“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness 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 and escape 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, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, 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.”
2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV
By accepting His glorious gift of salvation, we as believers, have everything we need to acquire the precious promise of eternal life and to live a godly life as we grow in the knowledge of Him.
Because He has given us such a marvelous gift, we can not be indifferent and self-dependent, but instead must grow (up) and make every effort to add to our faith. According to the Bible commentary I referenced, the word “add” means “to give lavishly and generously.” “God has given us faith and all the graces necessary for godliness. We add to those by our diligent devotion to personal righteousness.” *
As I look at the list of things we are to add to our faith, I can’t help but think that they are listed in a particular order for a reason.
First we are given the gift of salvation and I accept it by faith. So that is the ground I start on. Next I am to add to faith, goodness. This word in the King James Version of the Bible is translated virtue. This word virtue, “came to mean that quality of life which made someone stand out as excellent.”* So as a person of faith, I should stand out from the regular crowd of non-believers or believers who are indifferent or self-reliant.
As I grow in goodness/virtue, I add knowledge. I add knowledge by diligent study and pursuit of the truth God reveals in His word. As I grow in an intimate knowledge of Him, I am to add self-control, which means being in control of my fleshly actions, instead of being controlled by them. “Virtue, guided by knowledge, disciplines desire and makes it the servant, not the master, of one’s life.”* Do I act like God is there in the room with me, no matter the situation?…because He really is.
To self-control, I am to add perseverance, which means patient endurance in doing the right thing…staying the course, no matter what. How can I truly persevere, if I am letting my fleshly actions be the master of my life? To perseverance, add godliness. To be godly means “to live reverently, loyally, and obediently toward God.”*
To godliness, add brotherly kindness. As I live a loyal and obedient life toward God, I must have a true and sacrificial love toward those around me. To brotherly kindness, love.
Love…so much to say about love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall never perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV “Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NIV
The reason that I am to add this humbling list of virtues to my life, is so that I will be an effective and productive Christian. If I live my life, self-serving and self-persevering, I am ineffective and unproductive in this precious knowledge of Christ, and what good is it then to have the faith that comes by accepting His gift of salvation?
It all seems to come down to the priorities of my allotted 24 hours of time each and every day. Am I willing to bow my knee to the King of the Universe and allow Him to be my master, and by doing so learn and grow in the never-ending knowledge of Him and His amazing, indescribable goodness and love. Or, will I choose to be my own master and in effect tell God, “No thanks. I’ve got this all figured out and I can handle it on my own.”
I am convicted once again of how marvelous You are and how human and sinful I am. You have given me all that I need to grow, but still I choose to order my priorities around myself and my own wants and supposed needs. Please forgive my stubborn heart once again Lord. I truly want to grow-up in my Christian faith and I know that only comes by bowing my knee in submission to You everyday and diving in to Your Holy Word. Thank you for being so patient with me!
– Beckie (look2thehills)
* The MacArthur Bible Commentary; Thomas Nelson, Inc; 2005; pgs. 1927, 1929 & 1930