The following is the introduction to my soon-to-be- completed book, “The 2nd Peter Principle”. I’m interested in feedback:
I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years now. I wish I could say that I’ve been a good Christian for all this time, but the best I can say is that I’ve been an intentional Christian. By that I mean, I have always tried to figure out how to be successful as a Christian. At one time, I thought it meant being so righteous that no one could honestly say I have sinned since I began to follow Christ. It didn’t take long for me to blow that one. I’ve also tried at various times to be a great Bible scholar (not smart enough), a great preacher (not charismatic enough), a great church leader (not visionary enough) and a great pastor/shepherd (not patient enough). After much inner turmoil and disappointment I finally realized that trying to be a great anything is like putting the proverbial cart before the horse. First, I have to figure out how to be an effective Christian. In a sense, when I stopped trying to be a great Christian in other people’s eyes, I became a better Christian. Here’s how.
The Bible teaches us what we need to know about God and His plan for this world. Through it, we receive knowledge about the origins of mankind, the history of the people that God called his own (the Jews), and about the origins of Christianity. But more importantly, the Bible teaches us how to live a productive and Godly life – today. By studying the Bible, we can discover timeless principles about how the world works and how to live according to those principles. But let’s face it; most of us don’t want to become Bible scholars. We just want to know, in a nutshell, what we need to know in order to live a productive, blessed life.
Fortunately, there are certain passages of Scriptures that summarize principles that are practical and universal. One such passage is 2 Peter 1:3-11.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life 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, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this passage, Peter reveals a principle that is the key to our Christian life. In summary, he explains that God guarantees that, if we develop Christ-like character, we will be effective and productive in all that we do. I call this, THE 2ND PETER PRINCIPLE. The gist of this principle is taken from verses 3, 4, 8, and 10. In verse 3 he says that God has given us everything we need for our natural and spiritual life through our knowledge of Christ. In verse 4 he explains that God promises that we can take on the nature of God. In verse 8 he promises that if we grow in certain characteristics, we will be effective and productive. And in verse 10 he emphasizes the promise by saying that if we follow this, we will never fail. So God has given us everything we need to be effective and productive by growing in characteristics that are exemplified by Christ. In most of the other verses, Peter lists the characteristics or qualities that make up a Christ-like character. The qualities are inter-related and together make up a system that supports The 2nd Peter Principle.
So over the next few chapters we will explore these qualities that make up a systematic way of life and form the backbone of the 2nd Peter Principle. This system, if followed, will make us effective, productive Christians. Along the way, we will also point out the universal application of this principle and the qualities, as well as what the Bible and others have to say on the subject.