Most of us have heard those very words at some point. I suspect that your response is the common one, “No need to repay. I am glad I could help.” There seems to be woven deep within us this need to “balance the books,” so to speak. We don’t want to be indebted to someone. This mindset can quickly trickle into our relationship with Christ; that is, we do the things we do to sort of balance the books. That approach is an impossible task! The past few weeks, we have endeavored to reveal the gift of Christ. His redemptive work and the blessings that come from being bought by the blood of the Lamb. The gift is both free and something we could never repay. I suspect you are familiar with the story of the slave who was purchased by someone and set free to do as he wished. As the man who bought him walked off, he turned to find the free man following him. “Why are you following me?” said the man to the free man. “You are not obligated to follow me.” The once enslaved man responded, “I know I am not obligated to follow you; I want to.” Although this story may not fit the redemptive story of Christ perfectly, it does speak to the idea of what someone wants to do once they are set free. It is here that we pick up in 2nd Peter 1:5.
“But also for this reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”
(2nd Peter 1:5)
The ETRV says, “Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things; to your faith add…” You may recall a question I shared last Sunday, “What determines ‘all diligence,’ ‘every effort,’ or ‘all you can’?” Well, to gain insight into answering this question, we need to consider two words. First, the word “all” comes from a Greek meaning all, any, every, and whole. Then, there is the word diligence or effort. The Greek word here means diligence, earnestness, enthusiasm. It also carries the idea of haste, meaning undue eagerness to act. It is used in Luke 1:39 to describe what Mary did after found out she would give birth to Jesus, “Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah.” It is how Herodias responded in Mark 6:25 after her mother told her to ask for John the Baptist’s head, “Immediately she came in with haste to the king..” The Scriptures are filled with visuals of how we approach our newfound confidence in Christ’s redemptive work. We can find one of these places in 2nd Timothy 2:15 where Paul exhorts the evangelist Timothy saying, “Do your best to be the kind of person God will accept, and give yourself to him” (ETRV). As one person explains, this is speaking about “bringing in all diligence to the side of God’s gifts and promises.” So, what is diligence? As I thought about it, I came to this thought, “Diligence is not measured by how far one moves, but how committed they are to moving.”
We can say that we are being encouraged to “Give it your all.” If we are saved and have so much to look forward to, why is there reason to do anything? I shared the simple reason a few weeks ago, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Because of what Jesus has done for us, enabling us to “be partakers of the divine nature” (2nd Peter 1:4), we, in turn, earnestly seek to “add to your faith” (2nd Peter 1:5) so that we can be of service to our Savior. Listen to how the ETRV translates 2nd Peter 1:8, “If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is what spiritual growth is about, right? It is a yearning to want to become more useful to God. It is not so much a response of gratitude measured in what we do, as much as it is the heart of the one moved by the hope of Christ.
Why did the servant follow the man who bought his freedom? He didn’t merely want to follow him; he wanted to serve him. Over the next couple of weeks, we will consider some things the Holy Spirit guides Peter to urge the early Christians to add to their faith. Each plays a role in enabling us to be more effective in that knowledge we now have concerning Christ. May God bless us all as we endeavor to grow in His likeness. One final thought, let’s remember that such endeavors to develop are not an effort to pay back God, for the debt we owed, we could never, ever payback. Our efforts are in response to His marvelous gift. Thank You, Lord!