How is Christianity the remover of the stones—God gives provisions (pt 1)

God’s power not only makes it possible for us to clearly see the truth, God also provides the things necessary for anyone to completely nullify the stones from their life and live in a manner pleasing to God. What are those things God gives?

In his second letter, the apostle Peter explains God’s generosity to anyone who obeys the gospel. Peter states that God provides two overarching provisions: those things that pertain to life, and those things that pertain to godliness (italics added).

According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue, through which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV).

These provisions for life and godliness are the basis on which everything in the Christian faith is founded. Peter’s phrase, pertaining to life, refers to all the supports and blessings God provides to those who know him in order that they may live this current life in the light of God’s truth. This also includes every believer’s expectation that God has granted them eternal life. The phrase, pertaining to godliness, refers to all the necessary things that enable and support believers to live this present life in the light of Jesus Christ. God provides the wherewithal to live a life pleasing to God and the grace and help and restoration when we fail to live in the manner he expects from us.

Peter goes on to point out that God provides these things through the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God (or correct thinking about God) is found in the Bible and is made clear to us as God works within our hearts and minds. The words God provides contain great and precious promises. These promises are the provisions to us that range from forgiveness of sins, to permanent reconciliation with God, to his strengthening help in time of need, to the necessary supports of joy and peace and expectation, and, in the end, eternal life. The point here is that God provides these necessary provisions.

Notice that Peter also states that believers actually escaped from “the corruption that is in the world…” We should understand that the corruption Peter refers to is the corruption in both sin and incorrect or corrupted thinking about God. I suppose it is unnecessary to provide more quotes from people whose hearts are darkened leading them to place their views and opinions about God on public display. Such voices spread incorrect views about God to others which build impediments in people’s lives. Subsequently, many people are snared by these corrupted views. Paul wisely explains this in his letter to Timothy. Notice the crucial words I have italicized:

But the servant of the Lord must not strive, but to be gentle to all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose, if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they awake out of the snare of the Devil, having been taken captive by him (2 Timothy 2:24-26 MKJV).

The provisions of God
Seeing that God is the remover of the stones and impediments that hinder people from coming to and knowing God, let’s compile a list of the things God provides making this possible.

1. God provided Jesus Christ to be the propitiation for our sins
The most remarkable aspect of God’s provisions for humanity is that God provided the propitiation for sin. In other words, God himself paid the penalty for our disobedience and personal sin. In Romans, Paul states man’s great dilemma and God’s great provision for that dilemma: “...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23-25 ESV).

Here is a short excerpt to better understand the word propitiation:

Propitiation. The turning away of wrath by an offering...Man’s sin receives its due reward, not because of some impersonal retribution, but because God’s wrath is directed against it. The whole of the argument of the opening part of Romans is that all men, Gentiles and Jews alike, are sinners, and that they come under the wrath and the condemnation of God. When Paul turns to salvation, he thinks of Christ's death as propitiation, a means of removing the divine wrath. The paradox of the OT is repeated in the NT that God himself provides the means of removing his own wrath (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 692).

The most important and necessary provision of God is the removal of his wrath against sin for those who obey the gospel. This provision shows God’s love for humanity and his willingness to provide what mankind cannot provide for himself: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

2. God provides forgiveness of our personal sins
Since God provides a propitiation for humanity’s sins, God removes the impediment that blocks people from coming to him. In other words, God forgives people for their sins and clears the impediment of sin. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, descriptively explains the removal of the impediment of sins (italics added).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV).

Paul’s description of God’s provision for the impediment of our sins is four-fold: God forgives our trespasses; blots them out; takes them out of the way, and nails them to the cross. Paul’s explanation indicates the degree to which God removes the sin impediment from us. In the Old Testament David describes it like this: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12 MKJV).

3. God provides adoption of sons, daughters, and fellow citizens
God’s provisions do not simply encompass humanity as a whole, but his provisions reach to the individual. The New Testament is replete with statements inisting that those who respond and obey the gospel are granted the provision of adoption into God’s family. Adoption removes barriers in the same fashion that family members inherently have fewer barriers with intimate relationship than strangers or simple aquaintenances. Consider what John says: “But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God” (John 1:12-13 MKJV).

This is not the only reference to adoption. Here are some more.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14 MKJV).
“And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them. 'You are not My people; there they shall be called sons of the living God'" (Romans 9:26 MKJV).
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6 MKJV).
“…so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among these you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15 MKJV).

The provisions of God do not stop with adoption. God goes further. His provisions include all that God deems imporant and of real value. Consider Paul’s wonderful summary found in Ephesians 2:12-19 (emphasis added).

…and that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them; and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:12-19 MKJV).

Because of Jesus Christ, the impediments of being estranged to God, being strangers to the promises and covenants of God, and being without access to God, are removed by God on our behalf. Those who come to God through Christ are brought into God’s family and made members and citizens of God’s household. God “has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Those who come to God through Christ are reconciled and made partakers in all these things.

Now let’s move on to discuss more of what God provides in part 2.

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