You Must Have Forgotten – Part 10

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2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)

We will conclude our series on the “things” which make you short sighted if you lack them. On the other hand, having these “things” allows you to live a life free of “stumbling” and rewards you with a “rich” welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven (v.9-11). Let’s remind ourselves of the “things” we have studied for 9 days:

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. (NKJV)

Taking all of our studies together let’s summarize each part of these verses:

  • “But also for this very reason”
    • What reason? The fact that as a Believer in Christ you are empowered with His Divine nature and everything that pertains to “life and godliness” is now inside you and available through His Word (v.3-4; 2Tim 3:16-17)
  • “giving all diligence, add”
    • The idea is that we should make every effort to come along side of God and try as hard as we can to develop these godly qualities with all our heart and strength; all the while realizing that our own power is insufficient and that only God can truly increase these qualities in our lives. But God commands our effort in the process.
  • “to your faith”
    • This verse is written to Believers who by default already have a measure of faith to begin building on or they wouldn’t be Christians to begin with
  • “virtue”
    • Moral excellence, godly courage, goodness
  • “to virtue knowledge”
    • Godly knowledge found through illumination of Scripture and asking God for wisdom (James 1.5)
  • “to knowledge self-control”
    • The “holding in” of our fleshly desires; reigning in our lusts; meekness is “power under the control of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 5:5)
  • “to self-control perseverance”
    • Patience, endurance, temperance; having an eternal perspective on suffering and trials
  • “to perseverance godliness”
    • Christ-likeness; having a continuous reverence and mindfulness of God
  • “to godliness brotherly kindness”
    • Selflessness; preferring others over yourself; an instinctive compassionate mindset of being helpful and kind
  • “and to brotherly kindness love.”
    • Agape love; seeing others through God’s eyes; showing kindness to those who you natural mind says don’t deserve kindness.

Remember, these are NOT a checklist of things to add to your life. They are an interdependent, natural progression of qualities that build on and lead to all of the traits in total.

What is the reward, the result and the culmination of these godly characteristics?

2 Peter 1:10-11 – Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (NKJV, emphasis)

The reward considers both this present life and the future. To the degree that you stumble and sin during this life, you are missing or neglecting some or all of these “things” we have learned about because Peter plainly states that if all these characteristics are true of you, you will NEVER stumble.

When you sin, examine the sin and determine which of these characteristics are missing or lacking in your life. Keep in mind that while you may identify one particular trait that is obvious, typically there will be a lacking in several of them that contribute over all to your sin.

What is the future reward for cultivating these qualities in your life? A welcome into the eternal kingdom. Oh, wait a minute! A RICH, ABUNDANT welcome in the eternal kingdom of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I can hardly imagine what a “welcome”
will be like, much less an “abundant welcome”!

This is a foundational portion of Scripture. It is an encapsulation of our entire Christian walk. Learn it well and teach it to your family, friends and every new or lukewarm Christian you know. The conciseness, plainness, and clarity of Peter’s teaching here is of immeasurable value and depth in our effort to disciple and influence others for Christ.

2 Peter 1:12 – For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. (NKJV, emphasis mine)

Peter’s directive is to remind Christians “always” of these truths, even if they are already “established” (know) in them. Obviously he believed there is great value in revisiting these truths often no matter what stage of the Christian journey you are in.

When you come across a struggling or searching Christian, a passionate and zealous new Believer, or an apathetic and bored Saint, take them to this passage (2 Peter 1: 1-11), explain each portion and watch the Lord stoke the fires of their spirit through it.

Most Gracious Eternal God, help us to “never stumble”. You have told how us, but we need Your grace and power to accomplish it. Accept our effort as the offer of a living sacrifice even though we know we can’t do it ourselves. May You receive all the glory and honor, In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: Are you familiar enough with any portion of Scripture that you can sit and disciple someone in how to live well as a Christian? If someone asks you how they can overcome sin, can you answer them with anything more than a few nice Christian cliches?

Application: If you had to answer “no” to those questions, start by learning to explain 2Peter 1.9-11. They are not hard to learn, hard to explain or hard to communicate and there is hardly a person or situation that will not be blessed by hearing and applying these verses.

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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You Must Have Forgotten – Part 9

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2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)

The shortsighted person in this verse has neglected, never learned or temporarily traded his new divine nature (v.3) and gone back to his old sinful life. The Apostle Peter is bluntly reminding this person that he has very poor spiritual sight, valuing the old sinful way of life over the new eternal divine nature of Christ.

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. (NKJV)

Peter finishes up the list of qualities almost matter-of-factly tacking “love” on the end. At first glance you would think that “love” is just a summation of the other qualities and to a degree you would be correct. But it goes deeper than “love” being just a simple culmination.

Notice that the list of qualities in verses 5-7 begins with qualities that are inward and private in nature. We work on our own personal attitudes and thoughts of virtue and a personal quest for Godly knowledge. We patiently endure hardships for the sake of the cross and practicing self-control. So far all of these qualities are still very personal and all about the individual.

As these characteristics are cultivated, it begins to affect how you treat others. Now you begin to look outside of yourself allowing the godly nature in you to begin to influence those around you through brotherly kindness and service. Think about that term, “brotherly” kindness. It implies that we are showing kindness to those who are like us, who are “like-minded” or “brotherly”. Your natural brother is part of your family and your blood. It is our natural tendency to show kindness to those who are part of us.

Brotherly kindness applies to our spiritual family too. As the level of our godliness increases it becomes instinctive to demonstrate kindness and “brotherly love” to those who share our faith and likeness.

Peter tells us to diligently add LOVE to brotherly kindness . Love, in this context, removes the “brotherly” aspect and now we ascend to the highest form of love, what we call “agape” love.

Agape love transcends our feelings, our commonalities or differences. This love is the love of God that sees every person as a precious creation of God who has lost their way and in need of the same Savior who has rescued us. Agape love ignores differences, ignores skin color, ignores financial status, ignores personality issues… and sees each person as God sees them.

There are only two types of people:
Sinners who need the Savior and know it.
Sinners who need the Savior and don’t know it.

If they already admit they are lost and need salvation, the “planting and watering” has been done and God will “give the increase”. If they don’t know they need a Savior, then we have an opportunity to do some spiritual farming (1 Cor 3.6-7). This “love” that Peter tells us to diligently add to our life is cultivating the habit of seeing every person through one primary question: Has the blood of Jesus washed away their sins? Everything else is a formality.

Love sees every person as needing the same salvation that we have been blessed with no matter how different they are, or how much we may be tempted to dislike them or think they don’t deserve our love.

“Brotherly kindness” is loving those who are like us and are relatively easy to love. “Love” as used in verse 7, is loving those who are not like us, and seem difficult or even impossible to love.

God of Love, help us to realize that You love us when we are very un-lovable. Help us to mature to the greatest level of Godliness, and that is loving those people that we just can’t see a reason to love in our own heart but by seeing them through Your eyes we discover eternal reasons to love them. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: Name one “unlovable”, undeserving person that you love and show kindness to in any way? Can you name one?

Application: Scripture tells us that even evil people can show love to those who love them back (Luke 6.32) or deserve to be loved. The true differentiator of Christians is the power to love every person, seeing them through God’s eyes, not ours. Whether they deserve it or not is not our place to determine.

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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You Must Have Forgotten – Part 8

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2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)

The Apostle Peter goes on to say in the following verses that if we possess certain Godly qualities, not only will we be received “richly” into heaven, but we can also live a “stumble-free” life. The degree in which we live without stumbing is proportionate to the degree these qualities are present:

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. (NKJV)

Each of these qualities are not part of a sequential checklist but rather, are extensions of, and built upon each of the other characteristics listed in verses 5-7. Everything in Scripture is supernaturally arranged exactly as God would have it for His exact purpose including the order of these traits.

Brotherly kindness would appear to be a “simple” quality and yet it is listed in our spiritual building project after traits like virtue and godliness. Why?

Brotherly kindness represents a selfless nature
that prefers others over ourselves.

This is the exact opposite of our old nature that masterfully filtered everything in life through the mindset of personal advantage and “what’s in it for me”. As we cultivate this list of qualities we transform from being “me-centered” to “others-centered”.

New believers (or perhaps a not-so-new believer who has neglected God) builds upon their faith adding moral excellence and courage to their behavior. How do they know what virtue is? They know because they have diligently pursued Godly knowledge through a life of self-control, focusing their attention on the goal of Godliness from which they will not be swayed or deterred.

