesus is the diver who came down to get us.
You are precious. Your faith is equally precious with every other saint who followed Christ. Conquer your doubts. Renew your mind so you can stop basing your value on your performance and start believing you are already precious. You have been set free by Christ. Don’t choose to go back to your chains. Use the key God has given you to unlock those chains and rejoice that you have been declared righteous. Now, live in that victory every day.