Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spiritual Growth

I would like to look at one verse that will show us the means of spiritual growth, and I want to note that this verse does not says anything about  practicing the "spiritual disciplines" that we hear so  much about today in our evangelical Churches.

The verse is 2 Peter 1:3, which tells us, "God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and integrity."

Let's do some exegesis on this one verse. It is important to understand that Peter wrote this letter to expose and counter false teachers. In the midst of Peter's polemic against false teachers Peter tried to show Christians how to develop Christian character (how to grow spiritually) (1: 5-11).

God's divine power has given us - God's divine power speaks to the source or well in which all spiritual character traits come from. All the power that the believer needs is found in the Gospel, as Paul stated in Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God."

This power that is in the Gospel is called a divine power, and this power is God the Father's power that is exerted on the believer through the means of the Gospel. It is this power that gives the believer everything that is needed for life and godliness.

In his notes on the Bible Barn's makes an interesting observation about the meaning of life in our verse - "The reference here in the word "life" is undoubtedly to the life of religion; the life of the soul imparted by the gospel." So, all that the believer needs to nurture the spiritual life of the soul (inner landscape) has been given to him by divine power through the Gospel.

According to Clark in his commentary, he tells us that "God Hath endowed us with the gifts; or, hath gifted us," So all believers have been given everything they need  in this life to have their souls nurtured to become more like Christ and to live a practical life of Godliness.

Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: According to Gill's exposition of the entire Bible he says this about 2 Peter 1:3b "The call here spoken of is not a bare outward call, by the ministry of the word, but an internal, special, and powerful one, which springs from the grace, and is according to the purpose of God, and is inseparably connected with justification and glorification...."

Let me bring this all together for us, God has give the believer by His divine power all things necessary for spiritual growth. God has given the believer a new birth, in which the Holy Spirit changes the believer from the inside out.

God has certainly given the Church different ways to grow - His Word, christian fellowship, prayer, the observing of the Lords Table and Baptism. However, God has not given us any formula or system for a means of spiritual growth. And God has not just now given the Church these "spiritual disciplines" that have been hidden in some ancient monastery as a means for spiritual growth.

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