In my readings this morning I encountered two different groups of people. The first are described as having “a hard forehead” and “a stubborn heart.” The second are those who have become “partakers of the divine nature.” Of the first it is repeatedly said that “they are a rebellious house.” Of the second, they are those who have been “cleansed from their former sins” and have “escaped the corruption that is in the world.” The first group of people grind their teeth at God for having been forcibly brought into a foreign land . . . in exile as God’s means of discipline for their rebellion. The second group await their entrance “into the eternal kingdom” of God’s Son by diligently living to “confirm their calling and election.”
And as I muse on these two groups of people . . . as I consider how I was once aligned to the first but am now counted among the second . . . I’m reminded of what made the difference. It is by His righteousness.
. . . to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (2Peter 1:1b ESV)
Started in on both Ezekiel and 2Peter as part of my reading plan. Ezekiel’s call is to speak the word of the LORD to the people of Israel . . . those in exile for spiritual infidelity . . . those repeatedly referred to as a “rebellious house” in the opening chapters of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Though they acknowledge God, they accept no claim of His authority over their lives. They have pursued what they want, when they want, with whomever they want. Stubborn hearts have resulted in hard heads and so they sit in a foreign land while God tries, through His faithful prophet, to connect the dots for them. Trying to help them see that their situation is due to their sin. And calling on them to repent and return . . . that they might be restored.
The people addressed in Peter’s letter are in a vastly different state. No grinding of teeth here, but “grace and peace multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (1:2). Given all the tools needed to pursue fullness of life and the reality of godliness. Given precious and great promises that they might be active participants in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world brought on by sinful desire (1:4). Rather than being stripped from the vine and withering away in exile, they are making every effort to add to their faith and thus being effective and fruitful in their knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:5-8).
And at the heart of it all . . . is a new heart. A new nature . . . a new desire . . . a precious faith . . . a firm standing. All by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
I read that as Jesus Christ, our God and Savior . . . a statement of His Deity. That the One born of a virgin, is He who is the Giver of all life. That He who trained as a carpenter, Himself formed the universe in eternity past. Jesus is that same God. And that same God, Jesus, is my Savior. The One who justly determined that the wages of sin is death, Himself paid the price for my sin, and conquered the grave that I might live. And, in so doing, imputes to all who believe His divine nature and righteousness. Hallelujah!
By His righteousness. That is my only standing this morning. Not that I am any better than that first group of people I considered this morning, but that by His divine power, and through His abundant grace, I have participated in that “like precious faith” (NKJV) of that second group.
For His glory alone . . .