Okay, I’m going to try this again. I know that writing about morality puts one on very shaky ground these days. The last time I tried I was met with some….. unkind words on social media. But as we go through the life path found in 2 Peter 1 or as I like to call it, “Sanctification Street,” one must either do a spiritual broad jump over verse 5 or address morality. In my previous blog entry we looked at faith. I defined faith as believing and trusting; when we believe AND trust something or someone – we have faith. Faith just so happens to be the way to get in the Kingdom of God and onto “Sanctification Street.” Regardless of race, color, creed, socio economic status, or sin proclivity God’s grace is available. Anyone may enter into the Kingdom of God – by faith….. ANYONE! But just like orangejuice isn’t just for breakfast, faith isn’t just for salvation. Faith is the fuel for the engine that takes us up Sanctification Street. Without faith fuel we stall out! So, if you have entered into the Kingdom of God by faith…. What’s next? Well, you follow the path (Sanctification Street) found in 2 Peter 1 and pick up the next quality – MORAL EXCELLENCE.
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1 NASB)
Jesus bought your righteousness and gave you the right to stand before a perfectly Holy (set apart from sin) and just (cannot allow sin to go unpunished) God. You received this righteousness by faith (believing and trusting). The next step is moral excellence (virtue or good character) depending on what translation you read. The Greek word rendered “moral excellence” in the New American Standard Bible means moral goodness in thought and action. In other words, we are to begin thinking and acting like a child of God. Another way of putting it is that we begin to agree with God’s view of what is best. The Bible is big enough to keep us busy for a lifetime growing in our knowledge of what God has said. Actually, growing in knowledge is the next quality on Sanctification Street after moral excellence, so let’s not jump ahead. Moral excellence is a natural next step after one enters by faith through the door of salvation – which is faith in Jesus Christ. Think about it, we don’t earn salvation, we receive it by believing Jesus paid for our salvation with His death, burial and resurrection from the dead….. and then trusting Him alone for our salvation and with our lives. This is another way of saying we are saved by “receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.” Doesn’t it go without saying that if you have a Lord (aka master), then you do what He says? Now, Jesus isn’t a harsh task-master of a Lord. He is a loving Shepherd, willing to give His life for His sheep! So, in essence, Moral Excellence is agreeing with God about what is best for us! We believe that God is good, that God loves us, that God knows us and that God will lead us to what is best. So when God instructs, we follow….. why? Because our faith (belief and trust) leads us to do so for our own good!
What is Moral Excellence?
There are hundreds… perhaps thousands of examples one could use to illustrate moral excellence. But how about we stick with one that has become the most controversial today – homosexuality. We’re not talking about attraction or struggling with homosexuality but whether or not the lifestyle is something a child of God is to avoid. The answer is yes. As a matter of fact we could say the same about many other lifestyles that are celebrated in today’s world which stand in contrast to the following statement: In the Kingdom of God, sex is a gift that is to be enjoyed only in the marriage covenant. In other words, sex is to be enjoyed between a husband and a wife. If you are in a sexual relationship outside of those boundaries, you are outside of God’s will. I know this isn’t easy, but it is possible. We could go into each and every argument that the world offers, but it boils down to this question: Do you believe what the Bible says on this topic? If yes – then trust it for your life (believe + trust = FAITH). If you know what Scripture teaches but willfully choose something else, I submit to you that the problem is with your faith. Somehow, someway you don’t think that what God prescribes is best FOR YOU. So, if you BELIEVE the Bible – then act like it. I chose homosexuality because it is a hot-button topic today, but I could have chosen: adultery, fornication, quick temperedness, drunkenness, addiction, dishonesty, foul language, not giving, not forgiving, not loving…. you get the point.
This is not hate speech. It is love speech aimed at only a specific group of people in the world… born again Christians. If you are not yet a Christian it is not my nor any other Christian’s job to police your conduct. I have no interest in making homosexuals into heterosexuals outside of the Kingdom of God. I would like to introduce any non-Christian to my Lord and Savior who loves them very much and died so that they might enter into the Kingdom of God, not by works but by faith. And if you are a Christian, then what is best for you is to agree with God – your loving Father who knows and communicates what is best for His children. Start traveling up Sanctification Street, by faith. It is what is best for you – and that is what I want!