5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.
2 Peter 1:5-10
As I write this devotion, our country is in the midst of disunity and disinformation. The confusion is exacerbated by social media posts from both the right and the left. Even evangelical Christians are responding with confusion and taking sides against each other.
You may be asking the same question I am: doesn’t the gospel bring reconciliation in relationships? The answer is YES; the gospel reconciles us with God first and then with our fellow brothers and sisters. So why does it seem the Church is being divided over the current social issues? I believe the answer may lie in how we live out the gospel.
In our passage today, Peter writes how believers are to appropriate the gospel and develop the divine attributes of Jesus Christ. Our very faith in the gospel will grow as the Holy Spirit brings out these characteristics in our lives. In fact, Peter says to “make every effort to supplement your faith.”
When my daughter’s college expenses were “supplemented” with a student loan, she was able to be completely recognized as a student at the university. It is one thing to say, “I am a Christian,” but I will be completely recognized as a Christian when His personal characteristics are clearly visible in my life. For this reason, Peter says we must be actively submitted to His Spirit working within us.
These Christian characteristics are goodness, knowledge (or spiritual knowledge), self-control, endurance (or perseverance), godliness (or devout practice of obligations to God), brotherly affection, and love (benevolent love). Notice that these qualities begin inside the believer and progress to being outwardly visible. Our faith in the gospel is the root out of which all these virtues grow, with Christian love being their crowning characteristic. If these personal virtues are growing, then it is evidence of a maturing Christian.
This spiritual goal might sound difficult and even frustrating. Many times I have tried to emulate these spiritual characteristics, just to come short and feel like a failure. But the key to living the gospel daily is found in verses 3 and 4. It is “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness…that you may share in the divine nature.” I can never imitate Jesus. It us His power working in me that produces these virtues. I must daily come back to surrender just like I did at my salvation—not to reborn, but to allow God’s Spirit to continually more me more like Jesus. That is living out the gospel.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- One of the most difficult things a believer can do is to self-examine. What daily discipline could you develop to clearly remember what the gospel has done for you?
- Have you found yourself frustrated because you’re trying to live the Christian life by your own effort? Remember how Jesus has redeemed you from sin, and realize that His Spirit will enable you to live out the qualities of Christian maturity.