An Attitude of the Heart
This excerpt from the sermon by Pastor Josh Bales on 5/12/19 comes from 2 Peter 3:11-14. To listen to the entire sermon, please visit our resource page.
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” 2 Peter 3:14
Peter is assuming that his readers know the gospel when he arrives at v.14. Remember who he wrote to? 1:1 “To those who have obtained a faith…” So he’s not giving us a formula to be saved here. The gospel message is not ‘clean up all your spots and blemishes and then Jesus will save you.’ The good news is this: that Jesus Christ already lived a spotless and blameless life. Hebrews 7:26 tells us that He alone “…is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”
So then, how should we understand Peter’s command here? He says in v.14 “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” Peter’s logic is very straightforward. He is saying that if you are waiting and looking in anticipation for the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwell, then how can you possibly continue in unrighteousness? It’s a contradiction. How can someone say that they want to please the Lord in Heaven but not pursue pleasing Him here? How can someone say that they look forward to being free from sin, but then actively pursue sin here? How can someone say that they look forward to loving and being loved by the saints perfectly in Heaven, when they are at enmity with the saints here? That’s Peter’s logic. How can Christians say they want the righteousness of Heaven, but at the same time live in unrighteousness? It’s a contradiction.
It is completely true that even the holiest saint on earth would be very unsatisfied with their present level of holiness. (1) Paul certainly was. We see that from Romans 7. But Peter is not dealing so much with our many deficiencies. He is simply pointing out that target which every Christian should be aiming at. Are you aiming at diligence? Meaning, are you exerting yourself and endeavoring to be pleasing to Him? Peter makes it personal: “…be diligent to be found by him.” The Christian life is personal. The motivation for holiness is never to be simply carrying out a list of rules and regulations. (2) No. The motivation for holiness is to please the Lord.
“…try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10
Paul prayed for all the saints in Colossians 1:10 “…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.”
“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1
So then, what is pleasing to the Lord? Peter tells us “…be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish.” Now this is in sharp contrast to how he described the false teachers in 2:13. He said “they are blots and blemishes.” Why did he call them blots and blemishes? Well just ask yourself: what mainly characterized those false teachers? They had no regard for God’s word or His Christ (2:1) and they used and exploited people for their own gain (2:3). You see, Peter called them blots and blemishes because they lived for themselves. They denied the Master who bought them.
Do you see?
True Christians are the redeemed property of Christ.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
So first and foremost, to be without spot or blemish is a foundational attitude of the heart. It’s the heart that says, “My life is not my own, I belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” Everything flows from that attitude of the heart.
(1) Alexander Nisbet, An Exposition of 1 & 2 Peter, (Carlisle, PA.,: The Banner of Truth Trust, Reprint 2004), pg. 287
(2) Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, (Carlisle, PA.,: The Banner of Truth Trust, Reprint 1999), pg. 205