“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5 ~ 7)
By FAITH, upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we begin our life in Christ with a prayer of salvation. Moving on in this spiritual journey of adventure we know that the just shall live by faith in God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is; and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6) And, we know that we are to “come boldly unto God’s throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” It’s such a privilege and bountiful grace that we can enjoy!
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, when writing to us who have obtained like precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ urges us in 2 Peter 1:5 ~ 7 not to stop at faith but to be diligent in pursuing virtue, knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience (perseverance), godliness, brotherly kindness and charity (love).
“… employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy),…” (2 Peter 1:5; Amp.)
Daniel was a man who feared God resolutely. While held in exile, he would not defile himself with “the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank”; would continue to kneel and pray three times a day in his chamber with windows opened toward Jerusalem as was his customary practice notwithstanding that it was against the king’s decree; and would not bow to the king’s golden image even if that meant being thrown into a fiery furnace.
He was a man who knew God and sought His counsel. Following King Nebuchadnezzar’s summon to interpret his dream, Daniel together with his three friends prayed to God. The answer came to Daniel, who responded, “I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O Thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee: for Thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:23) King Belshazzar had this to say of Daniel, “I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.” (Daniel 5:14) During King Darius’ reign, Daniel was preferred above “the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” (Daniel 6:3)
Let’s follow Daniel’s resolve to honour God as well as his faith and due reverence to ask for excellent wisdom from God even as we endeavour to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, not fearing for our own life.
The pursuit of excellence in Christ is won at the battleground of our mind. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8,9 (Amp.), “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honourable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”
“…and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),..” (2 Peter 1:5; Amp.)
We need to know who God is, who we are in Christ, and what God has given unto us who trust and obey Him. Peter records for us in 2 Peter 1:2 ~ 4; Amp.) that, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of his divine nature …” If you are a true treasure-hunter, you need not look any further for in God “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
We are to “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him …” where there is no division “but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:10 ~ 11) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) God said in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,…”
Let’s not remain ignorant, but rather “grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
“And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control …” (2 Peter 1:6; Amp.)
Self-control is the ability to control our anger, and it is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As we know, fruit takes time to bear unlike God-given gifts which are ours to receive freely. We have to receive the implanted seed of God’s word, fertilize our heart by memorizing and meditating His word, water our heart with prayer, and expect God to bring about fruitfulness in our life. The more we hear and act upon God’s word, the more self-controlled we shall become.
Remember: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 16:32)
“…and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance)…(2 Peter 1:6; Amp.)
We can ill-afford to remain stagnant in our Christian walk, or race, if you will. This may mean that we have to cross our Red Sea; cross our Jordan River; go in to claim and take possession of our Promised Land; till the land, sow our seeds and reap a bountiful harvest; honour God with our tithes and offerings; and walk in fellowship with the Holy Spirit all the days of our life. Indeed, we have to fight our good fight of faith and keep going until we cross our It-is-finished! line.
Hear then the words of Jesus:
“And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
“Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27; Amp.)
In Timothy 4:16 (Amp.) Paul exhorts us: “Look well to yourself [to your own personality] and to [your] teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for by so doing you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
“…and in [exercising] godliness [develop] godliness (piety)…” (2 Peter 1:6; Amp.)
Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:6 (Amp.), “[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.” He likens godliness to be “the loving fear of God and being Christlike” (1 Timothy 6:11; Amp.)
Godliness is a lifestyle with immense and far-reaching benefit. “…Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way. For it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Amp.)
Consider also the following verses in your diligent pursuit of godliness:
“He will guard the feet of His godly ones …” (1 Samuel 2:9; Amp.)
“But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself [and given distinction to] him who is godly [the man of loving-kindness]. The Lord listens and heeds when I call to Him.” (Psalms 4:3; Amp.)
“Who is the man who reverently fears and worships the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that he choose. The secret [of the sweet, satisfying] companionship of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.” (Psalms 25:12, 14; Amp.)
“And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection…” (2 Peter 1:7;Amp.)
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth God is born of God, and knoweth God. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:7,11)
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20,21)
“…and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.” (2 Peter 1:7; Amp.)
“And so faith, hope, love abide [faith – conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope – joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love – true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13; Amp.)
Jesus “ever live to make intercession” for us (Hebrews 7:25) that we, the church, might be a Bride without blemish to the praise of His glory. Hebrews chapter 6 encourages us to go on to perfection (maturity) and not be laying again the elementary teachings and doctrines of Christ such as repentance from dead works and faith towards God. We are called to have the same diligence and patient endurance as Abraham who obtained what God has promised him, and to establish our hope by following the example of Jesus, our Forerunner.
To wrap up, hear these blessed words from 2 Peter 1:8~11(Amp.), “For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually shortsighted] …Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall. Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Amen.