His divine promises have given us everything we need

There’s a praise and worship song I remember from my days as an evangelical Protestant that goes “His divine promises have given us everything ….Everything we need for life.”

Which is of course based on II Peter 1:3.  Here is the verse and context for it in the NIV version which is closest to the song lyrics:

3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

So, with that in mind, I read this post by Samuel Gregg with interest, especially this paragraph.

“To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this. But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”

Among the many statements made by Cardinal Walter Kasper while making his case for changing Church teaching that prohibits divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics who choose not to live as brother and sister to receive communion, this was perhaps the most revealing. It reflects an approach to Christian morality which goes beyond presenting (and thus essentially marginalizing) Christ’s moral teaching as an ideal that, sotto voce, no-one’s seriously expected to follow in all their free choices. It also effectively downplays something that all Christians must face at some point: the Cross.

Every Christian has a cross to bear. The point is not whether we stumble under their burden. We all do. What’s crucial is that we repent, get up, and resolve to go and sin no more. Each Christian is after all called to holiness, not averageness. In short, striving to be a saint isn’t just for extraordinary people. It’s something Christ asks of all His followers: rich or poor, man or woman, African or German. In our equality-fixated age, the call to be a saint is in fact one of the great equalizers for Christians—not least because, as Saint John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, “Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal” (VS 96).

The universal call to sainthood—one of the calls of the Second Vatican Council that has yet to be truly worked out.

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