Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011 … Diligence and Excellence

Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 1 – 5a [NIV] … [see emphasis in bold in verse 5a] … 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, …To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; …

2nd Peter 1: 1 – 5a [NASB]
[see emphasis in bold in verse 5a] 1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that 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. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, …

My Journal for Today:
Since John MacArthur uses the NASB version of the Bible in his Strength for Today devotionals, in today’s exposition of 2nd Peter 1: 1 – 5a, he makes reference to several phrases in the NASB which use different wording than the NIV, which I’ve been using as my default Bible for my journal entries. Therefore, I’ve given any reader for today both versions for your study or meditation. And in today’s passage, Peter, especially in verse 5a, was much like the Apostle Paul when Paul wrote in Romans 6: 1 – 2

SCRIPTURE: Romans 6: 1 – 2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Both Apostles held no quarter to any Christian with a slovenly attitude toward sin. And in today’s passage, Peter is teaching about the empowering grace of God’s Spirit given to all believers. See 2nd Peter 1: 3 – 4, where God’s Spirit, through Peter, states that it is the Christian’s charge to “make every effort” (NIV) or “applying all diligence” (NASB) in order to use God’s grace for “goodness” (NIV) or “moral excellence” (NASB) – or if you go to the NKJV, the term translated is “virtue.”

This latter quality, Peter refers to as “moral excellence, virtue, or goodness,” is “arête” in the Greek. The Grecian culture valued the character quality of “arête” greatly, thinking of one who had this quality as one who stood above the rest in GOODNESS. Many word pictures or language uses of “arête” from the Greek illustrate this. If “arête” was used for describing a knife, it would the sharpest or most useful knife available. A horse with “arête” would win the race. Therefore, the Greeks used “arête” to describe a Christian’s goodness or virtue; and he would be one who focused great energy toward being the most virtuous person he/she could be. And that, according to Peter in today’s passage and Paul in Rom. 6, is what is expected for the truly surrendered Christian.

Our model as Christians, when we strive for “arête” (or goodness/virtue) is, of course, Jesus. He lived in the way of virtue (see Acts 10: 38) we should emulate (see Phil. 2: 5); and according to Paul in 1st Thess. 4: 1, we should do more and more in our lives, day-by-day, to achieve Christlikeness in the quality of “arête.”

My Prayer Today: Yes, Lord, help be to be more like You. Amen

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