"His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4All that we need to know pertaining to this life and the godliness we should embody in it is known through Scripture. Isn't that an incomprehensible promise? God has called us to His own glory and goodness knowing that we are incapable of achieving it on our own. Instead of leaving us in our inadequacy, He has made a way for us to be made holy, sanctified, through His Word. We are sharers of the divine nature in this way. We are partakers in the righteousness and holiness; God imparts portions of His divine nature on us through the knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ. Through the Word of God, by which we know God and are given knowledge of everything required for life and godliness, we are sharers in the divine nature. Sanctified. We flee from the corruption and evil desires that this world offers and run toward godliness instead. We do all of this through the powerful, sharp, Word of God.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7Peter makes very clear that there is effort involved in the Christian life. That though we are sharers in the divine nature through the knowledge of Jesus Christ in the Word of God, we aren't off the hook to continue our pursuit of the flesh. No, the knowledge of Jesus through Scripture should be actively transforming us. And that takes effort. I cannot speak for you, but faith isn't necessarily natural to me. Nor is goodness. Nor knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, affection, or love. What is natural to me is doubt. Selfishness. Foolishness. Fleshliness. Indifference. This is the short-list of what my natural inclinations are. When hardships come, or even mere inconvenience rears its head at me: my natural tendency is to choose my flesh. Peter warns against our knee-jerk reactions. Peter is saying that because God has given us a way to flee corrupt desires of the world through our knowledge of Jesus in the Word, we must then make an effort to live by that Word. This isn't passive. We apply the Word of God, we pursue Christlikeness, and in so doing we should be making efforts in our character to supplement our faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Supplement. These qualities are additives to our faith. They make our faith richer. They enhance it.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:8-9Then we have a promise. When the Word of God transforms our behavior, when we possess the aforementioned additives of our faith, they we keep us from being useless in our knowledge. This is the portion of this passage that shocks me every time I read it without fail. Not only is Peter admonishing believers to have these qualities of integrity in their faith, but he is calling us to ensure that they always increase. Peter doesn't give a summit of these qualities; he doesn't say, "if you possess these in increasing measure until you reach a certain age or until you've 'made it.'" No. We never stop growing. These qualities of godliness that enhance our faith are to always be increasing, no exceptions. It isn't enough to merely possess a godly character. It has to keep growing. And then there's the reason for this ever-increasing godliness: usefulness and fruitfulness in the knowledge of Jesus. This whole passage revolves around the knowledge of Jesus. It is by this knowledge that we are enabled to be godly, and it is for this knowledge that we should strive to increase in godliness. When we are not increasing in godly measure, we aren't only endangering the fruitfulness or usefulness of our lives, but Peter goes so far as to say that we are blind and shortsighted people who have forgotten their salvation. It is a fool who forgets the salvation of the Lord. Lacking godly character testifies that our sights have been shifted from the glorious gift of knowledge of Jesus Christ to something far less deserving of our time and efforts.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you." 2 Peter 3:10-11Isn't this one of our ultimate goals, the elude stumbling blocks and be made pure? Peter is exhorting believers that if we fix our eyes on sanctification, if we set our efforts on pursuing godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, that we won't stumble. That's a hefty statement. While Peter is not saying that we are able to enter into the Kingdom of God by our own works, He is echoing Jesus' own words that we will be known by our fruit (Luke 6:43-45) and Paul's words about the fruit of the indwelt Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25). This passage was so impactful for me because of two specific things. First, it caused me to think upon my character and the actions that spurred on from my character. It made me evaluate the qualities that were ever-increasing in my life, causing me to strike out the things that dampened my fruitfulness and usefulness while pursuing the qualities that would enhance my faith. Second, it caused me to reevaluate what I believed to be true about God. If I truly believed that Jesus Christ and the knowledge of Him is sufficient and that in Him do I find all that I need in order to live a life that is pleasing to Him, then I had to esteem the knowledge of God higher. I had to pursue God's Word actively, pinning after the knowledge that would enhance my faith, cause my character to grow in god-likeness, and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life and ministry. To sum it up, this passage caused me to hold God higher and hold myself accountable. So, I write all this to draw you into the journey alongside me. To encourage you to look to the Word of God, allowing it to hold you accountable while growing in your knowledge of Jesus Christ. To remind you that the richest possession we can ever hold is the knowledge of the Lord. To show you that the refinement of our character into Christlikeness can and will enhance our faith making us fruitful and useful to the Lord's purposes. All of this made possible by the knowledge of Jesus Christ. All of this is for the sake of knowing Him best. Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.