Lesson Six – Christian’s Secure Position

Christian’s Secure Position


Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be glory both now and forever!  Amen.  II Pet. 3:17, 18

As students of God’s word, our interest is in the phrase, “since you already know this.”  We want to know the “this” the recipients already knew.  Note the preceding use of “this” in II Pet. 3:14.  We will need to know the points Peter made between the first and second “this.”  The points Peter made in the thought in 3:14-16 were made because of what they were “looking forward to this” in 3:14.  To what were they looking forward?  The answer: “But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”  II Pet. 3:13.  This is where Christians’ inheritances are being kept by God.

Disciples of Jesus are what the word “disciple” means.  It has been translated from the Greek word, mathetes.  It means a learner.  Jesus explained, “If you hold to My teachings you are really My disciples.”  John 8:31.   Peter said, “Our brother Paul wrote you with the wisdom God gave him.”  II Pet. 3:15.  God’s wisdom contains “some things that are hard to understand.”  The phrase “hard to understand” was translated from the word, dusenotos in verse 16.  It is made up from two words; dus means with difficulty; notos means to perceive – thus difficult to perceive.  The wisdom of God does not contain simple thoughts; therefore, disciples of Jesus cannot remain “ignorant and unstable.”  We grow up into our salvation.  If we do not we may “be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.” V. 17.

Peter wrote both letters to prevent Christians from falling down from the high position we attained by the grace of our new births.  We studied the details of each process in the previous lesson.  Each process in the new birth theology is the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:30; 2:4, 5; 6:11).  In Lesson Four, we learned how each Person of Deity serves Christians in specific roles.  These are the theologies Peter introduced “to stimulate you (and the recipients) to wholesome thinking.”  II Pet. 3:1.  For a complete definition of what he meant by “wholesome thinking,” please see the word definitions in the Introduction of Part II.

To begin his task Peter wrote; “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope.”  I Pet. 1:3.  Christians’ living hope will be fulfilled at the time we are awarded our inheritance in “a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”  Our inheritance will satisfy our present innate needs of “praise, glory and honor.”  I Pet. 1:7.   Therefore, we are to “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him (God).”  II Pet. 3:14.

In this lesson we want to understand the challenging terminology Peter used to identify those of us who have been born again.  I Pet. 2:9, 10 may serve as the text for this lesson.  Faithful Christians have a secure position by the grace of God.  It is ours to keep or give up.  We want to see how our true identity helps us stand against the devil’s use of false teachers and atheists.  The aim of this lesson is to help Christians have faith in how God truly identifies His children.  Present day Christians need this identity to meet and overcome false teachers, religious business people and atheists.  See Jude’s description of them in verses 4, 12, 13, 16.


Peter began and closed his first letter by identifying God’s people as the elect (I Pet. 1:1; 5:13).  See Part II, Lesson One, “Reading I & II Peter,” Item two.  This information defines the meaning and usage of “elect.”  It assures us God was not influenced by conditions other than His own will for His choosing each Christian.  Jesus may have had this point in mind when He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”  John 6:65.  He had already said, “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:40.

After the fact of being “picked out” by God, according to the righteousness of His will, Christians are “God’s elect.”  This should be enough said to assure us of who we are; however, since identity is so very crucial for our spiritual growth, we have much more assurance from God.  For instance, He arranged for the Holy Spirit to reside with us to bear witness with our spirits about our identification as sons of God (Luke 11:13; Rom. 8:16; I Thess. 4:8).  We can read in the Bible the truth about our identity.  The Holy Spirit was instrumental in getting this information to us (Isa. 43:6, 7; II Pet. 1:20, 21).  When we read about our identity in scripture and decide to have faith in what we hear, believe and understand, we can know who and whose we are.  The Holy Spirit will then reinforce our faith by His testimony (Rom. 8:16).

How will He do this?  We need to try out the exercise to know the answer.  We accept the Holy Spirit’s presence with us in the same way we do God, our Father, and Jesus, our king and priest.  We read about Deity in the Bible.  We understand the role each Person of Deity plays in relation to God’s purpose in creation for us.  We accept what we hear they are doing for us at this very moment.  God is there for us as our Father.  If we decide to place our faith in God’s new covenant in Jesus Christ, and then become obedient to our faith, we have the Priesthood of Jesus Christ fully operative 24 hours a day and seven days each week.

Bearing witness with Christians for the internalization of our identity as sons of God is just one of the Holy Spirit’s tools for our sanctification (II Thess. 2:13-15).  How important is it for Christians to identify as sons of God?  It is so critical that God sent Jesus Christ to the cross so we could have the removal of the guilt of sin from our consciences (Heb. 9:8, 9, 14).  This had to happen before the Holy Spirit would fellowship us and do His work for us (John 7:37-39; I Pet. 1:2).  The only mature people in the world who can claim the identity as sons of God are those who are Abraham’s seed.”  Please read Gal. 3:26-4:7.

