Tragically for too many Christians, summer is the season of spiritual drift. As the days get longer and hotter we are tempted towards spiritual laziness. Which is why we cannot take a season off from making every effort to grow in godliness.
We must always — at all times — stay plugged into our power source of the gospel. Not only do we stay plugged in, we are exhorted to press on, to move forward, to strive ahead, and to make every effort.
The Apostle Peter focuses our attention on Christ-like qualities in 2 Peter 1:3–7. If these qualities are not ours and if they are not increasing, if we are not moving forward, then we may be drifting. Or to use Peter’s metaphor, we may be growing blind.
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:9)
Which is to say that if we stop growing in Christ-likeness we are nearsighted and have lost sight of the future and all the promises of God. We’ve forgotten, Peter says, that we were cleansed from our former sins. We've forgotten our cleansing from sin and the union with Christ it represents. When we stop moving forward in Christ, we run the risk of growing blind to the past and future work of God in Christ. We run the risk of being cut off from the power. And so we drift to destruction with no gospel and no hope.
That’s a breathtaking warning from Peter.
But following this warning is one of the precious and very great promises God uses to plug us into his divine power. That’s how he intends to use it.
Peter's words apply to summer:
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2 Peter 1:12–15)
Peter devoted the short time he had left on earth to stir up the saints by way of reminder, and if it was worthy of his few remaining days on earth, it is worth the rest of ours as well. It is a calling worthy of our summer.
Prone to Drift
But no matter how well we know the gospel, we need to hear it over and over because we are prone to drift from it. Summer is a season when we are especially likely to drift, and Peter is eager to warn us of this spiritual danger.
On the one hand, we believe the precious truth that a genuine Christian cannot lose his or her salvation. God is faithful and will preserve his own. But this perseverance is not automatic. Very often God preserves us by extending his grace through other saints. Saints who remind us of the truth we already know. We forget, we fall asleep, we get weary and so stop making every effort, which means we float on the tide of temptation and worldliness from time to time. And it’s when we drift we need to stir up one another by way of reminder.
We need to hear the words:
The gospel is true.
Jesus died so that you can be forgiven your sins and so that you can be set free of your sins.
Plug into the divine power source and receive the grace to press on in personal holiness.
Relationships and Eternity
We all need to hear that in one form or another from time to time. Eternity is at stake in how we live our life together. That’s not an overstatement. Our relationships have eternal significance because we are called to live together, stirring up one another by way of reminder, helping each other make our calling and election sure. And we don't take the summers off from this precious duty.
When you see a brother or sister drifting, don’t let them go. Don’t assume they know the truth and will remember it and come back on their own. Go out to them and tell them the truth of the precious gospel of Jesus Christ once again. It is likely they forgot.
The ministry of gospel-reminder is a significant ministry we offer one another. So as we enter this summer season, we do not take a vacation from making every effort to be more like Jesus, and we don’t take a vacation from stirring up one another by way of reminder. This summer we press on as we do in all seasons, by God’s power, to make our calling and election sure.