How Are You Treating Your Gift?

2 Peter 1:1 NRSV
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do I think that my faith is precious? That word just jumped out at me on the page when I read it. Did you know that the English word precious comes from the Latin word that means price. And that’s what our faith is: it was paid with a price, with the blood of our Savior. I think that sometimes, in the midst of the frenetic pace of our lives, we tend to take our salvation for granted. It’s been a part of us so long that we forget that there was a time when we didn’t have the hope of heaven.

What’s important to you? We cherish, protect, and spend time with the people (and the things) that are important to us. For all our protestations, where we put our efforts, our time, our energy is where we esteem and value. Think about it. We really do make time and effort for that which compels us. And it is that which compels us that is most important.

I also think about precious in the sense of protection. Now, I think as a society that we don’t protect nearly as much as we used to. So much of what is around us is throw-away and we are so wealthy. If something breaks, is lost or even stolen, we will simply get another. There are few things that are precious enough to keep, to value, to protect. Even our relationships are this way. In fact, it’s sad that in 2000, the Barna Group found that divorces among Christians was higher than divorces among non-Christians. Now, perhaps that’s because many nonChristians simply don’t marry, but the fact remains, that Christians should understand what is precious (e.g. family) and protect that. And we don’t. And if we don’t protect what we can see—what is around us—then it is likely that we also won’t protect that which we can’t see, our salvation, our faith.

I think that the New Testament Christians did not see salvation as a one-time event (as we often do), but rather as a lifelong experience to be lived out, to be practiced, to be cherished and protected. The author of Hebrews writes:

For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. . . . But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved. (10:36, 39 NRSV).

Hebrews 2:1, 3a (NRSV): Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. . . . how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

If salvation was a one-time gift—given and done—then why would we need endurance? Notice that the writer says, “that when you have done the will of God.” It’s a future event, a conclusion of a life lived well and according to the tenets of scripture, a life that has protected and cherished a precious faith. It is possible to drift away from this faith, to neglect it? I think that, above all else, this might be why Peter wrote that faith was precious. It is a gift, but a gift not to be treated lightly. It is a gift that cost the life of the Son of God. Perhaps we need to think about that more often and to treat this gift in the manner that it should be treated.