The Standard January 13, 2022
Perhaps we have started off this new year with a list of goals for work, ways we could boost our physical health or home improvements we desire to make. Maybe we have determined to focus on having a better attitude or have committed to a Bible reading plan and increased prayer time. The wonderful news is that, spiritually speaking, we Christians are fully equipped with the tools needed to be drawn closer to God and to live more in God’s image. Right now, we possess all that is necessary for a life of godliness. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within each of us and we are set to thrive in right living.
The Apostle Peter challenges, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 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 1:3-8)
When Peter calls us to “make every effort,” he is not suggesting that we must strive for God’s acceptance or approval or that we earn God’s love or salvation. Instead, he is laying out the characteristics which should supplement our faith as we respond to the Lord showering love and grace on us. It is appropriate for believers to respond to the goodness of God by growing in these attributes. Christians practice godly qualities as a natural extension of our faith.
In his sermon on May 2, 1982 John Piper preached, “The literal translation of verses 5-7 does not say, ‘add to your faith virtue’ and so on; it says, ‘furnish in your faith virtue’ and so on. You can hear a kind of surging ‘Forward! Forward! Forward!’ if we render like this: ‘as you have obtained faith in Christ and stand in it, now apply yourself diligently to advance in moral excellence; and as you stand in that, do not be satisfied but press on to increase your knowledge of God’s will; and as you stand in that, do not be satisfied but be diligent to enlarge your capacities of self-control and mastery of your passions; and as you stand in that, don’t be satisfied but cultivate every form of patience and serenity; and in that let devoutness and piety and sweet love to God flourish; and in that strive to kindle your affection for other believers; and in and through it all grow in love to all men.’ In other words: Forward! Forward! Press On! Advance!”
In order to be effective and fruitful in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us pursue virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, sisterly/brotherly affection and love. By doing so, this year undoubtedly will be one filled with good results.