“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3–4, AV)
One of the things I have often heard when I was in the military was, “No excuses.” On one occasion, I was given the order to have my six tanks prepared for an inspection in the morning. Somehow, even though the inspections were supposed to be a surprise, we got wind of the fact that we were to be inspected in the morning. So, I personally inspected each vehicle the night before. The next day the company was inspected. Unfortunately, I was in a mandatory language class at the time. One of our tanks failed the inspection because the sight reticle for the main gun did not illuminate. When I looked into the problem the next day, I discovered that the light bulb that illuminated the reticle had loosened as the crew drove it to the inspection point. Later that day, when the commander called me into his office, I tried to explain what happened. He did not care, but only said, “I don’t want to hear excuses.”
Of course, in this situation, there were valid excuses. In the broken world in which we live, things happen. However, in the Christian life there are certain things in which all excuses are truly eliminated. Here, Peter speaks of this when he stated, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” As believers, God has granted to us “all things” that are necessary to live the Christian life and to practice godliness. Because we know Christ, we have been blessed by God’s grace with every thing we need to live a life of Christian virtue.
By God’s grace, we have experienced the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. In this work, the Holy Spirit has granted each of us a new divine nature. It is the change of our heart that causes us to love God, to seek Him and His righteousness. He has changed our will, our most inner desires. Yes, we still struggle with the old fleshly nature, but now have a desire to seek God and to please Him.
Moreover, we have not only the desire to seek for God and His righteousness, but we also have been granted the power to please Him with our lives, to live a godly life. Jesus stated that many blessings would come when He sent the promised Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit grants us the ability to understand the things of God as revealed in His word. The Spirit also indwells us and grants us the power to overcome the world system, the lusts of the flesh, and the devil’s evil schemes.
Yes, we will still stumble on occasion. The reason is that we do still struggle with the problem of the old nature. However, believers are no longer characterized by the flesh. Their lives are not mastered by sin and self. True believers are characterized by Christ and they strive for godliness. It is for this reason believers are identified as Christians.
It is true that when we do fall as believers, that we have no excuse. However, we do have grace. It is by grace that we have been saved and it is by grace that the Lord picks us up and sets us back on solid ground when we fall.