And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. — 2 Peter 1:5-7
A few years ago, Rebekah, a young wife and mother-to-be, died suddenly before the age of twenty in an automobile accident. After her death, her family found her personal journal. Her notes began with the thought: “The Person I Want to Become (With God’s Help).” She listed some twenty-five Christian goals she had set for herself, including the following:
The list went on, each goal being thoroughly Bible-based yet intensely practical. It is evident that Rebekah understood that without Christ in her heart and life, she could not possibly accomplish these things. But even with an up-to-date experience of salvation and the other foundational experiences God has for us, there was still something for her to do personally if she were going to fulfill God’s plan for her life. No doubt she thought about these goals frequently, checked her life decisions against the list, and prayed for God’s guidance in areas where the proper response was not obvious. Those who knew Rebekah concur that she met her goals and did, indeed, become the person she described in her journal.
In today’s focus verses, we are given a list of eight important Christian attributes. The promise is that if we are diligent about adding these to our lives, we will be solid, stable Christians — we will “never fall.” The question is, just how do we “add” these attributes to our lives? A good first step is for us to clearly understand the meaning of the words. More than a dictionary definition, however, we need practical applications of these terms to our daily lives. Just how we personalize them may depend upon our age, family situation, and other factors. It would be beneficial to spend time in prayer and meditation on each of these attributes, asking God to help us see areas where He would have us to grow. The important point is that there is something here for everyone.
For the next step, we can take a hint from Rebekah. As God lays things upon our hearts, it would be a great idea to write them down. The very act of writing them will reinforce these principles in our minds, as well as help us not to forget them at a later time. Then, above all, we must try daily to live by these concepts. And if God should check us in some area where we were not at our best, we need to talk openly to Him about this in prayer and determine to do better next time. He will help us!
In general, the second epistle of Peter advises Christians to remember the words of the true prophets and be aware of false teachers. In the first chapter of the book, however, Peter exhorted Christians to develop their faith, assuring eternal rewards to those who do. Peter added that he wanted them to be able to remember his words after he was gone.
In verses 3-4, Peter assured all believers that God has sufficient power to enable them to live holy lives. This power is conveyed in God’s promises, which are accessed by faith. Through faith, believers can be “partakers of the divine nature” and delivered from “the corruption that is in the world.”
Once this connection to God was made by faith, Peter wanted the believers to apply themselves to supplementing (adding to) their faith. He focused on eight key words. Briefly defined, they are:
Peter stated the results of growth in these qualities, giving both the positive and the negative sides. He said if the believers had these, they would be spiritually fruitful and effective, and would eventually gain eternal life. However, if they neglected to add these qualities, they would lose their perspective (“cannot see afar off”) and fail spiritually. This was good reason to “give diligence.”
Because of the false teachers, Peter wanted the believers to understand that they had a strong basis for their faith; they did not follow “cunningly devised fables.” As proof, Peter reminded them that James, John, and Peter himself had been eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty when He was transfigured and God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Moreover, the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled, and thus their validity was confirmed, by Jesus. As a final affirmation, Peter said the Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Ghost, who moved the men who delivered them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction: the writer and recipients (1:1)
II. Call to spiritual growth (1:2-21)
A. The basis for growth (1:2-4)
1. Their position: grace (1:2)
2. Their provisions: promises (1:3-4)
B. The manner of growth (1:5-7)
C. The necessity of growth (1:8-11)
1. For fruitfulness (1:8-9)
2. For abundant entrance into the kingdom (1:10-11)
D. The means of growth (1:12-21)
1. The reminder (1:12)
2. The reason (1:13-15)
3. The revelation (1:16-18)
4. The recognition (1:19-21)
a. The certainty of the revelation (1:19)
b. The origination of the revelation (1:20)
c. The inspiration of the revelation (1:21)
Spiritual growth does not happen automatically; effort is involved in the process. As we go about our everyday lives, asking for the Lord’s help, He will guide us.