“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you.”
Yes, I think it is right
“I think” is an accounting term. It originally referred to leading, to lead the way, to preside. Later it came to mean to consider or to lead before the mind, account (Php 2:3,6,25; 3:7,8; 2 Th 3:15; 1 Ti 1:12; 6:1; He 10:29; 11:11; Jas 1:2; 2 Pe 3:9). This word came to mean to think in principles. “Yes, I think it is right to think in principles.” “Think” then means to lead principles out before the mind—character forms from what we think about God’s Word.
“Right” means “fitting” here. Peter is thinking in terms of a right principle. It means doing the right thing. “It is fitting that I write to remind you because I am about to die.” Peter developed a sense of responsibility to give Asia Minor Christians vital truth before he died.
Character comes from the application of the principles of God’s Word to our experience.
When young people grow up in homes where they are not taught principles, they lack responsibility. Responsibility does not come through discipline. Discipline gives training as to what is wrong. All children need this. However, a parent must go beyond discipline because discipline does not give a sense of responsibility. It keeps merely them in line.
The only way a parent can present a child with a sense of responsibility is to communicate principles. Young men die for their country, not because of discipline, but because they know the principles for which their country stands. They understand the principle of fighting for freedom.
Liberalism does not teach principles. All they teach is freedom. Freedom without principle is vacuous. Liberalism promotes a lack of initiative. They teach dependence on the state, not upon operating principles that transcend the state. We have produced a generation without a sense of responsibility because we have a generation that does not operate on principle.
We cannot have a true sense of responsibility without operating principles in deep within our person. These principles need to be taught and derived from the Word of God.
A young man takes a young woman out on a date. They may be in some secluded place where they are necking. There are just two of them. If he has a sense of responsibility developed from principle, he will hold back from exciting this girl. If he is looking to fulfill his own pleasure, he is devoid of principle. He will pursue the lusts of the flesh. Necking, without principle, is entering sex without boundaries. Taboos will not prevent them from having sex.
In marriage, he will carry that same sense of responsibility. He will be true to his wife. She will have security because she knows he carries principles with him that will not yield to temptation. He has a sense of responsibility both to himself and to the girl or wife.
If we live under the exclusive influence of our libido, we will not be able to resist temptation. The point is that we develop responsibility from principle. This is why, at times, the non-Christian is more moral than the Christian. The non-Christian may operate on principle he might have even derived from the Bible.
A girl goes to college. She faces the choice of joining a sorority. She thinks that she cannot have an adequate social life without a sorority. Sororities operate on beliefs contrary to Christianity. The Christian who thinks in terms of principles can live independently from the idea that they need friends or social life structured. Joining a sorority is to join an organization without an adequate principle. The only principles they operate on are facilities and fun. People who join an organization like this operate in life without character. These are weak people. Character does not come from what we do; it comes from what we think in terms of principles.