Think You’re Making Progress?

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3–11, NIV 1984). 

My Musings – When asked why he continued to practice four to five hours a day at age 90, legendary cellist Pablo Casals had this somewhat wry response, “because I think I’m making progress.”

While we can skip from condemnation to justification, it was very expensive.  “How expensive?”  The Creator of the universe had to take on human flesh, live a perfect life, die for our sins, and most importantly rise again.  But we cannot skip from justification to Christ-likeness (“get right to perfect”) in this lifetime, without sanctification.  This will take us “to” perfection in “increasing measure,” but “into” perfection. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14, NIV 1984). 

Upon death, all Christians will be glorified.  For, “we know that when he appears [or we appear before Him in death], we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2, NIV 1984).  But not all will necessarily receive an unqualified “well done, good and faithful servant.” Therefore, each of us “should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:10–15, NIV 1984). 

This will not be easy.  Taking up our cross rarely is.  It takes practice to become a disciple.  It takes no practice at all to remain like the “old man.”

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“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self [man/woman], which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self [man/woman], created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24, NIV 1984). 

My Advice – How are you doing?  Are you making progress?  You won’t be able to without “practice” (“press on”).  Put off your old self.  Put on the new self “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Don’t go sleeping on the job.

Author: thebrewisamusing

I was raised in a Christian family and my earliest childhood memories include regular Sunday school and Church attendance as a family. I was taught that our Judeo-Christian values were not just a part of our Sunday routine they should be part of our character and influence all aspects of our lives. I was also taught that as important as these values were they could not save us. We must also be “born again” by accepting Christ.

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