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)
If we lack these “things” we’re spiritually blind, forgetting that we were cleansed from our old sinful way of life. On the opposite side, in verses 10 & 11 we’re told that if we do these “things” we will never stumble and will receive a rich welcome in to heaven. What things?
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)
Before we get into the “things”, what “reason” is Peter speaking of? In the preceding verses (v.3-4) we learn that we have everything we need to live a godly life provided to us through the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ. So for that reason, Peter continues with list of characteristics that describe the behavior of someone who possesses this “divine” nature. In keeping with Peter’s “Christianity for Dummies” simplicity, he doesn’t just tell us to live godly lives… he tells us how.
He starts by telling us to add virtue to our faith while “giving all diligence” or “making every effort”. The original Greek had in mind to “come along side of with all zeal”. So “let go and let God” doesn’t apply well here. It is the picture of a small child who works WITH his father for the purpose of learning something. The Father is the teacher and the one responsible for the results, but the child comes along side the Father and gives it his best effort regardless of how insignificant (maybe zero) his actual contribution may be. We are to make try with all our heart to develop these qualities. God will actually empower us to see results but our effort is commanded.
So… because we are partakers of Christ’s Divine Nature, we are to come along side of our Father who will help us learn to add virtue to our faith. How do you “add” these qualities? This word “add” taken in context actually translates to our English word “choreograph”. Weird, huh?
In ancient Greece, the state chorus had a director who paid for all the expenses of training the chorus. So the word “choreographer” meant someone who supported the chorus abundantly, and eventually came to mean the person who directed, provided for and planned.
So the idea of “add” in this verse is that the Believer is to “pay for, supply, furnish, direct or support” these virtues in his life. All together the beginning of verse 5 means:
“Because you have the Divine Nature of Jesus which gives you everything you need to live a Godly life, you should come alongside of the Father and give your very best effort to supply your life with these virtues…”
Of course God gives the true increase in this effort. Like a father teaching his young son how to use the lawn mower, the dad actually does all the real pushing and turning. But the youngster has his hands on the handle pushing with all his might, even if in reality he couldn’t budge the mower without his dad providing the actual effective power.
This sets the stage for learning the virtues Peter lists. We’ll pick up there 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. Give us the discipline and desire to come along side You and give our very best effort. Then give us a thankful heart knowing that any success in totally Your doing. In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: Does a Christian have a real part in his own growth or do we just “let go and let God”? Does the amount of your effort matter? Does the actual result of YOUR effort matter? What parallels do you see between these thoughts and Jesus’ comments about becoming like children?
Application: It is a fact that our effort will amount to a grand total of ZILCH in the actual instilling of godly virtues in our lives. God is the sole source of righteousness. But just like you train your children to do chores or learn new tasks, no matter how incapable they actually are of completing the task, they have to make an effort or they will never learn. And no matter what they are actually capable of, as parents we are always satisfied when they make a whole-hearted effort. God is the same towards us.
- 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?