05 Jan Am I Good Enough?
May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. 2 Peter 1:2–4 (HCSB)
After a sermon, some people stand in line to talk to the minister. One of my seminary professors called this the glorification of the worm. Usually they want to introduce themselves or a friend, or perhaps make a comment or ask a question.
One young woman stood in line quite a while after the sermon. She was pensive. You could see in her countenance, she had a lot on her heart and mind. When the line emptied, I commented how patient she had been and apologized. “She was more than willing to wait,” she said. After a few brief remarks she asked thoughtful questions about her faith.
In short, she didn’t feel like she was a “good enough” Christian. She volunteered that she did not read the Bible enough, she did not pray enough and she did not live the way she thought she should. The ache in her voice was real; the angst in her eyes was sad. She was not a “good enough” Christian.
Somehow we get the idea in our heads that we must be some kind of ideal Christian.
Most of us know very mature Christian friends who love God and serve Him with their being. While they may be a bit odd, we admire them. They’re so spiritual. Or we’ve cobbled together a kind of mosaic of what we think a Christian should be. We cannot help but compare ourselves and then find ourselves failing.
Deep in the heart of most believers is a longing to be “better.” Certainly, when we live in sin, we are going to feel guilt and shame. If we camp beside sin too long we become callous and apathetic toward the things of God. So for conversation’s sake, let’s call that a bridge too far. But if we are “on-again-off-again” longing to grow and yet feeling not “good enough,” what do we do?
Many years ago I was meeting with a man who was struggling in his marriage. He was trying to justify leaving his wife. I met with him for several months. Sometimes he truly wanted to make his marriage work; other times he just wanted out. At a moment of great insight he asked me why I was still willing to meet with him. “As long as you are ‘on-again-off-again’ I’m glad to meet with you. We all are tempted to sin, but if you make a decision to leave your marriage, then the relationship changes.” Predictably, once he left his wife, he didn’t want to meet with me.
Our relationship with Christ cannot simply be measured. If it could, then we would play the Pharisee and tell others how spiritual they have to be. Caution: always be a careful when others measure your spiritual life by some list. It suggests a hybrid legalism, “do these things and don’t do those things and you’ll be a good enough Christian.”
While we can quickly point out sin, can we clearly identify a growing, maturing and “good enough” Christian life?
Without a doubt, a growing believer wants to spend time in His word, wants to pray, and wants to be around other believers. It seems to me we need three things to grow: God’s word, God’s Spirit and God’s people. Apart from these three, it’s hard to identify much less manage. But quantifying how much, how long, and how good is downright tricky.
In Peter’s second letter he makes some astonishing statements about how God grants us everything we need to grow in grace and knowledge.
His Divine Power:
Peter writes, His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) Peter stated that God called believers by His glory and excellence. In other words, we responded to the gospel because of God’s work. The same divine power that called us, that “got our attention,” that brought us to salvation is the same power than supplies us for everything required for life and godliness.
We must understand, we were never good enough, but His divine power was more than sufficient to call us and more than sufficient for us to live the way He intends. It’s not the most precise theological statement but it illustrates a point,
“We could never be good enough to get to Him, but He was good enough to come to us.”
Our salvation required divine power and divine intervention. Nothing else would do. And the great news is that divine power is yet at work in us for everything required for life and godliness.
His Divine Nature:
God’s great glory and excellence not only explains the divine power from Him, but Peter continues, By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4)
Think of these very great and precious promises as the sum of God’s word, confirmed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the theological benchmark of God’s promise being fulfilled. The so that clause explains that we somehow share in the divine nature. Candidly, that kind of blows my mind. Rightly, Lucas and Green comment, “In one breathtaking phrase Peter brings into view the ultimate content of the promises of Jesus Christ, that we shall participate in the divine nature. It is a claim without equal in the New Testament.” This does not mean we are gods nor can perform divine miracles. It does mean we are partakers of His power and could well allude to the person and work of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer.
Remember, context covers a multitude of interpretational errors. And as we read the rest of verse 4, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
Simply put, it seems His divine nature means we are empowered to escape sin and evil.
From a 30,000 foot view, this makes good theological sense. His divine power and His divine nature are that which bring us to faith in Christ and empower us to be sanctified. By His power we are not only drawn to salvation but we can also escape the corruption and the sinful desires that plague us all.
Let me suggest you study 2 Peter 1 on your own. Spend a month in it. And let me suggest that Peter is teaching something many of us miss: we can grow and mature in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can become a little more like Christ and a little less like our sinful selves. Can it be measured? Yes and no. Yes in that we will know the progress when we say no to sin more often. Yes in that we can indeed see sin loosen its grip on us. But we dare not set up some system, some criteria that when we do this or that, we’re good enough. That’s pride.
The fantastic news is that He was and is good enough.
Yes, we want to grow and mature. No, we’ll never be “good enough.” But in Him, we’re not good enough, we are perfected. God in His great kindness looks down through the person and work of Jesus, His Spirt indwelling us and calls us His child. That’s more than good enough.
 R. C. Lucas and Christopher Green, The Message of 2 Peter & Jude: The Promise of His Coming, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 51.