GOD'S GRACE: 2 Peter 1
Written by karen DuBois, national sponsor
Eight traits. So what does a life transformed by God's grace in Jesus Christ look like? Peter gives us eight characteristics.
Faith (v. 5b) - trusting Jesus stands purposefully at the head of the list. Without faith it is impossible to please him (cf. Hebrews 11:6). The more we rely on, depend on, count on, and believe God's promises, precepts, and principles, the more we will grow spiritually. The initial response to God's grace should always be faith, personal trust.
Virtue (v. 5c) - the NIV84 translates this quality as "goodness." The NLT renders it as "moral excellence." The Message paraphrases it as "good character." True faith should lead us to reject moral deficiency and pursue moral excellence - not to attempt to earn our salvation, but because we have been saved by grace.
Knowledge (v. 5d) - ignorance is not a spiritual virtue. So how do you grow in knowledge? Principally through reading and studying the Scripture. God's will and God's ways are learned from the Bible. God's Spirit uses God's word to make himself known to us.
Self-control (v. 6a) - this virtue is also on the Apostle Paul's list of "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:23). This is "the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon). To be reckless or out of control personally or morally is not a good path. God is honored by Spirit empowered self-control.
Steadfastness (v. 6b) - the NLT translates this characteristic as "patient endurance." The NIV84 and NASB95 render it "perseverance." It's the "capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances" (Greek-English Lexicon). How do you develop it? One moment, one hour, and one day at a time. So don't give up. Don't quit. Stick to it. God is honored and we benefit when we go the distance and stand firm.
Godliness (v. 6c) - it connotes appropriate "reverence, respect, and piety towards God" (Enhance Strong's Lexicon). As Thomas Schreiner writes, "The term godliness refers to piety or, more simply, to living a life that is like God. Believers should live in a holy and "godly" way since Jesus is going to return (2 Pet 3:11)" (2 Peter, New American Commentary, p. 300). Simply put, godliness is the antithesis of selfishness and worldliness.
Brotherly affection (v. 7a) - the NIV84 renders this "brotherly kindness." The Greek New Testament word is actually philadelphia. "The focus is on the love between fellow believers, on the family-like devotion that should characterize the Christian community" (Schreiner, 2 Peter, New American Commentary, p. 301). Do you have relationships like this with other believers?
Love (v. 7b) - this cardinal virtue is intentionally the capstone of the list. Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35, ESV). The Apostle Paul identified love as the "more excellent way" (1 Corinthians 12:31). "And above all these," Paul wrote, "put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:14, ESV).
This is the kind of life that, by God's grace, we are to pursue, the kind of person we are to become.
So, ask God for help. Ask him to fill you with his Spirit. And, then "make every effort" and "apply all diligence" in the process
As our lives are transformed, it's good for us and God is greatly glorified!