Paul’s identification of the true “Israel of God” in Romans chapter 9 – 11 requires an understanding of the usage of the word “elect.”  After establishing “that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by Him who calls” in Romans 9:11, 12, he quoted God, “As He says in Hosea: ‘I will call them ‘My people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘My loved one’ who is not my loved one,’ and it will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.”  Rom. 9:25, 26.  “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:  ‘Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.’”  Rom. 9:27.  At this present time there are seven billion living souls walking around on the earth.  Every one of us are here so we may choose to become sons of God; however, as always, it is the remnant who are God’s children.  Tailors can understand the sadness in this fact.  This does not dampen the spirit of those of us who have internalized the “sons of God” identification.  See Rom. 8:18-23; Phil. 2:14-16; I Thess. 5:4-11.

Paul made his case for the true identity of God’s people when he asked:  “Did God reject His people?  By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendent of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.”  Rom. 11:1.  He was a Christian when he wrote to the Roman saints (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 3:7-11).  Paul asked, “What then?  What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did.”  Rom. 11:7.  The church Jesus is building for God is “God’s elect.”  We are the children of promise (Rom. 9:8).  The “remnant chosen by grace” is made up of people who previously identified as Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 11:5, 17-21).  Peter will work the foregoing declarations into his great discourse about the identity of people God has chosen.  Please read I Pet. 2:4-10.  Christians are free of sin, guilt, death and laws that belong to the category of the Law of Moses (I Pet. 2:16; Heb. 2:14, 15).  We are also free of all types of social stratum systems, caste, merit, seniority, race and gender because we identify as “Abraham’s seed, and heir’s according to promise.”

Jesus was chosen by God.  Heb. 2:4-6.  The Jews, who persuaded the Romans to crucify Him, knew the Christ of God was the Chosen One (Luke 23:35).  Most of them did not recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ.  Peter made this connection for the Jews and the Sanhedrin court many years before he wrote these letters; however; he made it after they had crucified the Chosen One.  See Acts. 3:11-16; 4:8-11.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declared; “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12.  This statement came from the mind of God (I Cor. 2:10-13; II Pet. 1:19-21.  It refutes the validity of all other religions in the world including the present Jewish religion.  It cuts the line between the masses and “the remnant chosen by grace.”

Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ the Jews were seeking but, by the wisdom of men, they and the world leaders failed to identify Him (I Cor. 1:22; 2:8).  “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone and a rock of offence that makes them fall.”  I Pet. 2:7, 8.  Jesus quoted this very statement from Psalms 118:22, 23 when He informed the Jewish leaders the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another people who would produce fruit for God (Matt. 21:42-46).  The kingdom has been given to God’s chosen remnant who were called “Christians first at Antioch.”  Acts 11:26.

The foregoing is the identity of Jesus of Nazareth who is Jesus Christ.  He is the “stone of Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone.”  I Pet. 2:6.  Zion was a castle, or fort, King David took from the Jebusites when he captured Jerusalem.  He lived in the castle.  The area was called the city of David (II Sam. 5:6, 7; I Chron. 11:4-9).  Later he moved the ark into his city where it remained until Solomon completed the temple (II Sam. 6:17; I Kings 8:1).  In time, Zion became synonymous with Jerusalem (II Kings 19:21; Isa. 2:3).  Several Psalms were written about the “hill of Zion.”  Some Jews sang about the “daughters of Zion” as Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to accept His prophetical inauguration as king of the Jews.  As the Son of man, He was the son of David through Mary (II Sam. 7:16; Matt. 21:1-11; Luke 1:30-33).

“For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of mount Zion a band of survivors.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”  II Kings 19:31.  See Isa. 9:6, 7.  This was Isaiah’s message from God to King Hezekiah at the time Sennacherib was threatening Jerusalem.  The Hebrew writer saw Isaiah’s mount Zion as one description of the church of God in Christ:

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose name is written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than the blood of Able.  Heb. 12:22-24

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone for building all of the above.  He is “the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him.”  I Pet. 2:4.  What we understand from the foregoing part of this lesson is the divine information Christians have upon which to base our true divine identity.  It all started for us when God, the Father, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope.”  I Pet. 1:3.  It is indeed a high position but it is a secure position based on our faith, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power.”  I Pet. 1:5.  Christians are “like living stones” being built into a spiritual house.”   We are God’s house: “Christ is a faithful Son over God’s house.  And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope we boast.”  Heb. 3:6.  Peter attributed the potential of Christians to develop “divine nature” to God’s power.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  II Pet. 1:3, 4

Although our identity is secure in our position by God’s grace, we are still in the process of “being built into” the dynamic and glorious spiritual scene the Hebrew writer presented in contrast to the scene the Israelites faced at Mt. Sinai.  Paul elaborated on what “being built into” means in Ephesians 2:19-22.  Although, Jesus is the cornerstone from which He is building God’s church, He is a “living Stone.”  The church is still being built with born again sinners God “picked out” from Satan’s kingdom (Acts 26:18).   The Holy Spirit actively works with each Christian who is like a living stone.  One result of being fitted into the spiritual house of God, or church of God, is “to be a holy priesthood.”  This holy priesthood functions by “offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ.”  I Pet. 2:5.  We function in the body of Christ because He is our High Priest.  Paul explained, in detail, much of what Peter said in this scripture.  See Rom. 12:1-8.

