Monday, March 04, 2013
Today’s Topic: Equal Standing
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 1:1 (ESV) Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Last week, as I prepared for my Thursday night Bible study group on the letters of Peter in the New Testament, I was overwhelmed with a truth that God gives us in the very first verse of Second Peter. After introducing himself, Peter’s first statement blows me away – To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Wait a minute! Isn’t this the same Peter who walked on water? Isn’t this the guy whom the resurrected Jesus told to take charge of the sheep? Yes it is! Sure he had his problems. He had to be rescued from the water as his faith grew weak. He denied the LORD three times. He made brash statements about his superior faith and commitment but had no follow through – at least not prior to the resurrection. And even in the early church age he had to be corrected by the Apostle Paul for his segregation from the Gentiles. Yet this was Peter, the one whom Jesus transformed from an arrogant self-exalting fisherman to a humble, Christ-exalting servant-leader of the church.
I am amazed that this man of God, a hero of the faith, can say to all of us that we have obtained a faith of equal standing with him. Think about that for a moment…or a lifetime. The same faith that God granted Peter to be His servant is the faith that we have to be servants of the LORD. WOW!
How is this possible? Because our standing before God is not based on anything in us, but on the righteousness of God that has been granted to us through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said it this way in Second Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God gives every follower of Jesus Christ equal standing before God.
I’m not sure I really believe that. At times I have envisioned my place before the throne of God being somewhere near the back of the crowd. Literally millions of people are much more “qualified” to be closer to the throne than I am. Their lives of perseverance under severe persecution, even to the point of death, gives them a huge advantage on throne room placement. Their consistency of faith in the face of financial loss, family crisis, and fear puts them way up the list of invited guests to be honored. Who am I to think that I would ever be able to stand next to Peter in the presence of Christ?
But wait – I am qualified! I have an equal standing with all the saints in glory. There is no single Bible hero or Christian who has ever lived that has more righteousness than I do. The same righteousness of God has been imputed to us ALL in Jesus Christ!
What an amazing thought. What a bondage-breaking truth that sets the prisoner free from the chains of approval and affirmation. We have obtained through our Savior Jesus Christ the same faith that brings the righteousness of God and grants us equal standing before the Father in heaven.
Let that truth sink in and set you free from the comparison game you’ve been playing. Let it release you from the chains of seeking affirmation and approval from people. Let it liberate you from the bondage of earning anything from God. You and I are completely and eternally accepted by the Father, and we will ALL stand right next to Jesus in the throne room, for we are all equal in His sight.