His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3-11
After the customary greetings, Peter gets into an interesting concept that he calls “the knowledge of him who called us.” For me, the notion of having “precious promises” by which we can “participate in the divine nature” is staggering; just stop and think about that… we are able to participate in the divine nature! When you see a statement like that, you must come to realize the fact that this is not just some academic or abstract concept… it is participation, which is an active way of life. This is all brought about by the fact that we have “escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” What are these “precious promises”? Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the transformation of minds… for starters.
The second paragraph of our text shows what spiritual growth looks like. We add several qualities to our faith. Faith is the point of beginning for all of the rest, so with faith as a foundation Peter calls upon us to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. Notice how each one of these leads to the next one, as though they were bricks being added to the foundation to build the walls of a house. Then notice what Peter says next: For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It sounds like there is an expectation that we will be doing something with this growth, serving God in some capacity. If we don’t have these qualities, it will be as though we are blind, forgetting that our sins are no more. This sounds like lacking the qualities he mentioned will result in our lives seeing no change from our relationship with Christ, as though nothing had ever happened. I’m guessing that we have all seen Christians who were in possession of faith, but who never changed in any other way, almost like they were Christians in name only…
In the last paragraph, Peter calls the addition of the qualities he mentioned confirming your “calling and election.” which gives a different twist to these terms than is often preached about. Here’s an idea for you, think on this:
So, God has called all people to repentance and faith in Christ. Many will respond to this calling, and they will be called elect. Those must add certain qualities and traits to their faith by growing in their understanding and maturity as Christians. When they do, they will serve His purpose because above all else, they are filed with His love for others, and in so doing, their warm reception into His presence is assured, and will never stumble in their walk with Christ.
Sounds like a plan to me!