Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: The quality of the elect, part 2.
length: 68:00 - taught on Jan, 5 2021
Tuesday January 5, 2021
In his Practical Commentary upon the First Epistle General of Saint Peter (1860’s), Robert Leighton, Archbishop of Glasgow, writes his opening paragraph:
“The grace of God in the heart of man is a tender plant in a strange, unkindly soil; and therefore cannot well prosper and grow, without much care and pains, and that of a skillful hand, and which hath the art of cherishing it: for this end hath God given the constant ministry of the word to His church, not only for the first work of conversion, but also for confirming and increasing His grace in the hearts of His children.”
We are warned that we must possess the true knowledge of Christ as having light in a dark world.
We are also warned, there is much falsehood about Christ and Christianity and God in the dark world.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”
This led us to study our most recent paragraph in scripture.
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours [likely referring to Jews and Gentiles], by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge [epignosis = true or full knowledge] of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that [hos - in the same manner; a dilation of the thought] His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
Excellence is the Greek word arête which is power and excellence combining to produce wonderful deeds.
This is God’s nature and that nature ever believer has partnered up with, having received regeneration, becoming a new creature, being born again to the new humanity in Christ, then under Law of Messiah, set free from sin and death. Through the true knowledge of the Father and the Son we strive to be those who also produce wonderful deeds of heaven in this world that will always be filled with unfruitful ones.
Grace and peace are multiplied in the full knowledge of the Father and Son. God who called us has by His own power given us everything pertaining to life and godliness through that same full knowledge.
For by these [glory and excellence/virtue] He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Either Peter refers here to salvation (regeneration) or to sanctification after salvation. The context points more towards regeneration.
By God’s glory and virtue He called you and granted you magnificent promises that by them you become partners with the divine nature and escape the lust of the world.
This is true at salvation, and it is also true that saved people can and are still corrupted by the lust of the world. The latter, is the reason for diligence in the next section.
It is extremely important to know that at salvation, at the moment you believed in Christ as your Savior, you became a partaker of the divine nature and you were delivered from the lust of the world. This is freedom from sin and the world. It is the promise that you no longer are enslaved to sin and the world, but now to Christ, even though you are here in the dark world and He sits at the right hand of glory in the glorious light of holy heaven (the unchanging abode of God). And, it is also true that freedom comes with responsibility due to danger. The very real potential for becoming enslaved again to sin and the world in our thinking demands that we understand our personal responsibility to protect our God given freedom. Freedom from a prison cell, while you remain in the confines of the prison, is laden with danger.
Freedom must be protected.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
The freedom of salvation from death, sin, and the world by election and promotion to partnership with God gives us a true moral choice.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence [spoudazo - every effort], in your faith supply moral excellence [arête = wonderful deeds from power and excellence], and in your moral excellence, knowledge [gnosis - knowledge of God]; 6 and in your knowledge, self-control [knowledge can puff up], and in your self-control, perseverance [hupomone - remain and wait for God’s deliverance], and in your perseverance, godliness [full obedience to God’s will]; 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness [philedelphia], and in your brotherly kindness, love [agape]. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing [abounding], they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted [only seeing the world and not heaven], having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent [command to spoudazo; aorist = do it now] to make certain about His calling and choosing you [make it the foundation of your entire life]; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.