“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV
2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV
In America, we often complain about those who fail to enjoy or make use of the freedoms and opportunities available to them. We see so many who lazily neglect these great blessings. And we become frustrated as they squander them away.
They have the chance to receive a great education. They have the chance to work and to gradually increase their income. They have the chance to advance as new and better opportunities come their way.
They’re able to make use of the tremendous medical care available in this nation. They’re able to live and raise a family in relative peace. They are able to provide for their children more opportunities than even they have enjoyed.
They have all of this and so much more, yet they remain idle. Perhaps they try to attain the things they desire through corrupt means. And, for this reason, they are completely ineffective.
Even though this frustrates us, so many of us do the same thing spiritually. We fail to receive the blessings God has made available to us, or we try to attain them by corrupt means. And, in this way, we become ineffective and unfruitful.
So many of us in the church profess faith in Christ, and we talk about our hope of salvation, yet all evidence of it is absent from our life. We are not living in the grace of God. In fact, our life looks no different than that of the unbelievers who surround us on a daily basis.
God’s grace has been provided to us, yet we fail to receive it. We reject it in favor of worldly desires. Even if we do so without recognizing it, we squander these blessings he’s graciously provided to us.
As we saw in our look at the prior verses of this chapter, God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. None of this is attained on our own. It’s the gift of God, received by faith.
For this reason, as we see above, we’re called to live in this grace. We’re called to supplement our faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with steadfastness, steadfastness with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
This doesn’t suggest that we gain these qualities or grow in them by our own effort. Again, it’s God’s power that supplies all we need for life and godliness. However, we are receptive of these gifts that God has graciously made available to us, and we walk in them.
If these qualities are ours, Peter says, and if they’re growing, they will keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ. Our faith will not only receive the blessings God has provided to us, but will enable us to be a blessing to others. It will enable us to point others to Christ and to the blessings found in him.