In 2 Peter, the threat to the church comes from within. False teachers were bringing false doctrine and immorality into the church. Peter wants to warn the saints away and strengthen them against such people who have risen among them.

How to do that? He starts off by saying the saints need to make extraordinary effort to grow spiritually, 2 Pet 1.5-11. Much needs to be added to faith for it to be effective and saving. Faith that just sits there doing nothing goes nowhere, certainly not to heaven. Neither will it be able to resist false teaching when it appears.

For such intense effort, how is one to keep from discouragement? By focusing on God and his power. Continue reading

The apostle Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from prison. Joy is a keynote and often considered the main point of the letter. Not so noticed in the letter is how he emphasizes the power of God.

Paul begins the letter by expressing his confidence “that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil 1.6. We usually talk about what we must do to be saved. That talk is important and necessary. It must not, however, overshadow that the work of salvation is God’s. Continue reading

“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” Php 2.13 ESV.

In some circles of Christians, Philippians 2.12 is a favorite. It is a good and wonderful Bible verse needed to show others the importance of dedicated effort toward salvation. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” …

Sometimes, however, a period is added after verse 12 and verse 13 is forgotten. The tendency which separates the two verses comes from an emphasis on human effort divorced from the empowerment that God provides. But the two verses are one sentence. Continue reading

Deliver to the Lord your works and plans,
And find success when all is in his hands.
No deed will turn out well he doesn’t bless,
But faith unleashes power — from God, no less.
Believers in the Spirit accomplish more
Than any can imagine, his riches pour
Upon the faithful for the kingdom’s use;
The least of Christ can never give excuse
Of lack or little — all is ours, and we
Are God’s possession, and he with his is free.