2 Peter 1:5-7
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
Building a healthy relationship with the Lord is made up of a number of elements, the first of which is faith. In Hebrews 11, we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. We might say, faith is the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the means by which we receive from God. The gift of eternal life, the promises of the Word, and the work of the Spirit are all received by faith. For anyone to begin a relationship with God, it must start by entrusting your life to Christ, and becoming His follower.
Just like Matthew rose from his tax office and began to follow after Jesus, we must leave our old life behind and trust our lives into the care of Jesus. When that is done, a relationship with God begins. But notice, Peter makes it clear that receiving Christ is not the finish line, but the starting gate. He exhorts us to add to our faith. His list is not exhaustive, there are certainly other things that can be added to our relationship with Christ, that will ensure our spiritual growth, but these seven things are a great place to start.
These 7 Things:
To faith add virtue – Virtue was defined in ancient times by Socrates as “doing something as well as it can be done”. Paul wrote, we should “do all things heartily as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). The Christian should seek to do all things well as a testimony to the world, and as an offering of worship to the Lord.
To virtue add knowledge – Knowledge is both information and experience. As Christians, we should be good students of the Bible, seeking to get to know the Word of God. This does not mean, we are searching for hidden meanings in the Bible, but we are learning to take the Bible at face value, and apply the truths to our lives. This word ‘knowledge’ also carries the idea of experience. It is not just information about the Lord that is important, but that we are getting to know Him better, by walking with Him day-to-day.
To knowledge add self-control – To exercise self-control, the Christian must learn to deny or say no to himself. Not everything we desire is healthy for us, or helpful in walking with the Lord. There are times when the flesh is tempted toward things that will lead us away from Christ. We must resist the devil and draw near to God.
To self-control add perseverance – This means simply to press on. Wherever you are currently in your relationship with Christ, it is not the end. Paul reminds us, there is a day when we will complete the race and be in the presence of God, but until that day we must keep pressing forward.
To perseverance add godliness – There are many aspects to godliness, one of which is the idea of reverence. This is a word which has sadly lost its place, not only in our vocabularies, but in our culture. It is rare to see people acting with proper reverence. The word carries the idea of having a healthy fear. When people enter the ocean without proper fear, they are often swept away by large surf or caught in rip tides. When we do not have a healthy fear of God, we will toy with sins that should have been cast aside long ago.
To godliness add brotherly kindness – It always amuses me when the New Testament writers have to encourage Christians to be nice to each other. You would think we would realize we are all saved by grace, all are adopted into the family of Christ, and we should be kind to each other. But just as a parent has to break up the bickering between siblings, we must be reminded to be kind to one another. Don’t forget the world is watching how we treat each other.
Finally, to brotherly kindness add love – As faith is the starting point of a relationship with the Lord, love is the chief evidence. Paul stated, upon receiving Christ, the love of God would be shed abroad in our hearts. As Christians, our lives should be marked by love, and that love should be categorized properly. First, love is toward God. We are to love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Second, love is to be toward others, Finally, we are to fall in love with the things that God loves.
Questions for 2 Peter 1
1. Verse 1 we read that this letter is “to those who have obtained like precious faith”. This letter is to Christians. Obtained-to get, gain, or procure. How are you doing with your faith? Did you ask Jesus into your heart to be Lord and Savior then bump along your way in life not really knowing God, serving Him or having a relationship with Him? Read Matthew 6:33.
2. What has been given to us in verse 3? How is it done?
3. Peter shares with us in verse 5 how we can add to our faith, with all diligence. Pray and ask God to give you a hunger for His word so that you may add to your faith. What character traits are listed here in verses6-7?
4. What is the promise for us if we “abound in these things”?
5. In verse 9, Peter tells us why we are lacking in these areas, because” we have forgotten that we were cleansed from our old ways”. Have you forgotten? Do you remember the day you gave your heart to Jesus? What in your life has stolen the joy of the Lord? Confess it and lay it at the feet of Jesus. Start today building your faith!
6. Verse 16 warns us not to follow cunningly devised fables. The Book of 2 Peter as an overview is encouraging us to read and study the Bible. Do you know what you believe? Why you believe it? Read Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews 4:2, 2 Timothy 2:15-16.
7. Verses 21-22, read carefully. Chapter 2 tells us of false teachers and doctrines. This is why we need to know what the Bible says. As Peter said in verse 2, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” Be encouraged! God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you! Question 5, if you don’t remember giving your heart to Jesus, it probably didn’t happen. Why don’t you do it right now? Jesus, I am a sinner, I confess my sins to you. I give you my life and open my heart to you. Be my Lord and Savior. Amen!