You Can’t Lose!

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If you are a Christian, you are not a failure!  You may fail occasionally, but you are not a failure.  Non-believers, however, are complete and utter failures no matter how successful they seem to be.  That’s because in the end, regardless of their successes in life, they will lose the crown of eternal life.  A Christian always wins in the end.

But even in everyday life, no Christian need fail in their service to God.  Why do some Christians feel like they are failing?  God has made no provision for failure, so why do we sometimes fail?

Think about the advantages Christians have and why they should never fail in living the Christian life.

We have God’s nature in us. 

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  (2 Peter 1:2 – 4  NKJV)

These are some extraordinary claims Peter is making in these verses, and they deserve a moment of our time and consideration.  Those two things he mentions at the beginning of verse two, “grace” and “peace,” are two graces everybody wants and needs but can’t seem to find.  Non-Christians want them so that they may live a better quality of life, sleep at night, and get along with other people.  Christians know they need more grace and peace, but they end up looking for them in the same places non-Christians are looking for them. We look for “grace” and “peace” in counseling, in the latest Oprah-recommended self-help book, in pills, in entertainment, in things, and in relationships.  But Peter matter-of-factly tells us precisely where “grace” and “peace” comes from:

in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord… 

Those two in-demand graces come from an ever-expanding knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ.  The Christian life is not a static life; we must always be growing and learning and delving deeper into the spiritual life we have in Christ.

“Knowledge” comes from the Greek gnosis, but Peter adds a tiny prefix to it, epi, which means “additional, full, certain, sure, and personal.”  True Christianity, then, is a continually growing, personal knowledge of God through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This knowledge is not merely “head knowledge” of facts and dates or speculations about God.  It’s a deep knowing; an inner conviction of the certainty of who God is.

How does one gain this kind of special knowledge?  Certainly from reading and studying the Word of God, and certainly from prayer, yet according to Peter, there is way more to it than that!

Everything we need to know to live a righteous, God-pleasing life, has been given to us by the power of Christ.  Peter knew all about that awesome power.  He saw Jesus calm stormy sees.  That power enabled Peter to take a few steps on top of the water.  He heard Jesus personally say this:

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  (Matthew 28:28  KJV)

Peter and the other apostles received the Power of Christ when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.  So Peter knew all about the power of Christ, and he, as Wesley wrote, cheerfully reminded his readers that what they needed, they already had.

Christ’s power, dynamis, is within Himself. His power is the dynamic energy of His Person.  Christ’s power doesn’t come from something outside Himself.  He IS power in the purest sense of the word.  And Christians, simply by virtue of the fact that they are in possession of the abiding presence of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit, have the dynamis inside them!

That incredible power, though, is inside believers for a specific reason.  It’s not to help you read minds or get ahead in your job.  The power of Christ is not for the purpose of making you smarter or more cunning than your friends or co-workers.  His gift of power is given to Christians for the sole purpose of helping us live Godly lives; lives that please God and move us closer to Him.

It is only through the knowledge of Christ that we can get a handle on how to live in the here-and-now.  The only way you can become the kind of person God wants you to become is through Christ’s power, which is activated in you through knowing more and more about Jesus Christ.

But how is all this possible?  It all comes down to this:

you may be partakers of the divine nature…

You and I as Christians have a precious faith.  We have also been given some precious promises.  Some, though by no means all, of those promise include:

  • But some will come to me—those the Father has given me—and I will never, never reject them.  (John 6:37  TLB)
  • Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.  (Matthew 11:28  TLB)
  • So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have his Son, does not have life.  (1 John 5:12  TLB)
  • For you have a new life. It was not passed on to you from your parents, for the life they gave you will fade away. This new one will last forever, for it comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men.  (1 Peter 1:23  TLB)

These are precious promises, given to you by God through your knowledge of Jesus Christ.  They have been given to you so that you may “partake of the divine nature.”  What does that mean?  By accepting the precious promises of God in Christ, you become a child of God; you are given the nature of God.  The Christian life cannot be reduced to long lists of do’s and don’ts.  Because you now have God’s nature inside you, you should want to live as He would live.  His nature working in you means that you should be wanting the things He wants, thinking the thoughts He thinks;  it means that gradually you begin to take on the very character of God the longer you live and the more you learn about Him.

The divine nature is a powerful thing.  It’s so powerful that through it you have escaped corruption of the world all around you.  Sin and the pollution of sin may be swirling all around you as you walk through the world, but because you have accepted God’s precious promises, and because you have God’s nature working in you, that pollution can’t harm you; it can’t stick to you.

God’s provision is enough 

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  (2 Corinthians 9:8  ESV)

Earlier in this chapter, we learn that God is love.  Here we learn that God is all powerful.  In fact, this verse tells us that, literally, God is ALL.  Five times in all, the word “all” is used by Paul to teach us something of God and His power.

God has enough power to bless us abundantly.  Most of the time, we take this to mean “lots and lots of blessings.”  But it means more than that.  God is involved in all the twists and turns of our lives.  He knows what’s going on.  God is able to bless us accordingly.  He knows just what we need, when we need it.  A great example of this kind of abundant blessing is seen in how the Lord used the Macedonian church –

Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others.  (2 Corinthians 8:2  TLB)

The Macedonians were in rough shape financially, but they received God’s grace so that they were able to “mix their wonderful joy with their deep poverty” so that they were able to turn around to bless others!   The Macedonians were broke.  Somebody should have been taking up an offering for them.  But they had been blessed by God, and what did they do with that much-needed blessing?  They gave it, or some of it, to another needy church!  Kistemaker’s observation is priceless –

In the service of the Lord grace begets grace, although the believer’s grace in joyful giving can hardly be compared with God’s abounding grace to the believer. 

In other words, God blesses us in a huge way, so much so we are able to bless others with the overflow of the blessing we received.  Even the most generous among us can never match the generosity of God.   However, God’s provision to individual believers is more than enough so that the needs of all believers should be met.

And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.  (Philippians 4:19  TLB) 

No Christian needs to be a failure because God has the game is fixed in favor of the Christian.  He makes sure we’ll receive what we need.  God gives us incredible blessings of salvation, spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit, and often unnoticed material blessings.  All of what we need is wrapped up in that one word: GRACE.

Here’s a phrase that seems too good to be true –

so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 

If we take it literally, and we should, Paul is teaching that God will meet the needs of every cheerful, devoted Christian.  God’s grace is more than enough to meet the needs of every single Christian in the world any time.  But, there is a caveat:  God’s provision of grace is meant to glorify Him in His church and kingdom on earth.

A Christian is blessed by God within the framework of loving God and his neighbor.  God’s blessings – spiritual or material – are never meant to stop at the original recipient.  God’s blessings are meant to be passed on by everyone of receives them, either first hand or from the overflow of another.

That’s why whenever we can we should always be kind to everyone, and especially to our Christian brothers.  (Galatians 6:10  TLB)

Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.  (1Timothy 6:17, 18  TLB)

It is impossible for a Christian to fail in his service to God.  At least from God’s perspective.  We are blessed to –

abound in every good work.

God makes His grace abound so that we may abound in “every good work.” Do you know what that means? It means that you may serve the Lord – whether you are intending to share your faith with the lost in an act of personal evangelism or write a check to some missionary – in faith knowing that God WILL provide the necessary gifts or means for you to succeed.  You will never fail in your service to the Lord because God has made it possible for you not to.

But, we do fail sometimes, don’t we?  We’ll discuss that next time.

 

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