“….seeing that He has bestowed upon us all of His divine power necessary to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of the One calling us to His own glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
This is a proper translation from the Greek and differs from the popular editions of the Bible, to the extent that “His divine power” is in the genitive, not the nominative as it is usually treated in English translations.
God makes His appeal to man’s will, not his mind or his emotions, but his will. Jesus surrendered His will to that of the Father; that was the sacrifice of His life; it was something He did at all times; “not my will but yours” was His life principle.
Many Christians have an emotional response to Jesus Christ; they can truly say they love Him; but they shy away from the difficult task of putting into practice what He preached; that is, to “take up your cross and follow Me”; that is, follow Him in setting aside your will in all things, surrendering your will into the hands of God!
There is a reason for this, and it is a tragedy. For many, Christ engages the feelings, but the will is withheld from His sovereignty. The average Christian does not dare to check his life against that of Jesus, for to do so, would challenge the assertion of faith. It is easier for the mind to approve and the feelings to enjoy, than for the will to surrender.
And modern theology accommodates this lack of integration of the human personality with the Divine nature; its necessity is just ignored altogether. The over-emphasis on free, unconditional grace has swept away the notion that man has anything to do with his own salvation; sin itself is so ignored as to imply that God cares little about it. The gospel has been degraded into a means for man to escape the due penalty for his sins. Surrender of the feelings and intellectual assent is what makes a saint today!
But this is nonsense of a high order. Anyone who believes that God will forgive a man’s past without transforming his present has a false impression of God. The gift of salvation is free indeed; there is nothing we can do to deserve it; but it carries with it moral implications and ignoring this leads believers into a false place indeed.