Goodness and Glory
His 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. —2 Peter 1:3
Being told you have a lot of potential is not always a compliment. If it’s your first rodeo, then maybe. But if you’ve been in the game a while, then probably not. At some point, the time comes for all of us to replace our potential with performance.
Peter had lived with Jesus for over three years, so his analysis of the Savior was not one of an outsider but by someone who was in the trenches with Jesus day and night. And the knowledge he acquired during those one-thousand-plus days could be summarized this way: because of His goodness, Jesus always exceeded expectations and, because of His glory, everybody who met Him knew it! Peter’s point was that, with Jesus’ glory and goodness as the foundation for our lives, we have everything we need to exceed our own expectations as well.
From its earliest appearance in Greek, this idea of goodness (arête) was ultimately bound up with the notion of fulfilling a purpose or function, the act of living up to one's full potential. Jesus’ life was an open book and there was no question about His goodness (especially to Peter)—it was so clear, he describes it as “glorious” (doxa).
Just as Jesus’ arête was so doxa (illuminated) for those around Him to clearly see, Jesus also plans to doxa (illuminate) your testimony about His goodness to the people who have been supernaturally and strategically placed around you—namely, your oikos.
A couple sits in my office and agree: “Pastor Tom, we need to stop fighting.”
I ask, “Why?”
“Because fighting creates so much unhappiness.”
I say, “So?”
“But we want to be happy.”
“So we can enjoy our lives.”
At some point, they get pretty frustrated that I just keep asking, “Why?” But eventually, we bore down underneath all the predictable rhetoric and get to what the purpose for their marriage actually is—to clearly illuminate God’s goodness to the other marriages around them, to couples who are struggling, are underachieving, are failing to exceed the expectations we all had when we first said, “I do!”
To summarize: Jesus had no potential. Zero. He is what you could call “100% performance.” But that’s not all…His performance can help us fulfill our potential as well.