“Add to your faith……….” (2 Peter 1:5).
While it is true that there is nothing that we can do to earn salvation – Jesus Christ has done that which we could not – there is much that we are yet to do if we are to take hold of the salvation that is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). God works our salvation in through the Blood of Christ Jesus but we must work it out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Peter points this out; “add to your faith” he says; what that means is that there are clearly things that only we can do; we have to do our own adding; no-one else can add for me.
We enter the kingdom on the basis of conviction of sin and repentance, belief in God, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving of the Holy Spirit; these are all actions that take place within us. From God’s perspective what has taken place is that we have obtained redemption through the Blood of Christ and forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7); at this point we are redeemed and justified; we are not sanctified or saved.
We now legally and justly belong to Christ, having been redeemed from the authority of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of His Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13); but this is a beginning only and there is much that we must do if we are to obtain the inheritance for which we have been chosen beforehand (Ephesians 1:11). Receiving the Holy Spirit is only the deposit that God has made; we have to make the payments ourselves before we can take possession of that inheritance.
We tend to rely on what God has done; indeed, there is a whole body of religious doctrine, based on selected extracts of the scriptures, that supports the notion that there is nothing for us to do, except to go to Church. But while it is true that we cannot do what only God can do, it is also true that God will not do what He tells us we are to do.
Inheritance belongs to sons and, if we are to obtain what He has chosen us for – adoption as sons, salvation and eternal life – we too, must become sons. The example of sonship given to us to model ourselves on is that of Jesus, who;
“Though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
The things which He suffered were not only on the Cross; His suffering was also the ongoing, continual sacrifice of His life to the obedience of the Father; it was doing only that which the Father told Him (John 8:28), saying only that which the Father told Him (John 12:49), doing the things that were pleasing to the Father (John 8:29). These things He chose to do, as a man born of a woman, suffering the same temptations as we do, yet remaining without sin (Hebrews 4:15); His sufferings were the temptations to which He was exposed. Through His resisting temptation and instead, obeying the Father, the Son of Man became the Son of God.
In the same way, we can also become sons of God, by adoption, and brethren of Christ Jesus.