Christians’ identity is by grace; however, to make this identity “who we are,” we must show whose we are.  Spiritual growth of Christians is the result of our offering our bodies as living sacrifices.  Singing songs with other members of the church is pleasing to God; however, this may not be what Peter meant by “spiritual sacrifices.”  One important theology Christians have faith in is our identity.  It will be challenged regularly by the devil (I Pet. 1:6, 7; 5:8).  If our faith proves to be genuine, what we have faith in about “who we are” becomes who we are.  This identification process was explained by James about Abraham; “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”  Jas. 2:22.  John made this same point about love, the divine nature of God (I John 4:12).  In order to be love we must practice loving.  Peter will help us understand more about developing the identity we have attained by grace through faith in II Pet. 1:5-10.  This process of Christian identification happens while we “are being built into a spiritual house.”   Peter sums up the identification of a faithful Christian who combines what he or she hears and understands with their faith (Heb. 4:2).  The following are roles included in Christians’ identification Peter identified in I Pet. 2:9, 10:

1.  “You are a chosen people.”  We are God’s elect.  Paul said, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”  Eph. 4:1 and II Pet. 1:10.

2.  “A royal priesthood.”  Jesus is both king and priest (Heb. 1:8; 2:16-18).  This may suggest the reason for the word “royal.”  The Levitical priest offered physical sacrifices to God for the Israelites.  Christians offer spiritual sacrifices in our king’s priesthood in which He is the high priest.  This may be Peter’s point, or as a royal priesthood we serve the world the word of God.

3.  “A holy nation.”  The message of the kingdom of God was the message of Jesus and the apostles.  We accepted the call of the kingdom while in Satan’s kingdom.  We accepted the call to be transferred to God’s kingdom “in Christ.”  We are citizens of God’s nation but we have not yet received it as our inheritance (I Pet. 1:4; II Pet. 1:10, 11).  Our citizenship was validated in our new birth (Eph. 1:13, 14).  Now we are known as the “called out.”  This is the Bible meaning of the word church.  We need to use this word in this context.  We live “as aliens and strangers in the world.”  We live in the world but we do not maintain primary relationships with people in the world realm.  Secondary relationships are necessary (I Cor. 5:9, 10).  We have a primary relationship with God.  We trust Him.  We confide our utmost inner thoughts and desires to Him.  Our “hope and faith are in God,” and because He is holy, we are holy (I Pet. 1:15, 21).  This is who we are by grace in our living hope.

4.  “A people belonging to God.”  He created mankind with spirits that came from Him and are designed to function like Him (Heb. 12:9; Jas. 3:9).  He gave us bodies like He created for Adam.  We used our bodies as instruments of wickedness but in our repentance before baptism, we changed our minds.  We decided to offer our bodies as instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:13).  Jesus, “Himself, bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.”  I Pet. 2:24.  “Once you were not the people of God; but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Pet. 2:10.

As we grow into how God identifies us in the foregoing ways we, “may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  I Pet. 2:9.  Our calling is to “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”  I Pet. 2:12.

Questions for Discussion

1.  How should Christians’ feel about being God’s elect?  What is the meaning of the word elect as it is used in scriptures?  See Lesson One for more details.

2.  What is the meaning of the word “disciple?”  At what point does a Christian decide to be a disciple?  What will they do in order to be a disciple?  What will happen to those who do not accept or give up being a disciple?

3. How can Christians know the Holy Spirit has been, or has not been, working with us in our sanctification?  How crucial to our sanctification is identify?

4.  What has God done for Christians He never did for His people such as Abraham and David?  How was this move helpful for Christians’ identification as sons of God?

5.  The Apostle Paul dedicated three chapters of his letter to the saints in Rome to identify the “Israel of God.”  Why is this long discourse important for Christians in relation to our identification with both Jew and Gentile backgrounds?  In what way might Paul’s use of the word, remnant, be encouraging for Christians?

6.  How does Peter’s declaration in Acts 4:12 draw a distinct line about “whose who” in peoples’ relationship with God?

7.  How did the term “Mount Zion” become a metaphor for identifying God’s people?  In this context, who is the cornerstone for the building of this entity set forth in Hebrews 12:22-24?  How are Christians fitted into this spiritual structure?  What is the “secure position” of Christians?

8.   How does the Holy Spirit work with Christians to make the identity we attained by grace through faith become our present identity?  What is a Christian’s part in God’s identity program “in Christ” for Christians?  How does each of these terms Peter used in I Pet. 2:9, 10 suggest we must accept the responsibility of this particular identifying term?   How can this identity be internalized?

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