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Real vs. Wax

June 6, 2009

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8

Have you ever seen a bowl of well made wax fruit? The wax fruit looks great. It is shiny, has perfect color and no flaws. The wax fruit is designed to look like the best fruit you could possibly hope to find. In comparison, real fruit often has spots and blemishes on it. The color is often less vibrant and the shape is not as perfect. But which would you rather eat? We know that having the real thing is much better than even a perfect imitation. In Peter’s second letter to the scattered believers, Peter has had to address the issue of false teachers infiltrating the churches. As he leads into his warnings, Peter instructs the believers to add to their faith. Verse 8 immediately follows a list of seven things that must be added to the believers faith. “These things” are virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love and sacrificial love. In leading into the point of instruction, he says if these things are in you and if these things abound. What Peter is talking about is not just the outward show of these seven things. He is talking about the reality of having them in your heart. This is not just doing a list of things, this is actually being these things. The difference here is the difference between a finely crafted, beautifully exact piece of wax fruit and a piece of real fruit. The perfect appearance will never do, only the real thing is enough. These things must be in us, so that we are the real deal. God is not satisfied with our imitation of virtue and godliness and love. He demands that we be very diligent in having these things actually in us. The process of putting these things in us begins with filling our minds with the Bible. That is why Peter opens this book with the statement that God has given to “us all thing that pertain unto life and Godliness.” That is why just before moving into the specific address about the false teachers, Peter points to the Word and says, “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.” We are not going to be adding to our faith unless we are putting in our hearts the truths necessary for life and godliness, but when we are putting the Word into our hearts, “these things” will be in us and they will be increasing. In this chapter Peter also tells us that these things will not be in us unless we are diligent about our efforts to increase in them. Throughout this first chapter Peter refers to the necessity of hard work in the Christian life. The point he is driving home is simple, we don’t grow in our faith and we will not have these things in us if we do not get actively involved in the process. The process of adding to our faith does not end with an earnest desire and heartfelt prayer to be more like Christ. That is where it begins. You must go on and labor, faithfully and exhaustively, to build into your heart, mind and life all the things that God demands be in there. You cannot step back and hope God picks you up and moves you to where He wants you. You must engage the process with intensity so that you are in training to be what God expects. Work hard in the Word so that these things will be real in your life.

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