In his letter, Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote to those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
Simon Peter further says that 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. Through these 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. If you believe these promises you have faith.
For the very reasons of grace and peace, Christians (leaders and followers alike) should make every effort to add to their faith: goodness, virtues, and moral excellence. And to goodness: knowledge. And to knowledge: self-control and discipline. And to self-control: perseverance and steadfastness. And to perseverance: godliness and holiness. And to godliness: mutual affection and brotherly kindness. 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 near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will NEVER STUMBLE, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Notice how Peter mentioned goodness, virtues, and moral excellence as the first things we must establish after we’ve received faith. We don’t need big faith. We can move mountains with faith as small as a mustard seed. Faith is a very important point of departure for the Christian for it is impossible to please God without faith.
Without goodness, virtue, and moral excellence it is impossible to grow into Christian maturity.
The lack thereof is the main reason for Christian immaturity and, quite frankly, the reason why Christians stumble. No amount of tithing, material possessions, Biblical knowledge, and healing you perform will keep you from stumbling. If you manage to deceive men on earth without being caught, just remember: Not all who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom, but he who does the will of My Father. It is in fact a blessing in disguise if they do catch you out before you die. Be good to people, honour your business contracts, adhere to your vows, and STAY AWAY from sexual immorality.
Once you have established that you shall be morally good, you can go on to acquire the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. You can then study anything useful for mankind. Knowledge without knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord puffs up.
Let your pursuit of discipline and self-control be preceded by knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus. Driven by the Spirit, which is the Word of God, makes it much easier to accomplish whatever goal you set to yourself.
Paul says: “Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus, I fight: not as one who beats the air, but I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
“Perseverance in the Word brings steadfastness. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. If we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Romans 5:1-5)
“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnared us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birth right. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” (Hebrews 12:14-17)
“Also know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
It is now possible for the Christian to show mutual affection and brotherly/sisterly kindness. Notice how Christ hung on the Cross with outstretched arms and open hands. Ready to hug and to give. The nails were not strong enough to keep the hands and arms nailed. They came lose and He embraced and gave Himself to the lost.
Part of carrying our cross is to be kind and generous
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. For the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through LOVE.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
CHRIST carried His cross, died and rose, and left the Holy Spirit to enable us to die, rise, and carry our cross of FAITH, VIRTUE, KNOWLEDGE, SELF CONTROL, PERSEVERANCE, HOLINESS, BROTHERLY KINDNESS AND LOVE.
Year in and year out we hear of Christians who misused their positions to cause harm. Very interesting to see that Jesus Christ is still hanging on the Cross on their crucifixes. In Hebrews 6, the apostle Paul declares: “To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:6) And that is exactly what happens. Christianity becomes a disgrace.
Isn’t it time that we take Christ off the Cross and live the life Peter suggests. With Christ seated at the right hand of God and with the Holy Spirit in us we can and should do it. Soon after God saved my life from alcohol and nicotine addiction, I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and I was used to help change people’s lives through God’s Word. After stumbling I became powerless and like David of old I ask God: How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me? How is it that I and many other men and women of God who had been so miraculously saved still fell? The revelation came through 2 Peter 1.
This article was written by Gradwell Fisher.