Now ye are clean
The word ‘clean’ is the Greek: katharos (G2513). It refers to real purity within the soul. We are to be pure, cleansed, free of sin and its defilements. This is done by the Lord at salvation, where our sins are remitted, we are redeemed, and our righteousness is His. The branches attached to the True Vine are such kind of branches.
In that carthartic state, we are told to ‘abide’. This is the Greek word: meno (G3306), meaning to ‘remain, to continue, to dwell, and to abide’. This is a command to remain in Christ, and to keep Him alone as our Source of life and wisdom. The reason we must do so, is spelled out by Jesus here, for we will not produce good fruit, unless we do remain, abide in Him.
Lack of purity, lack of fruit of the Spirit, prove one in not attached to the TRUE VINE. The Lord will cast forth the impure, the unfruitful.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth
Believers must remain receiving from Him, if we want to bring forth good fruit. If any man does not abide, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and burned.
WE NEED TO BE POSITIVE, NOT NEGATIVE.
Judgmentalism is wrong and forbidden. Fruit inspection is good, and commanded.
There are two circles of saints. Some in this revival talk of miracles, healing, and salvation. Some others talk of backsliding, sin, failings, judgment, and how hard it is to witness. Both of these extremes are present. The Lord can do little with the second group, but the first group who see the "silver lining", instead of the "dark clouds" are more easily moved by God toward perfection, power, and victory. The same is true for the ones suffering from the mistreatment of others. Those who have set themselves up as ‘judges’ in our life, trying to pronounce us ‘stupid, awful, weak, unspiritual, lazy, ugly, etc.’ are not to be foremost in our mind. They are not our judge, we have only the Lord to Whom we answer. His judgments are wise and ‘unsearchable’.
Romans 11:33-36 (KJV)
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor?
35 Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
God is not seeking to judge and condemn. He is still pouring out mercy on all who will choose Him. Coming to Him in our pains and in our sorrows, we can be assured that He is happy and willing to aid us. If there are unrepented sins, wrongs we have done to even those who hurt us, all He is seeking is repentance, not judgment.
Surely, there is death, persecution, and the wrath of the sinners to come in attack against the saints. Yet, there are also blessings, revival, the rapture of the church, the judgment seat of Christ, and the joys of heaven also soon to come for we His children. On which do you contemplate?
If God is not ready to judge yet, why do we want to hurry that time up, or why do we try to do that for Him. He will remove barren branches, and all we are to do, is lovingly inspect for fruit, that we might know how to love and how to encourage that person toward becoming part of the True Vine.
When God does need to do a bit of work on our own persons, He does it with the expectation that we will turn to Him during the judgment.
"...in their affliction, they will seek Me early."
If we must speak of trials, let us also speak that:
"...all things work together for good."
When we must speak of the great sins of the day, let us add:
"Where sin abounded, grace did the much more abound."
When we speak of being beat down by the unmerciful ones, let us not forget to add:
"...we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Also, remember that we have the strength of the Lord, to give us victory in all our trials.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (KJV)
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
HOW TO MAKE SURE THERE IS FRUIT
IN OUR OWN LIVES
Surely, none of us will ever be perfect. Yet, if we are connected to the True Vine, we want to continue in being fruitful, and be more and more fruitful.
Peter, who even after his conversion to Jesus, failed at times to show great fruitfulness, gives us the secret that he found to becoming more and more fruitful. When other ‘fruit inspectors’ observe us, they should see great fruitfulness.
II Peter 1:5
‘And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue.’
We would not be Christians, if we did not have ‘faith’. Yet, some try to live their whole Christian life with just ‘faith’. Yes, that does make us to be a child of God, but if we stay there, with only ‘faith’, then the battles against evil spirits and against the wiles and temptations of life, we will find ourselves too vulnerable to failure.
We are to add to our faith, virtue. This is the Greek word, ‘arete’ meaning ‘manliness, valor, excellence.’ There are many who like to hide in a fox hole, or in a cave, or in the back pew of the church. They have not realized this is a battlefield. They have not seen that the devil and his cohorts are enemies of the church, and are on the attack. Their lack of willingness to be part of the Lord’s army, results in a weakness that leads to sin. Those that step up to battle the devils, will find it hard and tough, but that willingness to battle starts the insurance of success over the devil who will fight us even if we try not to battle him.
II Peter 1:5
"...and to virtue, knowledge...’
