January 5, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
It's amazing how a little snow can create so much instability for driving. If you attempt to stop in a hurry, that little snow creates a slick surface so that your tires have no traction to slow your vehicle. This leads to a loss of control of the vehicle, even fish-tailing or spin outs. Unless you’re a thrill seeker, no driver likes that instability.
The apostle Peter speaks about stability as well; not in driving, of course, but in one’s spiritual life. He commands he readers to “take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability” (2Pe 3:17). What is our “own stability”? How can we lose it? How can we create and deepen it?
1. Our stability is God’s strengthening and establishing us in the faith. Peter is the only New Testament writer to use the noun “stability.” But many writers use the verb form of the word. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” And in Romans 16:25 he says, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel.” Peter even wrote in 1 Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” Our stability is a work of God in establishing us through faith in a saving position in his presence. Our stability is assurance of salvation.
2. Our stability is threatened when we do not hold firmly to the truth of the gospel. God does not establish us, make us stable, apart from our belief in the gospel. Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 3:17 is that doctrinal error could cause our faith to wane and our stability to be threatened. He speaks about “unstable” people in the previous verse: “the ignorant and unstable twist [the Scriptures] to their own destruction.” The word “ignorant” literally speaks of one who is undiscipled. They are untrained. They are not learning of Christ and his ways. They distort, even ignore, the truth of Scripture. If we ignore, distort to our advantage, or disobey Scripture, our stability becomes threatened.
3. While our stability is a work of God, we “take care” of our stability by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. God does not establish us in a vacuum. He establishes, confirms and strengthens us “according to the gospel.” Peter follows up his command to “take care” in verse 17 with “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). It is through hearing, understanding, learning about, and delighting in the truth of the gospel that God establishes us. To grow in the grace of Jesus we need to be in that steady stream of God’s grace that is found in his word, the sacraments, prayer, and the fellowship of the church.
So, how’s your stability? Do you “take care” of your stability? Or is it an afterthought? Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus by regularly engaging with the channels of God’s grace for you.