Part 3.

How do we know if we’re truly saved? How do we know if we are a member of God’s family?

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: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:1-4 ESV).

CONFIRMING OUR CALLING AND ELECTION

THIS IS A COMPONENT OF DECONSTRUCTION, WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF WHAT USED TO BE CALLED A FAITH CRISIS.

Do we truly know the Lord? Has He truly called us to be His? We puzzle over this. This we seek to know as we deconstruct, disillusioned by one too many trials or one more toxic church leader. We tear our beliefs down to the bones in an attempt to test their tenacity. Do we truly believe?

  1. Do we bear good fruit? Are there actions and choices that indicate the kindness, goodness, and faithfulness of one who follows Christ? See Matthew 7:18-20; Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:5.
  2. Does the Spirit of God in us confirm that we are born again, in spite of any trauma or harm that those claiming to be Christians have inflicted upon us? “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” See Rom 8:15-16; John 10:27-28; Romans 5:1; 1 John 1:8.
  3. Does the Word of God testify that our faith is real? This is what has been done for you: See Hebrews 6:19-20 NRSV).
  4. Do we love other believers? The Holy Spirit gives us this kind of love. See (1 John 3:14).
  5. When we believed and were baptized, it was as if we were showered with all of God’s promises: See (Romans 6:1-11). He has engraved you on the palms of His hands (Ezekiel 49:16). You are marked as His, (Jeremiah 31:33), a promise to both Jewish believers of Old and New Testament believers today.
  6. True believers may experience times of doubt, uncertainty, disobedience, and momentary unbelief, but they will never renounce their faith (Ephesians 1:13-14).

We may run or turn away from Him, but, like the father of the prodigal son, He awaits us, watching the road, ready to run to embrace us when we return to Him. Once we recognize, know, and trust that we are indeed His, we then learn to grow to trust His actions in our lives, to yield to His Holy Spirit’s leading, and to entrust ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Once we recognize, know, and trust that we are the Lord's, we learn to grow as we trust His actions, to yield to His Holy Spirit's leading, and to entrust ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. #bgbg2 Click To Tweet

“HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE…

. . .through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises. 2Peter1:3-4a #bgbg2 Click To Tweet

In dying for us, the Lord saved us, not only from an eternity in hell, but from the power of evil desires at work in our lives today, right now. In order to accomplish this, He gave us Himself, yielding up His life to pay for our sins, calling us to Himself through the efforts of His Holy Spirit, and now transforming us through our knowledge of Him, through the conviction and empowerment of His Holy Spirit. Our knowledge of Him transforms us as we participate in the Lord’s own divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.

Our knowledge of Him transforms us as we participate in the Lord's own divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world caused by evil desires. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet

What kind of knowledge can produce this transformation? The Greek word is epignosis, the same word that was used in 2 Peter 1:2, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:”

This type of knowledge entails:recognition, full discernment, acknowledgement.” As used here and in v. 2, “knowledge that expresses a more thorough participation in the object of knowledge.” True faith requires a participatory relationship, not merely God’s actions toward us, but the return of our actions toward Him as we seek Him, grow to know Him, increase in love for Him, and learn to obey Him.

2 Peter 1:2, 3, 8; 2:20 all refer to this “knowledge which very powerfully influences the form of our participatory religious life, a knowledge laying claim to personal sympathy and exerting an influence upon us.”1.

Through Christ we “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires,” for we now “participate in the divine nature” of God Himself, and so it is imperative to recall that:

“HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE”

We have been called into relationship, into participation in our Lord’s divine nature, for through salvation, we gain the help of His Holy Spirit to be strong, to flee sinful temptation, and to escape from the corruption and the ruin of the world and its addictive sins fueled by evil and corrupted desires.

This is not about self reliance, for that option is what crashed our lives.

No! Our escape is accomplished by the conviction of His Spirit, our growing knowledge of Him, and our reliance upon His very great and precious promises.

The more we seek Him, the more we are able to reject and to turn from evil desires.

