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.
- 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?