From 2 Peter 1-3
Peter instructs his listeners to pursuit the qualities foremost of Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-Control, Steadfastness, Godliness, Brotherly affection and Love. This is what a believers life should look like.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Peter begins by greeting his brothers and sisters in Christ. He says they have attained a faith or equal standing with him and the apostles by God’s righteousness and Jesus Christ. In light of this Peter starts assuring them of what God has done for them.
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (1 Pet 1.3-4)
A common feature of a number of the apostles letters to believers is that they feel the need to assure their audiences of what God has done for them and what he intends to do for them (e.g. Eph 1). Nothing required, just grace. So personally I’m encouraged when I read the epistles. I can tell they want the set the minds of their audiences at ease. Peter says they have been given or have access to all things that give life and godliness. This is through the knowledge of Jesus. The gospel gives us life and trains us in godliness. The gospel is the fulfilment of God’s great promises. Through the gospel all believers have escaped from the corruption in the world due to sinful desire. Freed from captivity to sin.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (1 Pet 1.5-7)
Peter sets us a sequential list. A bit like Rom 5.3-4. He starts with faith. Belief in the gospel and trust in God. His list is as follows.
Faith – Virtue – Knowledge – Self-Control – Steadfastness – Godliness – Brotherly affection – Love.
I honestly can’t see a discernible pattern and some of the qualities appear to be very similar (e.g. Virtue with Godliness, Self-Control with Steadfastness, Affection with love). Though obviously these qualities have great value and something as Peter instructs we should all strive for. Peter continues.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 1.8-11)
Peters statement ‘if you practice these qualities you will never fall’ implies that the way believers behave is part of their salvation and stops them from falling away. He refers to a sequence of events, but not necessarily in chronological order. If I imposed an order it would look like this.
- Election (Chosen and predestined by God to be his people)
- Calling (God’s calling to who they are meant to be effected though the gospel)
- Practice of listed qualities (Way of salvation)
- Entrance into the Kingdom (Consummation of salvation)
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2 Pet 1.12-15)
Peter obviously believes it is important to keep the pursuit of these qualities foremost in the lives of believers. In the light of his instruction, perhaps we should reflect on how we can continue to pursue; Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Self-Control, Steadfastness, Godliness, Brotherly affection and Love.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights