2 Peter 1:9-11 – For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 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)
Ah, Peter. For us hard-headed, simple-minded folks, he’s just what the Doctor ordered. He makes things so plain and straight to the point. In the first chapter of 2nd Peter, he starts out by letting us know that we don’t have any excuses for not living a godly life:
2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness… (NKJV)
As Christians, we have the divine power of Jesus Christ that gives us ALL (not part, or some) things that pertain to life and godliness. How? Through the knowledge of Him who called us… which is the essence of a great deal of our failures: lack of knowledge (Hosea 4.6). We don’t lack knowledge however because of God not giving it. We lack godly knowledge due to our own sinful non-pursuit of it.
Peter then goes on to list the characteristics of the godly:
2 Peter 1:5-8 – 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. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
These qualities encompass the full measure of “all things that pertain to life and godliness”. They will be the topic of the upcoming series of devotionals. Let’s introduce the result before we begin to study the journey.
After listing these characteristics Peter tells us that if we possess them in increasing measure we will not fail to be useful to God. He says “for if these things are yours and abound”; or in other words if they are present in your life and visibly increasing.
God is not primarily concerned with the
AMOUNT of holiness in your life, but rather,
is it a consistently increasing amount?
Peter then bluntly states the opposite truth. If you don’t have these qualities, you’re like a spiritually blind person who has forgotten that they were saved from their old sinful way of life. Having forgotten about the cleansing you received, you wallow around in the mud of sin like you used to. This sets up a vicious negative cycle:
Being shortsighted and forgetful of your “sin cleansing” leads to more sin and lesser amounts of holiness which makes you more shortsighted and forgetful which leads to more sin…
And round and round it goes. See the trap? Peter is giving us a spiritual slap in the face saying “HEY!!! You were cleansed from that old sinful life. Wake up and start living like it!”. Let’s consider some thoughts about verses 9-11:
- Going back to your old sinful way of life is like the dog returning to consume its own vomit (2Pet 2.22)
- Being shortsighted effects your ability to see things from an eternal perspective; you start reacting with a short-term mentality which most always leads to bad decisions
- You will remain shortsighted and lacking of the aforementioned Godly qualities until you “remember” that you are saved from your old sinfulness
- It is possible for Christians to reach a state of spiritual blindness because the verse clearly states that this person was cleansed from his past sins; so don’t dismiss this as only the behavior of the unsaved
Peter encourages us to be diligent so that we don’t fall into a state of forgetfulness. He encapsulates the Christian life in the phrase “calling and election” which covers the spectrum of our salvation and sanctification. How do we do that? By developing “IN INCREASING MEASURE” the qualities listed in verses 5-7. He says to make our “calling and election SURE“. He would not command us to do something that was impossible.
Can you be SURE about your salvation? According to Peter you can. How? By living in increasing Godliness. Is there one word that summarizes those traits? Yes: OBEDIENCE. The entire book of 1John confirms Peter’s point.
Peter goes on to say that a person who does these “things” (the list of godly qualities) will never stumble. Stop the train. Did Peter say NEVER? Remember, only God can typically get away with using words like “never”, “all” and “every”. By divine inspiration, Peter says that “if you do these things you will never stumble”. It’s a future, ongoing, increasing “doing” of the things he lists in verses 5-7.
When you find yourself sinning (stumbling), stop and contemplate which of the listed godly traits you are missing, ignoring or neglecting. Re-engage that particular holy characteristic and the sin in question will stop. An answer to dealing with sin is to think:
“Wait a minute. I’ve been cleansed from this sin. I don’t have to do it. Which holy quality is lacking in my life that is leading to this sin? Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness or love? Which one?”
If Peter tells us that we can “forget” about being saved from our old sinful ways; then the implication is to remind ourselves frequently, “I have been cleansed from my old sinfulness, and I no longer live that old life.” And there is a “rich” reward for those who live an increasingly godly life.
That increasing life of godliness will be where we pick up tomorrow.
Almighty God, You have given us everything we need to live a life of Godliness. We pray that You would remind us every time we forget that we have been cleansed from our old sin. We pray you would correct our spiritual vision everytime we become shortsighted. In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: How sure are you of your salvation? What does “increasing measure” mean? What does Peter mean by “never” stumble?
Application: Of course we will always continue to stumble but it should be with DECREASING frequency while our Godliness is INCREASING. Peter states we will NEVER stumble if we “do these things”. So each time we do stumble, one of these “things” is not being done. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to recognize the lacking quality behind your sin, and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you when you start to “forget” that you have been cleansed from sin.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?