Through this life of self control and patience we become more Christlike, reverent and worshipful. The natural spiritual result of being more Christ-like is to serve others and instinctively look for ways to show kindness to those around us through which we demonstrate Christ’s kindess towards us.

Kindness is a defining Christian trait. When a person reaches a point where their continual, natural state of mind is to view every situation or person as a opportunity for kindness and good deeds, this person has truly moved into the realm of deeper Godliness.

For example, when a car stalls on the road in front of you, is your first reaction to figure out how to get around them as quickly as possible, or is your first reaction a concern for whether or not they need help? What’s the FIRST thought that pops in your head?

You’re walking through a cafeteria and someone in front of you drops a tray of food and that splatters like a hand grenade all over everything. Is your first instinct irritation because the food is all over your clothes and shoes? Or is your first reaction one of compassion for the embarrasment the other person is feeling, and an instinctive desire to help them clean up the mess?

Okay, how about this one: you’re on your way to CHURCH and an older couple is off the side of the road on an exit ramp laboring over a flat tire. What’s more, they are obviously of a lower income status and their car is an old “piece of junk”. What’s your first reaction? Worried about getting your hands dirty and your shirt sweaty? Worried the time you will “waste” when someone else will probably stop and help? Or is your first instinct without hesitation to pull over to offer help? Do you get out and timidly offer help hoping they will say “that’s okay, we got it”? Or do you get out of your car already rolling up your sleeves greeting them with “looks like you folks need some help”?

When we are focused on service and kindness
towards others we don’t have time to pursue sin!

The Lord seems to give plenty of object lessons to those who teach His Word. I teach a fairly large Sunday school group at our church and one morning a few months ago I was gearing up to present a “gem” of a lesson on kindness and serving others. As is my usual habit, I was up very early that Sunday morning going over my lesson at my office, then got in my truck to head to church.

On the way I saw what appeared to be a-not-very-well-off person, trying to carry his bicycle down a long stretch of road. I have to be honest and tell you that my first thoughts were “I need to get to church. I have a big class to teach. That guy can’t be doing anything really important. It’s early Sunday morning, he’s carrying a bicycle; it’s cold out and I don’t have my coat; He’s probably just some lazy guy who has all the time in the world on his hands and I’m a really busy important Sunday school teacher who’s time is very valuable”. (ouch, it hurts to admit that to you!)

I can imagine God was getting quite a chuckle from that situation because it was more than obvious that He arranged this scenario to prove to me that teaching about “kindness and service” is useless if you don’t actually do it! So I passed the guy and for about two blocks I tried to convince God that I really WAS a kind and serving person, I just didn’t have time to do it right now!

I had a Sunday school to teach!
I didn’t have time to help this guy who was probably in
this situation due to his own negligence anyway!
Can you say “H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E”?

After a couple of blocks, I finally obeyed the Lord and turned around. Come to find out, this young fellow was on his way to work. His car was broken down and he didn’t have the money to fix it. He was riding his bike several miles to work early each morning and he had blown out a tire. That’s why he was carrying his bike in the freezing cold and he still had about 4 miles to walk.

So I loaded him up, put his bike in the back of my truck and gave him a ride. I got to talk to him about his life and about the Lord. I was late to church, but I was right on time to do God’s will. And my lesson on kindness that morning was real, not theory.

Kindness brings the blessing of “feeling good” and feeling “right with God”. The other day a rather elderly gentlemen had lost a load of carpet remnants out of the back of his truck on a busy street. I was driving with my daughter as we came upon him and dozens of cars quickly detouring around him.

He was obviously physically incapable of picking up the carpet that had fell out, yet all these cars passed him in irritation because he was “in the way” and slowing them down. So we immediately stopped to help him. I’m a pretty strong fellow and its a good thing because it took all I could muster to heave that carpet back into his truck.

I didn’t get to speak to the gentleman much standing in the middle of this very busy street, and it was pretty hot out as well. But when I finished, through the sweat on his face, he said to me with tears in his eyes “you don’t know how much this means to me.” I told him that God did, and with that I was off.

