Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
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.
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
- Peter is a servant of Jesus.
- Peter is an apostle of Jesus.
- The letter is written to Christians.
- The faith the recipients of the letter had was received from Jesus.
- The faith of the recipients had of received by Jesus’ righteousness.
- Peter acknowledges Jesus as God.
- Peter prayed that the recipients of the letter would receive grace and peace in the knowledge of God and Jesus.
- Jesus is our Lord.
- Jesus has given us everything that has to do with godliness and life.
- Our knowledge of Jesus calls us to Jesus glory and excellence.
- Jesus has given us great promises.
- Through Jesus’ promises we take part in the divine nature.
- We have escaped from the corrupt nature of the world.
- The corrupt nature is in the world because of sinful desire.
- We are to supplement our faith with virtue.
- We are to supplement virtue with knowledge.
- We are to supplement knowledge with self-control.
- We are to supplement self-control with steadfastness.
- We are to supplement steadfastness with godliness.
- We are to supplement godliness with brotherly affection.
- We are to supplement brotherly affection with love.
- We are to supplement these things because of what Jesus has given us.
- The qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love will keep you from being ineffective in the knowledge of Jesus.
- Jesus is our Lord and Christ.
- Anyone who lacks virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love is so nearsighted as to be blind.
- If we do not have virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love we have forgotten that we are cleansed from our sins.
- We are to be diligent to confirm our calling and election.
- If we practice virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love we will never fall.
- There will be an entrance provided to the Jesus eternal kingdom.
- Peter intended to constantly remind the recipients of the letter about the qualities virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
- Peter new his death was near.
- Jesus made it clear to Peter his death was near.
- Peter was trying to do everything he could to cause the recipients of the letter to remember these things after he died.
Peter opens this letter to fellow believers by stating it is written to those who have obtained faith. He quickly adds that they have obtained faith “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” In doing so he states that we do not obtain faith through our own efforts or strength. We obtain faith through God’s favor alone.
We tend to think of our faith as our faith. We created, formed and molded it. But Peter says our faith is a gift from God. This is the same thing Paul says in Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Paul makes explicit what, or rather Who, is the ultimate source of saving faith. It is not of us. Our faith is from God.
It is through His divine power we have been granted life (v4). Not only does Jesus give us life, He makes us partakers of the divine nature. What could be better than that?
Here is the doctrine of grace. We have done nothing, absolutely nothing to merit the gift of life from God. But God, in His mercy has granted it to us. Peter then says it is exactly because we have been given such a great gift gratuitously we should not respond with laziness or complacency but with diligence, doing the will of the One who gave us this a great gift.
When Peter tells us to supplement our faith with virtue he is not saying our virtues add anything to our salvation. Virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love are responses to the grace we have received. It is a response to the gift that comes through the faith that God has given us. Our expression of gratitude is not natural. Just as a child must be taught to express gratitude, so too, the apostle tells us how to express our gratitude to God.
We do not want to confuse an imperative with an indicative. That is, we do not want to confuse what we ought to do with what we can do. When Peter says we are to add virtue, knowledge, godliness, love, etc. Peter is not implying we have the power to add these things on our own. Rather he is simply stating what we ought to do. We continually find ourselves deficient in our duty. When this occurs there is nothing else to do except to flee to God for aid and help.
These things are evidence of the Holy Spirit working in your life. In other words, Christ not only redeems you but changes you. Notice however the Apostle says, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing…” The change is a process. We are not immediately made holy. We are being made holy. If these things are not in you, the Apostle states, you have forgotten you have been cleansed of your sins. If you think you do not need to express these virtues you are short sighted. In fact, you are so short sighted you are actually blind. Peter means that those who possess Christ without a new life have never been rightly taught God’s doctrines. Paul makes the same statement in Ephesians 4:17- 32. Those who do not strive for a pure and holy life do not understand even the rudiments of faith.
What does Peter mean when he says to “confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” Does this mean that unless we do these things our election is unsure? Does he mean unless we do these things we might fall? God’s choice of the elect is firm and certain (2 Tim. 2:19). These things are evidences, the tale tale signs, so to speak, of having been redeemed by the Jesus death and resurrection. Our election may not always be obvious to us individually. However, the assurance of God’s call comes through the evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (1 John 3:10, 14) as well as through the internal testimony of the Spirit in our hearts (Gal. 4:6).
God’s promise of salvation is to those with a genuine, persevering faith (Matt. 10:22; 24:12, 13; Heb. 3:6). True faith perseveres to the end and bears fruit (Gal. 5:6, 22, 23). We are not saved by our works but our works are evidence of our salvation.
Once we realize just how dependent we are on God’s grace for our salvation we realize how futile our efforts are. Once we realize we cannot even offer our faith that it too is a gift, we realize just how gracious God is to us. We have nothing to offer God. Yet He chose us. Once He has redeemed us He changes us. He makes us holy. It is easy to get discouraged when we fail to live a holy life. But take heart! God makes us holy through a process. We continue to live a better life, a more holy life. Through God’s grace and mercy we are increasingly able to supplement our salvation with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
The next time you fail. Do not be discouraged with your lack of holiness. Run to Jesus and seek comfort in His mercy.