For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. - 2 Peter 1:5-9
The beginning of this chapter and book provide the background for the rest of the book. Peter reminded us that God has given us everything we need for a godly life through his divine power. Without an understanding of God’s power and its’ availability to us, this text would appear to be heresy. However, Peter begins verse 5 with “For this very reason,” letting us know that it is because of what God has already done that we can and should follow his instruction in this passage.
Make Every Effort
Cultural Christianity today would suggest that mere faith is all that God wants for us. However, Biblical Christianity includes teachings such as those found in James 2:18-19:
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
This suggests that faith is just the beginning and that there will be natural outflows of true faith. Peter tells us that because of the power that God has made available to us, we should make every effort!
Add to your Faith
While it is true that Peter suggest that we should make every effort, there are certainly efforts that are not as productive for our faith and our effectiveness. I’ve seen many people work very hard as if the effort itself was an addition their faith, but they have not added the things that God has called us to add. It is not just effort that God calls us to, but a sincere effort to grow in our faith. Peter gives us a progressive list of qualities to add to our faith: Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.
In case anybody has nailed this list and is confident of their goodness, knowledge, self-control, etc. Peter reminds us that God’s call is not to come to a finishing point in our Christian walk. Rather, God calls us to possess these qualities “in increasing measure.” No matter how much you have added to your faith, God is still calling you to grow. You have not arrived.
The result of our growth in the faith is that we will not be ineffective or unproductive. I’m probably not alone in the experience of getting to the end of a long day of hard work and realizing that I haven’t really accomplished anything…or I haven’t accomplished the right things so my list of things to do is just as long as it was when I started. Peter calls us to focus our efforts on the right things so that we won’t have this kind of experience in our faith.
Nearsighted and Blind, Forgetting they have been cleansed…
The consequences of a life without spiritual growth and adding to our faith is ineffectiveness and unproductivity. However, the reasons for this lack of Spiritual growth are blindness and forgetfulness. Peter says that people that do not make every effort to grow and add to their faith are nearsighted. We do not see what is coming and therefore are not preparing ourselves for the future. My experience walking with the Lord tells me that I’m glad my faith has grown since I first came to know Him. There is no way that the faith I had at first would have been enough to get me through the challenges of today. Worse yet, Christians who do not add to their faith forget that they have been cleansed from past sins. This means a faith that does not grow is an ungrateful faith that takes Christ’s work on the cross for granted. Jesus told a parable of such ungratefulness in Matthew 18:21-35. This ungratefulness and unwillingness to bring the same grace to others cost the servant his own forgiveness and he was turned over to the jailers until he could pay back all that he owed.
Peter reminded us that God has given us everything we need for a godly life through his divine power and we should, therefore, make every effort to add to the faith with which we began this journey. In the next few weeks, we will see how Peter uses this background to address some of those who were declaring a different gospel or theology that made more sense to the human mind. Peter reminds his readers that he was an eyewitness of God’s affirmation of Christ on the mountain and that the prophets foretold His coming. When we have personally experience the power of God, we cannot deny the true Gospel!