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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

Vs. 11 - Abundantly Supplied

02.3.5

“for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”  2 Peter 1:11

 

Again, in this passage we have Peter referring to the sequence of virtues found in verses 5-7.  When he notes “in this way” (οὕτως) he is clearly referring to verses 5-7 in which he has just laid out the approved sequence of Christian spiritual development.  While a little different in form, one can readily note that in this passage he is doing the same thing here as he has done in verses 8-10 and 12-15.  He is again making the case that the Second Peter process of development is important for Christians to implement in their lives.

 

In this verse Peter argues that we should systematically add these qualities to our lives so that:  “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you”.  He is clearly referring to what one might infer as a decision-making process that is yet to occur after one's death  and prior to entering heaven.  In the Western world, we tend to have a cultural image of St. Peter at the gates of heaven, sitting behind a desk with a big book, telling people whether they get into heaven or not.  This is frequently characterized as similar to the judicial processes we are familiar with.

 

On the other hand, there is no clear indication of whether or not we will be involved in the decision-making.  Revelation 21:27 refers to the “Lamb's book of life”, indicating that only those whose names are included there will be admitted into heaven.  Contrary to the cultural vision of a 'trial' the West seems to generally hold to, it may be that the decision to allow one to enter heaven will already have been made by the time we arrive at heaven's 'gates'.  The process of entry would then be little more than sorting the entrants from the rejects or the wheat from the tares or the sheep from the goats.  My personal reading of the text of Scripture tends to this latter, non-Western understanding of the 'Judgment'.

 

However one understands the processes of the final judgment, verse 11 indicates that those Christians that actually implement the Second Peter sequence of development will not simply be sorted into the 'entrants' category.  On the contrary, their entrance will be 'abundantly' supplied.  What does this mean?

 

Sometimes when I've gone to a restaurant I've noticed a Maitre d' who, on occasion, keeps inappropriately attired people from entering.  When I tried to eat dinner at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, I was turned away because I wasn't wearing a dinner jacket and a tie.  On the other hand, if I had been dressed in a tuxedo or some other formal clothing I am sure I would have been warmly welcomed into the restaurant.

 

I have a personal image of what an 'abundant' entrance might mean.  I recall the image of the prodigal son that was away so long it seemed he must have died.  Then, when he appears, his father is joyous and runs to embrace him.  The image of the prodigal returning to a boisterous party in his honor seems to be the kind of thing that is being referred to here.  Not only will one be allowed entrance into heaven (sorted into the right box), but one will be met by a crowd of well-wishers, a brass band and a parade to welcome one into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord.  One is not grudgingly admitted through the back door by the skin of one's teeth after some long and arduous trial, but is joyously recognized as worthy from the first moment of one's meeting.

 

When thinking of this process of entering heaven, I like to think of it as somewhat similar to the process of crossing a national border.  Guards and customs officials consider the identity and background of each traveler to decide whether that person should be allowed into the country.  One might think of this as asking the traveler if he is 'good enough' to be allowed into the country.  Would the government of George Bush allow Osama Bin Laden to enter the country?  Probably not.  By word and deed Osama demonstrated that he would strive to cause problems for Bush and the country's citizens.  Thus, the customs officials would deny him entrance to the country.  I can't help thinking of our entrance into heaven as something like that.

 

The way I tend to think of it, the process of entrance becomes a process of asking how well we are expected to 'fit' into heaven the way it is.  In Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, Mark Twain (1909) describes a Mississippi Riverboat captain's experience of heaven.  He wasn't happy with what he found there.  He didn't seem to 'fit' with the way things were done there.  In my way of thinking about one's entrance into heaven, it is just this 'poor fit' that the process would strive to avoid.

 

Revelation 21:27 indicates that “. . . nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, . . .” will be admitted.  It would seem that there is some absolute lower bound that defines who is admitted.  In this context it is worth noting that the Greek word translated as 'practices' in this verse in Revelations is a present active participle.  As will be discussed at length elsewhere, this implies continuing action.  Thus, this passage would not be applicable to the repentant Christian.  It would seem to apply to the unrepentant sinner, however.  So, if we are correct that there is an absolute lower bound for admittance into heaven, it may be contiguous with the line dividing those that are Christian from those that are not.  Those that have repented of their sins and found peace and acceptance into Christ will also find acceptance into heaven.

 

From Revelation 21:27 we see that repentance is necessary in order to 'fit' into heaven.  We know that heaven is a Kingdom ruled by the Lord.  It would seem that, to the degree one is acquainted with, accepting of, and actively involved with the Kingdom of God during one's life on earth, one would reasonably be expected to have a better 'fit' in heaven,  versus those that were self-willed and resistive of God's authority during their lives.   It would seem reasonable to extend this line of thinking across a number of variables, like those found in the Second Peter sequence.

 

If this idea of 'fit' is appropriate, then, like a key in a lock, one finds his place in heaven.  The mature Christian lives his life in such a way that, when death comes, he is ready.  His life here on earth comes to approximate his coming life in heaven.  So, as one repeatedly sees among the mature Christian elderly, as one approaches death one increasingly sees it almost as 'going home' to that place where one is truly accepted for who one is.

 

Thus, in verse 11 Peter is making the case that the character qualities in the sequence of growth are important because of the impact they will have on one's admission into heaven.  One will not be barely allowed in, but one will be welcomed profusely to the place where one is truly at home.