The word for ‘knowledge’ is ‘gnosis’, which refers to proven knowledge, science. We need to get into the Word of God, and seek to get the answers to the questions. Study of the Word, gives more faith, for ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word.’ We need to grow in knowledge, adding it to our faith and virtue. As we do, we get stronger.
II Peter 1:6
"...and to knowledge, temperance...’
Temperance is the Greek word ‘egkrateia’ meaning ‘self control, to be strong in a thing." So many do not want to be righteous all the time. They look at their faith as a part time job, and want to relax sometimes, want to have recreation periods, furloughs from the battlefront, and vacation from faith, God, and the battle. They indulge self in excesses, distractions, and leisure. We need to stay strong, for while we lay down our faith, cease fighting in the battle, we find that in that weakened state, the devil mounts some serious attacks.
II Peter 1:6
"...and to temperance, patience...’
Patience is the Greek word ‘hupomone’, meaning ‘endurance, enduring a wait.’ Some have a hard time not having the victory parade till the end of the war. They want heaven now, they want the war to be finally won, and no more temptation, no more struggles. Their impatience with the long warfare, brings them to weakness. If we learn to be patient, the Lord will keep the possibility of failures from coming upon the child of God.
II Peter 1:6
"...and to patience, godliness...’
The word for ‘godliness’ is ‘eusebeia’ meaning ‘piety, holiness’. There is a need for holy living. Sin grips, entraps, ensnares, and is harder and harder to stop. It does not stay the same, but every sin leads to more sin, entrapping more. Therefore, to live free from sin, and repenting of every failure, having a holy life, is key to victory.
II Peter 1:7
‘and to godliness, brotherly kindness...’
This is the Greek word ‘philadelphia’ meaning ‘brotherly love.’ It is a love with respect for the person. This love is admiration for another, agreement with their person. This is a love different than we can have for our enemies. This love we have only for those who are good persons. We need to find those who are worthy of love, who are worthy of respect. Having godly friends, to whom we can go for intercession and encouragement,
II Peter 1:7
"...to brotherly kindness charity...’
Having found some that we can have phileo love for, we need then to add ‘agape’ love. The word ‘charity’ is ‘agape’. It is a love given to those who are unlovely, those who are not able to be respected and honored for their goodness, and love-ability. We have this love for ‘enemies’, for those who are yet sinners and unlovely.
II Peter 1:8
"For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
The words ‘be in you’ means ‘to come into existence’. For these need to be quietly birthed into us, and then to ‘abound’ in us. We are not to seek a ‘small dose’ of this remedy, for it is something upon which we need to feast. It is not to be a vaccination against failure, but a permanent power over it.
We should not be ‘barren’, meaning we are not to be idle and delaying in getting and keeping these things to keep us greatly fruitful.
If we do these things, we will not be ‘unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This ‘knowledge’ of Jesus is the word ‘epignosis’, meaning a ‘full discernment’. We will fully discern our Lord, knowing Him in a personal and fellowship way.
LACK OF GREAT FRUITFULNESS PROVES
A LACK OF PURIFICATION...
PURIFICATION IS NEEDED.
I Peter 1:9
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten he was purged from his old sins."
The kind of ‘sins’ mentioned here are ‘hamartia’, which means ‘missing the mark.’ We should all have God’s laws, and His will as our target, and be aiming to do as He desires. The ‘old’ failures of hitting that mark, are ‘purged’. God forgives all repented sins. They are ‘cleansed’ from us. Some forget how great a grace that was, and have not done as He has required of those He has forgiven.
I Peter 1:10
"Wherefore, rather, brethren, give diligence, to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do those things, ye shall never fall."
It does take "diligence" to heed the instructions given here in Peter’s epistle. Our ‘calling and election’ to God’s kingdom, can be made ‘sure’. The word ‘sure’ is from the Greek word, ‘bebainos’ meaning ‘stable, stedfast, and certain.’ If we do these things, as instructed, we will ‘never fall’. God’s Word is true. We can have assurance of salvation, but there is an ‘if’, and there are things we should do.
"...we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom;
that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily."
We are not to be judgmental, not to be condemning. We are to know others by their ‘fruit’, we are to be ‘fruit inspectors’. To do this rightly, we need to be sure we, ourselves, are greatly fruitful. We do that by following Peter’s instructions, and thereby not be ‘barren’ or lacking of great fruitfulness. When we are greatly fruitful, we have an obligation to be ‘fruit inspectors’.