Not only was this a wonderful teaching opportunity for my daughter to witness, but wouldn’t you know it, God threw in an extra blessing. While I was helping this kindly old man, my son’s bus passes by with him and his friends on it coming home from school. “Hey, that’s my Dad!”… and so my son witnessed a live lesson in “brotherly kindness” too along with his friends on that bus.

So I tell you those stories not to say “look what I did” but to give you personal testimony that kindness is a blessing that always pays huge dividends!

Never pass up a chance to be kind to others
and demonstrate God’s love.

The more you are tranformed into the image of Christ the less time you have to focus on yourself. Your mindset becomes one of sharing the gospel, serving and encouraging others and generally viewing every circumstance as an opportunity to be kind and helpful. The wonderful reality is that the more you experience this life of kindness, the more you will be blessed by it and the more you will want to experience it to an even greater degree! It is a truly heavenly “vicious cycle”.

Try it today. Look at every situation you encounter today and allow the Lord to reveal to you a way to show kindness. See if you don’t just feel closer to the Lord at the end of the day.

Kind and Holy God, You have shown us the Ultimate Kindness. Help us to transform ourselves into the image of Your Kind Son. Help us to know that when we are being kind we are bringing glory to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: Is your natural reaction to a situation one of kindness? Do you view others as opportunities for showing love, service and kind deeds? Or do people irritate you? Examine the last couple of weeks. How many acts of brotherly kindness are you “guilty” of? Or is all your time spent serving your own needs?

Application: Quick irritation and easy annoyance are sure indicators of selfishness and a lack of brotherly kindness. If the circumstances and presence of other people “get in your way”, “slow you down” or “get on your nerves”, you need to ask the Lord to forgive you for this lack of brotherly kindness. Ask Him to begin to cultivating a spirit of kindness in you by giving you opportunities to show kindness.

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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You Must Have Forgotten – Part 7

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2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)

We have learned that these “things” are a list of Christian qualities starting in verse 5. They are not a checklist of things to be added sequentially but rather they are interdependent with each one building on and leading into the former and latter.

So far we have discovered that along with our faith we diligently strive with full effort (knowing that God is the source of true results) to add moral excellence and courage (virtue); and Biblical, God-illumined wisdom (knowledge); while reigning in our fleshly lusts (self control) and pressing on with a single-minded, undeterred focus (perseverance).

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. (NKJV)

To all this, the Apostle Peter says to add “godliness”. On the surface that seems pretty generalized and out of place because you would think that just covers everything, doesn’t it?

This word “godliness” in the original Greek meant “god-likeness” or “worship well”. The idea is that we are to be in good standing with God; that our relationship with Him is unhindered and not neglected. It is the demeanor of reverence and piety because our close relationship with God draws us up above the petty and fleshly trivialities of this life and keeps us focused on God.

Is the “godly” person some sort of angelic caricature
living as if the world around them isn’t real?

Are we talking about the person who walks around with their eyes skyward, hands folded and an angelic choir singing in the background? Is this person impractical because they are so “holy”? Far from it.

The “godly” person is the most practical of all because they have the welfare of others foremost in their mind. All of their decisions are filtered through Godly wisdom so they end up being decisions of true nobility and goodness. This is the person who truly loves and serves others.

The godly person is “pious”. It’s unfortunate that to most people this word has come to mean “religious bigotry and hypocrisy”. Piety is simply a reverence for God. It is the habitual filtering of everything a person experiences, feels, thinks or does through the knowledge of the Scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

A common mistake of Christians is to ask God to “give us” godliness, or “make us” godly. At the moment of salvation when the Holy Spirit indwells the new believer, they now possess in full all that is needed to live a godly life. That is the essence of verses 3 & 4, that we possess the Divine Nature of Christ that is everything we need to live a godly life. We don’t need to pray for “more” or for God to “make” us godly, we need to pray that we will avail ourselves of what God has already given.

Why is godliness listed after perseverance (endurance, patience, temperance)? Because patience is a primary way to develop Godliness. Patience is the process of being undeterred in our pursuit of God despite suffering, persecution and hardship. The single minded, unwavering focus (perseverance) on God produces godliness in us.

If you want to be godly, pray for patience. When you pray for patience, be fully aware and prepared for how patience is produced… by enduring and suffering. Patience is not all there is to it, but it’s a big part. It takes a truly courageous Christian to pray and ask God for patience.

