As followers of Jesus Christ, God has given us everything we need to be spiritually mature; however, we must actively pursue that goal if we expect to be welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom. The apostle Peter offered us a single paragraph explanation of what it means to follow Jesus.
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 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.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NASB)
Here we are told that we can participate in the divine nature of God by exemplifying his holy character in our lives, which will assist us in resisting sin. We are to seek virtue in our lives and knowledge by discerning God’s will and living accordingly. We are to maintain self-control in all things and avoid all the temptations this world throws at us every day. Suffering will be part of our walk with the Lord and we are to endure illness, broken relationships, financial pressures, and persecution with the perseverance provides by the Holy Spirit. Our mission is to please God in every aspect of our lives. And over all of this, we are to maintain a special relationship of love among other believers. When we see these things growing in our lives, we know we are walking with God – our eternal destiny is secure.
Peter includes a stern warning for those who believe they are Christians yet do not possess these traits.
“For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:9 (NASB)
There’s not a lot of ambiguity here. True knowledge of Jesus Christ is something we all seek and the apostle Peter has provided us with this easy-to-understand formula. Amen.
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