Scripture References (ESV)
2nd Peter 1:3-11 “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. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
I love the verse that precedes this passage. Verse two of the same chapter says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” I have seen this effect in my personal devotion. The more I look to the Word and to my relationship with God the more grace and peace I have. I want to briefly tackle the subject of grace in this context. The greek word used here is charis, which refers to the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in life. This is beautiful to me. Grace empowers us to grow deeper in God. Grace helps us to receive divine influence. Grace is not just God forgiving our sin. It is more so God empowering us to live a life without it. As our knowledge of God and Jesus deepens, so does our grace and our peace. This is in direct correlation to the proceeding scripture. Life and godliness.
We can never attain godliness without grace. This is an impossibility. Grace is the whole reason God had to send the spotless Lamb. So that we would have the grace to be forgiven and the grace to dive into the presence of the Father. There is no divine influence upon a heart without grace. We cannot forget our past sins without it. We cannot attain new levels in God without it either. It is forever attached to the life of the believer.
Peter begins by telling us that God has already given us all the tools we need to attain a godly life. Knowledge is the foundation of this toolbox. If I wish to emulate a leader I will devour every book He or she has written. I will find every piece of information available about that person. How can I be like someone I know nothing about? How can I share something I have no knowledge of. This would be like walking into a board room at an ad agency and proposing an ad about a product that you have no understanding of. You would be thrown out of the board room! Ad agencies research the product, research the users of said product and formulate a strategy around the data. If there is no data to base an ad off of the odds are that the ad will be ineffective. It is the same in the Kingdom of God. If we have no understanding of the Kingdom, no insight into who Jesus is and what His thoughts are towards humanity we are only making noise.
Peter states that we are called to the same glory and excellence that Jesus walked in. Whoa! What? How is that even possible? Through His promises! Don’t get me wrong here, I have not attained this measure of excellence, but you can bet I’m going to try! If He can sacrifice His life on a bloody cross I can give Him a life of trying to emulate what He died for! The greatest promise that allows us to do this is the fact that our sins are forgiven. Matter of fact, they are forgotten! Any guilt or shame that you have from your past is not from God! Peter goes on to say that if you are not striving for godliness you are blind and have forgotten that you have been cleansed from your former sins! The word lack in verse nine in the greek means utter denial! Basically, you have no faith that you can live godly! We all stumble but having faith to try again and again and again, is godly! Denying that you can do it is to deny the power of God in you!
All of these qualities only come through a relationship with God. Knowledge of Him and His desires and purposes. Time and attention are better than lambs blood! What I’m saying is that God doesn’t want your sacrifice, He wants your time and attention. The more time you spend in the Word, the more time you talk to God, the more you act like Jesus and feel the way Jesus felt about others. This is why love is so important. It is the last quality listed and its AFTER godliness. We can only love like God if we know how He loves. This is a promise! If we spend our time seeking God we will be fruitful and effective in the Kingdom of God! God doesn’t desire for you to do stuff for Him. He desires that you would do things WITH Him! Finally, if we are diligent in these matters we will never fall! It’s another great promise that comes from time spent in the presence of God.
I challenge you to spend the time and give the attention that God desires. He is not a liar! His Word is not a bad check. There are plenty of funds to cash an eternity of checks! It is more than efficient, never insufficient! The Kingdom of God gives to those who seek! If we want to change this world we have to spend the time getting to know our King, the King who has already changed the world! If we want to be effective agents in this Kingdom we have to live in the training room. Let your heart be stout! Wait for, expect and hope in the Lord! He wants nothing more than to pour out His divine nature upon you. The catch is you have to be standing before Him to receive it!