To summarize up to this point, we are to diligently add moral excellence (virtue) and Godly wisdom (knowledge) to our faith; reigning in our fleshly desires (self control) having a single-minded, undeterred focus (perseverance) on the goal of being Christ-like (godliness).

Tomorrow we will look at brotherly kindness as we continue on our quest for a stumble-free life, full of assurance (of salvation) looking forward to a rich welcome in heaven (v. 10-11).

Holy God, we don’t ask You today for more godliness because You most graciously have already indwelled us with the Divine Nature of Your Son. We ask You for wisdom and discipline to avail ourselves of the already present, but mostly neglected Godliness that we received at the moment of our salvation. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: How have you defined or perceived “piety” in the past? Is a reverence and continual worshipful attitude towards God something that characterizes your life? If not, what do you think the reason is?

Application: We have redefined holy words to the point where they almost all have negative meanings. Piety, holiness, righteousness, humility, meekness.. all carry negative impressions of bigotry, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Let’s not let the world redefine our godly vocabulary. By the way, if you lack godliness, do you have the courage to pray for patience? It’s a sure-fire way to develop godliness.

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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You Must Have Forgotten – Part 6

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2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)

The Apostle Peter isn’t one to sugar coat things. He just flat out says “if you lack these Godly qualities you’re acting like you have forgotten you’re a Christian”. When I was a Drill Sergeant in the Army I made a similar statement to young privates in boot camp when they were goofing off.

I’d say, “Private, obviously you have forgotten you’re not back on the street!”. The “street” was a euphemism for their previous non-military life and behavior. And okay, I rarely actually called them “Private” either. It was usually something a bit more descriptive but you get the point! (Just so you will know, even as a Drill Sergeant for many years, I never cursed. “Profanity is a strong way to show weak mind!”).

Peter is using a very blunt statement as well. He’s knocking us on our foreheads with his knuckles saying, “hello? anyone home? You’re behavior shows that you are lacking certain Godly qualities. Have you forgotten you were saved? Hello? Anyone?”

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. (NKJV)

In part six of our series, we come to perseverance. This is generally one of those Christian words that most people have a vague definition of but can’t really nail down exactly what it means.

Perseverance is from the Greek word “hupomone” (hoop-om-on-ay) that is translated at different times as patience, endurance, continuance, waiting or steadfastness. It is the picture of a determination in person to not be deterred from a deliberate path or course of action no matter what the consequence.

It is the idea of setting your direction and no matter what happens you will not be distracted. It’s like the focus of a professional football running back. When the play begins, the running back sets his course up the field and even though he will be met with violent opposition, he will not quit running up field for any reason as long as he is physically capable. Crushing collisions, scrapes and cuts, bruises, aches and pains… no consequence will deter him as long as he is physically capable of continuing on towards the goal line.

The Apostle Paul liked sports analogies and there is a reason why. Athletes are known for their dogged perseverance to reach the intended goal. They will hurt, bleed, fight through injury, ignore pessimism and adversity….. pretty much endure anything to “win the prize” set before them.

A world class athlete will play by the rules (virtue), know everything there is to know about their sport (knowledge), make every decision in their life with a single focus (self control) and endure any amount of hardship or pain possible to reach the goal line, win the medal or be ranked number one (perseverance).

Worldly unsaved athletes are capable of this type of perseverance. O that we (who possess the Divine Nature of Christ) were as dedicated and focused.

Lord God, if only we had the same dedication to you as the natural man can have to a sport or an idea. Help us to learn the true meaning of perseverance and being willing to endure anything without being deterred from the Goal. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: What are you willing to endure to be good at a sport? To be good at your job? To maintain the lifestyle you lead? To be “liked”? How does that compare to what you’re willing to endure to be Godly? Are you willing to endure giving up personal time and recreation? Are you willing to endure people making fun of you and even hating you? Are you willing to endure imprisonment, injustice and death?

Application: We are willing to make great sacrifices and endure many discomforts to achieve a worldly goal. But often it’s “too hard” or “I just can’t do it” when it comes to spiritual matters. “I’m just not a morning person”; “I just don’t like to read”; “church is boring and besides that’s my only day off every week”. In order to persevere spiritually, you have to know, and see, the finish line. Can you see it?

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?


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