Every Christian has been given the same promises by which he can escape the corruption that is in the world (read 2 Peter 1:3-4). Unfortunately, many do not choose this path.
All Christians can say that they have faith—that they believe in God; but yet many have all kinds of problems. They are discouraged, they have doubts, they are depressed, and many don’t even have an assurance of their salvation.
Why is this? What is wrong?
Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
You can look at this passage for yourself, but I will just comment briefly from what I get from it, and from Lloyd-Jones’ writings.
To put it simply, the reason many Christians are struggling is because they have a wrong view of faith. They have an infantile faith. That is, since they first believed they haven’t done anything with their faith. Verse 5 of this passage tells us that we need to be diligent to add certain things to our faith. Peter gives us 7 things.
Now some may think that this is wrong, that we should not have to add anything to our faith. They would say, I just need to trust in God and He will take care of me. Well, yes, He will get you into heaven. But this kind of thinking is wrong. It will leave you without much Christian victory or godliness. And you will continue to struggle. God intends for every Christian to have a more mature faith, a strong and full faith. A complete faith. And these seven qualities (in verses 5-7) will supply us with it.
The problem with many Christians is that they are just lazy. Verse 5 tells us that we all need to be diligent—or disciplined. Now let us supply our faith with the following seven qualities. They will make our faith strong. Notice that Peter is saying to us that there is a progression here, that one is added on to the other, that once we add on moral excellence then we add on to it knowledge, etc.
Moral excellence. The meaning here is moral energy, power, or vigor. How do we add this to our faith? Peter doesn’t tell us, but I would say that we should first pray for it, then believe God for it. Ask Him to energize your faith so that you will start performing deed of excellence.
Knowledge. This is insight and understanding, which will be given to us as we give ourselves to studying to word of God.
Self-control. This means to control your passions and desires. This is something we can achieve when we commit ourselves to memorizing and meditating on the word of God (Ps. 119:9-11).
Perseverance. This is patience and endurance. In all our striving for moral excellence and knowledge and self-control, we should continue in it patiently, never giving up.
Godliness. This something that will come as we are patient to add on the above things. It is also something we will achieve as we seek to maintain a close relationship with God.
Kindness and love. These are proper Christian attitudes toward others, which will develop as we are faithful to add on the above qualities, and thus to build a fuller faith.
Now, in verses 8 through 10, Peter gives us the results; he shows us what will result from our diligent action of adding to our faith the above qualities. The result is three fold.
- We will be fruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 8).
- We will have a greater remembrance of what Christ did for us. We will gain an assurance of our salvation (v. 9).
- If we are diligent to practice these qualities we will never stumble; that is, we will no longer be plagued with discouragement, doubts, and depression; and we will have more victory over sin (v. 10).