Discipleship Curriculum

Conforming to the Likeness of Christ

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Christ has given to us all we need in order to grow. We have His Spirit, His Word, His Fruit, and our faith community.

Read 2 Peter 1: 1-4

General idea: Christ has given to us all we need in order to grow. We have His Spirit, His Word, His Fruit, and our faith community. This does not even include the countess resources we have in our modern age. He has called us and empowered us, so what more could we expect? The clincher is that we have the responsibility to make it happen. Our faith is in our hands. He gives us the water, the fertilizer, the ground, the air, the "SON," and the seed. He even plants it! All we have to do is cultivate what He has given. What stands in the way of the cultivation of our faith? Usually, it is not recognizing and taking to heart His promises, which leaves us unsure of what we can do.

We are called to partake of His divine nature. He gives us the power to do so, even to overcome temptations and evil. If we do not sidestep corruption and evil, we will become consumed with all that takes us away from Christ and His call to develop and mature our faith! Goodness cannot work when we are distracted away from Him. If we are not living the godly life, but rather are defending our positions from our pride, how can we lead others to Him?

Look over these key words and ask how do they relate to you?

  • His divine power. The knowledge of Christ increases our faith and power! This is also to counter Gnostic philosophy that states the soul and body are separate and we can do as we wish with our bodies as long as our hearts remain pure. Our hope is not in what we do; it is in what Christ has done for us!
  • Given everything we need/granted to us. We have no excuse not to grow in Him. All that is important and eternal has already been given to us. What is important is what grows our faith and our spiritual formation¾the Holy Spirit, God's Word, other believers who are mature, and most important, Christ's work for us!
  • Godliness is a synopsis of character that shows our attitude, moral fiber, disposition, and how we treat one another, either good or bad. We are called to virtue; this refers to being pious and living a good, reverent life toward God and others because of what Christ has done in us. This is a response from our worship of Christ with an authentic desire to know Him in a greater way. It creates our desire to be pious, which means to rearrange our priorities, mindsets, and character to line up with God's character and be able to see the importance of virtue, therefore becoming equipped to use it to value others (Psalm 15; Micah 6:8; Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31; Eph. 5:1; Col. 3:15-17; 1 Tim. 3:16; 4:8; 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:5; 2 Pet. 1:3, 6; 3 John 11; Rev 14:6).
  • Precious promises/has granted to us. He gives us precious promises. Knowing the promises of God will help us escape the evils of the world. This is a tremendous way to take hold of our trust in Him and grow our faith through our obedience. A Bible Promise book is a necessity! (Many are in our Devotional channel for free)
  • Participate/partakers of the divine nature means we partake in Christ. We participate as sons, children of God as we are conformed to the likeness of Christ. We are not made divine through our efforts or His, or purification, and we are not little gods. What this means is we have the image of God in us; we have the Holy Spirit, the Divine Nature living in us guiding, leading, motivating, and fulfilling us (Gen. 3:5; John 1:12; Rom. 8:9-21, 29; 2 Pet. 1:9, 11).
  • Escape the corruption of the world. Our sinful nature creates our sinful desires that lure us with passion to what is deceitful and evil. The decay of our standing in Him and of virtue will cause the decay of our selves and our culture. The question is, whose lure are you biting into¾Satan's or God's (2 Pet. 2:14; 3:3)?

God has given us the power to live for Him victoriously and with excellence! He feeds us the spiritual food, pays our spiritual debt, and gives us knowledge and the assets to be godly and good. If we truly trust in Christ¾not just as Savior but also as LORD¾we are given the power and ability to live a life of fullness, distinction of character, and spiritual maturity so He is glorified by our lives and living testimony. He gives us the resources. They are here for us, and are at our disposal. We are not alone or cut off from what we need! But, there is a catch. We have to go for it; we have to appropriate His gifts and opportunities into our lives, as in finding and engaging them. We take firm hold of our faith (make our election sure) when we trust and then obey what He has for us. If we do not, we live a life of waste and even sin, missing out what is soooo good and precious for us. Why would anyone forsake His love and gifts (Deut. 31:6; Phil. 2:13; 3:13-14; 4:13)?

There is a second aspect to receiving and applying His power into our lives. We have the responsibility to practice it. We are not great at it at the start. Just like learning to drive or play a game, it takes time to master, no matter how talented we may be. We have to work at it by learning, absorbing, and then applying what we have learned. In using it, we grow and mature. The price is not too high since Christ paid for it. We have no excuse not to grow and serve Him! Never consider that it is too difficult or that you are not gifted or worthy enough, because the Spirit in you is able to do it (Psalm 87:7; Isaiah 40:29-31; John 14:13-14; 2 Cor. 9:8; Col. 3:23)!

The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):

1. What does this passage say?

2. What does this passage mean?

3. What is God telling me?

4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?

5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?

6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?

7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?

8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?

9. What can I model and teach?

10. What does God want me to share with someone?

Additional Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to conformed to the likeness of Christ?
  1. How is your faith real, impacting, and growing? How should it be?
  1. What do you think the key is to the multiplication of your faith? What can you do to recognize God's wonderful provisions for you?
  1. Whose lure are you biting into¾Satan's or God's? How does knowing the promises of God help you escape the evils of the world?
  1. What will it take for you to be a more committed follower of Christ?
  1. How does the fact that you belong entirely to Him because He purchased, restored, renewed, and empowered you help you take this call further?
  1. God is Righteous. He is ethical and fair in His dealings with us. What can you do to show Him gratitude as you live your life with virtue and good character?
  1. There are some so-called "Christian" groups that proclaim prejudice as being from God. How does this thinking match up with this passage or the veracity of Scripture?
  1. What stands in the way of your faith cultivation, the taking a firm hold on your faith? What do you consider your responsibility to be in cultivating what He has given to make your faith grow better and faster? What specifically needs cultivating? What can others do to help you? What are you going to do about it?
  1. Christ has given to us all we need in order to grow
  1. How has God called us and empowered you? What more would you like to be used?
  1. What can you do better to build a faith and life that is conforming to the likeness of Christ?

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

© 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools http://www.discipleshiptools.org/

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