Posted by: missionventureministries | April 25, 2019

FRUITFUL GROWTH IN THE FAITH – 2 Peter 1:3-11

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

It’s interesting that Peter, a man who had been known for his impulsiveness, in these verses shows us a disciplined approach to spiritual growth. So as we see, if Peter who once was the impulsive fisherman could become a disciplined, godly man, then anyone can do the same.  

Peter is saying, because God has imparted new life and spiritual riches to us in Christ, we should be diligent to grow in godliness. 

As we look back to the two previous verses we read where Peter told us that when we believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness (1:3). And that through the glory and moral perfection of Christ, He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (1:4). 

We need to understand that before God imparted new life to us, we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). When we trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord, was not due to our own achievement was not due to our own achievement, it was because God mercifully opened our blind eyes to see through His Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). 

The point is we cannot begin to grow as a Christian until we have received new life from God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the life of Christ in us that gives us the motivation and power to change and grow spiritually. The instant we trust in Christ, God graciously gives us the key to the unfathomable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8), which supplies us with everything we need to live a godly life. 

Peter writes that faith is the foundation on which the other virtues rest and from which they grow. We receive faith in Christ as God’s gift (1:1), but then we supply the other qualities, which are the fruit of faith (1:8). So, to grow in godliness, we need to make sure that we have trusted in Jesus Christ and His gracious promises; because faith is the essential foundation for growing in godliness. 

Now to grow in godliness, we must have the right motivation and add to it diligence (1:5). Peter is basically saying that God has given us His life and all of His promises; now, we need to apply diligence so that we may grow. 

Think about this; are we applying “all diligence” to grow in Christ? Do we make time to grow spiritually? Do we read accurate commentaries, theological books and important doctrinal matters that broaden our mind to think about the hard questions in the Bible? If we don’t, we will not grow spiritually the way God wants us to. 

So, what does growth entail? Where should we focus? This brings us to the topic of our text. To grow in godliness you must make progress in the areas Peter states. 

Faith is the foundation; to that we must supply virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  

Why did Peter choose these qualities? Probably, because they are the opposite of the evil characteristics of the false teachers that he exposes further on in his letter. They claimed to have knowledge, but they didn’t know God, who is holy. They lacked self-control and continued in immorality (2:2, 10, 14, 18). They were not persevering in godliness, but had gone astray. Rather than demonstrating true brotherly kindness and love, they were simply exploiting people for their own gain; and lacked Christ likeness. 

“Faith” is the bedrock foundation. Without faith we are not Christians. “Moral excellence” (virtue) is necessary next, because without that, we cannot have a clear conscience. If we live in known disobedience to God, He will not reveal spiritual truth to us. Thus, virtue precedes “knowledge.” “Knowledge” follows, because we must know the Word of God to inform our conscience and guide us in all our thinking and behavior. 

But knowing the truth does not help if we do not practice “self-control” and “perseverance” to help us when trials and temptations come. As we persevere, we develop “godliness,” which refers to living in reverence to God in every situation. But true godliness is not just a private matter between the individual and God; it manifests itself in godly relationships. Consequently we need “brotherly kindness” and self-sacrificing “love.” 

The result of growing in these godly character qualities is that we will be useful and fruitful in knowing Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8). Because He gave Himself on the cross to save us from God’s judgment, we should desire to be useful and fruitful as His blood-bought servant. But to be useful and fruitful, we must be growing in godliness, which requires diligent effort. 

Spiritual growth is a long process and it only shows results when we practice it consistently. If we are not making much spiritual progress, then we should examine ourselves because he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:9-11).

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