A Greek sage wrote, “Humans feel the passion for immortality (a quality of God they cannot really share) far more than the passion for God’s moral excellence, which is within their reach.”
That’s a good starting point for contemplating Peter’s message in verse 4.
Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises,
So that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust and may become participants of the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4).
God’s promises are given to his children to be used. Consider the promise of answered prayer.
There are seven prayer promises in chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of John.
For example, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15.7).
Suppose we used this promise and asked Jesus to help us live a life like his. What would be the result?
I believe God would answer the prayer and lead us into a Jesus-kind-of-life.
One verse summarizes Isaiah’s message to his audience. He exhorted them to trust God’s promises.
What he said to King Ahaz was true for everyone who has been graciously given God’s promises.
“If you do not stand firm in faith,
you shall not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7.9)
God calls for active trust in his promises. With compelling language, Peter makes this point.
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with excellence, and excellence with knowledge,
And knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness,
And godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love (2 Peter 1.5-7).
Notice how Peter’s list begins with faith and ends with love. All of the words reflect a life that lived worthy of its calling.
— Faith is the basic trust in God. It is the foundation of Christian virtues.
— Excellence is the proper fulfillment of anything.
— Knowledge involves an experiential relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
— Self-control refers to what happens when reason wins out over desires and passions.
— Endurance describes Christians who remain faithful to the Lord under a load of persecution and pressure.
— Godliness for the Christian is best described with Dallas Willard’s expression, “living a Jesus-kind-of-life.”
— Mutual affection translates the Greek “philadelphia.”
— Love (Greek, agape) denotes the attitude which God has shown himself toward humans.
Paul states at the end of his great chapter on love, “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13.13).
May Peter’s compelling language stir us to greater devotion to Jesus. We should not cheat ourselves and settle for less than living a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Peter’s conclusion to the matter is completely accurate.
For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1.8).
Rudy Ross and I continue a study on 2 Peter on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.