Forgetting Forgiveness

Character transformation is a significant part of Christian discipleship. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to strive for Christlikeness. Peter has some instructive things to say for how we should think about this area of discipleship. He tells us that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). We have been united to Christ and now his very nature and character is finding expression in us. We have been regenerated and reborn, which has created in us a new creation impulse. We have a new desire within our hearts to walk in obedience to God. We have been given the Holy Spirit who compels and enables our every act of good. The good gifts of  the Spirit and our renewed nature flow forth from the gospel, the death and resurrection of Christ issued in both. From Peter’s second letter we learn that the gospel is not merely the origin of our initial transformation. He calls his readers to pursue a long litany of character qualities (2 Pet 1:5-7). He assumes that these qualities will be present and increasing in the life of every disciple. If they are not growing in this he way he tells us there is a clear reason why. “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Pet 1:9). Like a skilled doctor Peter gives an expert diagnosis of a fruitless life. As he assesses why a believer may lack the godly qualities that should characterize his life he makes a very simple observation: they have forgotten. They have become nearsighted and blind missing the very thing they need to continue growing. They have forgotten forgiveness. They have forgotten the gospel. When the gospel is forgotten godliness wanes. The source of our initial character transformation is the same source of our ongoing change. The flip side of forgetting is remembering. As we continue to remember, believe, and apply the gospel we will be changed. I believe the primary exhortation we need to hear over and over again in our journey is “Remember”! We must remember the gospel of our salvation.

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