I want to seek and to know my Savior as thoroughly as is possible, for I am bound to Him for all eternity. The more I know of Christ, the stronger I become in resisting all types of sins, for I am better acquainted with Him and His ways.

The same is true of all of us. In our pursuit of the knowledge of Christ, the more we learn of Him, the more we grow in intimate closeness with Christ and, therefore, in our love and obedience.

In our pursuit of the knowledge of Christ the more we learn of Him, the more we grow in intimate closeness with Christ and therefore, in our love and obedience. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet

“HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE…”

…through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Verse 3, yet again, is epignosis,1. translated knowledge of Him. Our faith isn’t merely about head knowledge. It’s about relationship, for God Himself has called us by His own glory and goodness.

God's divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. Our faith isn't merely head knowledge. It's about relationship, for God Himself has called us by His own glory and goodness. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet Our faith isn't merely head knowledge. It's about relationship, for God Himself has called us by His own glory and goodness. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet

Through His pursuit of us, and our pursuit of Him, we have a participatory relationship, causing us to grow and to obtain the divine power necessary to live a godly life through our knowledge of Him, regardless of the obstacles we face along the way, for He has called us by His own glory and goodness. The more we seek the Lord, the better we know Him.

The more we seek the Lord, the better we know Him, thus causing us to grow and to obtain the divine power necessary to live a godly life through our knowledge of Him. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet

Why has He called us to this Godly life of seeking Him, knowing Him, and listening to His voice?

  • So we may be in an intimate relationship with him, 2 Peter 1:1-4
  • So that we may participate in His divine nature, 2 Peter 1:4
  • So that we may escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires, 2 Peter 1:4
  • So that we may live a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us, 2 Peter 1:3.

“HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE…”

…through our participation in our relationship with Him. By examining the great and precious promises given to us in Christ, written throughout the Scriptures, we may seek Him to enable us to grow, to change, and to respond to Him, the One Who seeks us.

What has He given us? Very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

“HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR A GODLY LIFE.”

We have His divine power to enable us to overcome the temptations that impact our lives and the difficult relationships that test us, if we will but rely upon Him. Often our faith crises have involved painful relationships and leaders who have failed us.

We left the church and walked away from our faith. Or we continued to attend, but our hearts grew cold and hard. We then began to deconstruct our faith, to tear it down to the bones.

These decisions were embedded in our personal lack of a growing knowledge of Him. This is something over which we have control. We can now choose to know Him better, to open our Bibles, to pray, and to absorb all we can know about Him. When we have invested ourselves in gaining rich, encouraging, and powerful knowledge of Him, our lives change for good.

The love of Jesus is irresistible.

We can rely upon His Holy Spirit to enable us to grow in greater personal knowledge of Him. He is the important reality. We can avoid church politics, toxic church people, flawed leaders, and their harmful actions.

The love of Jesus is irresistible. We can rely upon His Holy Spirit to enable us to grow in greater personal knowledge of Him. He is the important reality. We can avoid church politics, toxic church people, flawed leaders, and their… Click To Tweet

When we rely upon the Lord, trusting His very great and precious promises, and acting on them, we will grow in our faith, for we are growing in the knowledge of Him who enlightens us and transforms our lives. When we seek Him, Jesus becomes the most important influence in our lives. We participate in His divine nature, and thus escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Growing in faith and changing our ways are how we seek and respond to Him as He seeks us.

In what ways have you sought for more knowledge of the Savior?

As you seek this greater knowledge of the Savior, how does it impact your spiritual life?

When we seek Him, Jesus becomes the most important influence in our lives. We participate in His divine nature, and thus escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2Peter1. #bgbg2 #KnowingGod Click To Tweet

Continuing next week. . . .

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  1. Definition of epignosis is from The Complete Word Study New Testament, edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., 1992. The same definition is used in The Key Word Study Bible, New American Standard Bible, Executive Editor, Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., AMG Publishers, 1984, 1990.