By Eugene Crawley
In writing to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . .” (2 Pet. 1:1), the apostle goes on in this epistle to these brethren to point out the condition of those who failed to add the Christian virtues (vs. 5-7). He said, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (vs. 9). These were not, and are not, the only brethren who have forgotten their calling by the gospel and the obligations connected with discipleship. Certainly those who fail to add to their faith, to grow spiritually, will soon forget that they were purged (cleansed) from their old sins.
Such individuals lose interest in the “like precious faith”; they forget the responsibility they accepted in the kingdom of Christ by being purged (saved) from their old sins and being born into God’s family. By being baptized into Christ, where all spiritual blessings are to be enjoyed (Eph. 1:3), not only do we have access to these many blessings, we take upon us duties that must faithfully be discharged if we are to continue to be clean and pure in the sight of God. Remember, James said, as he wrote to Christians, ” . . .. receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). Therefore, we must continue to apply (obey) the word of God to remain pure and justified in His sight. Truly we need His word daily to direct us in our life in Christ, and preparation for eternity.
There are a number of things forgotten by many brethren; at least they do not follow them, so surely they have forgotten. Shall we notice some of these:
Purging (Cleansing). This is said by Peter to have been forgotten by some of his brethren. If one rises from the waters of baptism a new creature, cleansed from sin, and makes no further progress – does not add to his faith, he is very likely to forget even the joy experienced when he was made a new creation in Christ. He will fail to remember that, as a new creature, he is expected by the Lord to “walk in the light as He is in the light” so as to have fellowship with Him and others of the like precious faith, and continue to have his sins cleansed by the blood of Christ (1 Jn. 1:7). How sad that the memory of some is so short; what a blessing it is to know that in Christ Jesus He provides for our every need spiritually and that we can go on unto perfection (maturity). Not a few, later in life begin to wonder if they ever really obeyed the Lord from the heart, and desire to be immersed again.
Zeal. This is another thing that is often forgotten. When one obeys the gospel, he usually does so with zeal and determination to accomplish great things in the service of the Master. Yet, if he fails to add these virtues, he soon forgets and loses his fervor; he is no longer “on fire” with zeal; he drifts back into the world and is overcome with sin; he is satisfied to feed upon the husks of the devil rather than the pure word of God.
Influence. Upon obedience to the gospel, one’s influence for good is increased. He may never know how many are encouraged by his obedience and will eventually do God’s will to save themselves. However, if he forgets about his influence, fails to appreciate the fact that he can be an instrument for good to be used by the Lord, and goes back into the world, those individuals may never be saved. What a pity that every Christian does not think more of his own soul and the souls of others whom he may influence, than to allow the devil to entice him and lure him back into the clutches of sin and servitude of Satan, the god of this world.
Importance Of Making The Calling Sure. “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall,” so Peter declared (v. 10) and said (v. 11) that “an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom”; this way we may ensure our eternal welfare. But if we forget its importance and become engrossed in the things of the world, we will soon be in worse condition than the beginning, for Peter so states in 2 Peter 2:20-22. Brethren who forsake the assembling, half-heartedly engage in worship to God when present, stand back while others bear the load and do the task, and are dilatory in service to God in general, will be shocked in judgment to learn that they have failed to make adequate preparation.
Indeed, many “hath forgotten” these responsibilities and, in their unfaithfulness, are influencing others either to remain in sin, or return to the world and the power of Satan. Have you forgotten? If so, bring to remembrance the blessings you once enjoyed, the hope you had as a faithful child of God, and the duties you have shirked and return to the Lord before it is too late!
Guardian of Truth XXV: 10, pp. 154-155
March 5, 1981