While we have been born again and love the Lord, do we feel that our walk with the Lord is insignificant? Do we feel that our lives are unfruitful? Do we stumble too much? Can we say that as we walk out our daily lives toward His eternal kingdom, that we have been abundantly supplied? If we need help in any of these areas, the first 11 verses of 2 Peter have the answers.
First, it is important to note that Peter was not talking to everyone. His epistle was specifically addressed to those who had legitimate biblical faith in the Lord, had knowledge of God and Jesus, and were granted the Holy Spirit—the power who grants everything pertaining to life and godliness.
"To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:1-3b).
Peter stated quite clearly that the Christian needs to be personally involved in his spiritual growth. We need to be diligent (some versions use "make every effort" in our faith. Peter, led by the Spirit, indicated that we need to add specific character traits to our faith in increasing measure. We are not saved by our works. We are not striving to earn His love. But because of our love for the Lord and gratitude overflowing from our hearts, we want to be more like Him.
To our faith, we want to add sequentially moral excellence (virtue), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. If we add these in increasing measure (spiritual growth) we are promised significance (not useless) and fruit (not unfruitful). Our knowledge of Jesus will result in continual change as we become more like Him.
For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love. For if these things reside in you and abound, they ensure that you will neither be useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:5-8).
Peter summed up these thoughts by indicating that we be even more diligent about His calling and choosing us. Our faith and salvation should never be taken for granted. Evidence of us being born again is that we want to be more like Him. We can only accomplish this by becoming closer to Him and following the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:3). As we practice these things, we are promised stability (we never stumble) and that our walk toward His eternal kingdom will be abundantly supplied to accomplish all that He has called us to do.
"Therefore, brothers, diligently make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly provided for you" (2 Pet. 1:10-11).
Let us move forward. Let us not move back. Time is short. Let us make every effort to bring His kingdom (His will and dominion) to earth as it is in heaven. Peter's advice is to not overlook our own faith and character. If we have gaps in our character or if we have become slack, we need to repent (the Lord is quick to forgive, and His lovingkindness is everlasting); seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to change; and move forward. At the end of our life, let us all say that our lives were significant, fruitful, stable and that we were abundantly supplied.
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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