2nd Peter,  Dale Lewis

2 Peter 1:5 | “For this reason”

  1. Intro
  2. Vs. 5 Balance

I. Intro

We pick up our text in chapter 1 verses 5-11 in what would be the reason Peter sat down to write this letter. New Testament letters are NOT abstract art made up of disjointed lines that have no interaction with each other. The statement of purpose is wonderfully tied to Peter’s introduction. Together the observation of this connection is fundamental not only to the letter but to our Christian faith as a whole. In his introduction Peter wrote the objectives of the Christian life. And in verse 3 he told his readers that there were two objects: Things that…  

  1. Pertain to LIFE: To know God
  2. And GODLINESS: To be transformed into His likeness 

It is here that the Christian must pause and appraise their understanding of the Christian faith. There are two errors the Christian church has made to Christians:

  1. That by their own efforts they can make themselves Christians and by adding to their life works they can add to their own goodness and fitness to be in the presence of God.
  2. The second error is that of “extreme passivity” that makes it anti-Christian to exhibit any self-discipline in their Christian life.    

To answer the first error, Peter the apostle never asked the Christian reader to DO ANYTHING until he first emphasized and repeated what God has done for us in Christ! The Church and pastors have mistakenly taught that to be a Christian WE MUST FIRST do something, but Peter’s emphasis is that the first words to fallen humanity is not “You must…” but instead, “I have given!” God never issues an exhortation to humanity that He has not first provided the resources necessary to accomplish the exhortation! The gospel is the proclamation to fallen humanity that God has given Someone for us before we are aware that we are in need of Who He has given! He does so to reinforce that mankind can do nothing to help itself! Mankind at best and highest on its own is a lost creature. We are NOT fundamentally sinners BECAUSE  we sin…. NO, we sin because we are sinners! We simple behave as we are and therefore God doesn’t ask us to reform that which we are without first supply that which we need to be made New! We MUST receive the gift of Someone before we can be transformed from dead the alive and as such God makes no appeal to a dead man to walk before He offers the free gift of being made alive! Before there can ever be an expectation of activity there first MUST BE LIFE! It for this reason that Peter wrote that before the two objectives of the Christian life that, “His divine power has given us all things that” pertain to those two objectives. Furthermore, we were told where to find the resources for those two objectives were found in the resources are IN: The knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (verse 2). 

II. Vs. 5 Balance

Vs. 5 There is no use in telling a man to fish if you haven’t given him what is necessary to fish but there ought to be every expectation that once supplied with everything necessary to fish that the person will indeed…FISH!! This address the second error that the Christian Church has made with “extreme passivity”! Yes God has given “everything necessary” but there is an expectancy that we will put to use what He has provided. Jesus spoke on this in the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:14-30 as we ought to now put forth the effort to accomplish the objectives. Divine wealth is not given to humanity the opportunity to sleep and waste away the gift of life that God has given us! Consider the extreme cost that God has given so that we are now able to accomplish those two objects! With that said Peter now says the exhortation: “But also for this very reason”. Peter says that it is for the reason that God has already supplied everything necessary to know God and be transformed into His likeness that the Christian needs to be “Active and alive” in their faith…that is redeemed humanity’s part! The English translation of the Greek word “add” doesn’t rightly convey the meaning. The Greek word is where we get our English word for chorus which was very important in Greek plays. The word was used to describe the person who bore the expense of all the training and maintenance for the chorus. It meant to supply to overflowing beyond what was necessary….generously! What follows is a threefold description of the Christian faith that we are exhorted has been abundantly furnished on our behalf that we are now to be diligent in increasing! Peter describes the:

  1. Character of our faith: Virtue and knowledge
  2. Disposition of our faith: Self-control, perseverance 
  3. Its relationship to others of our faith: Godliness, brotherly kindness and love

Peter’s reference to this isn’t meant to be some mechanical exercise by the use of the word ADD we see that he means that it ought to be a “perfect balance…a chorus perfectly fitted voices in concert with each other”! This is a perfect list you cannot add to it as it deal with the whole of the Christian life that is all dependent upon our faith in what God alone has supplied. Of note also is the order of the list in its divisions: 

  • The most important thing is that the Christian is right with regards to the “Character of our faith”.
  • Then once corrected with regards to the “Character of our faith” the Christian will need to realize that the world will oppose this faith and we will need be open to be the inward disposition of our faith!
  • Finally, the Christian will need to understand faiths relationship with others who share our faith as well as those outside it!       

Peter’s take on this section is very “business like” as he describes the Christians pursuit of maturity like business attitudes or strategies. Yes they are to be done in the energy of the Holy Spirit, but we must not think that God is against order and discipline. Look at Peter’s words here, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” Peter gives four business attitudes towards our faith:

  • for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith”: Method of our faith
  • add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,to knowledge self-control”: Alertness of our faith
  • to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness”: Promptness of our faith
  • to godliness brotherly kindness”: Boldness of our faith
  • and to brotherly kindness love”: Persistence of our faith   

Oh, to God that the Christian would be as eager to acquire and spend their spiritual wealth as they were in their pursuit to obtain and spend their material wealth! Peter enables the reader of this letter to:

  • Define their ambitions 
  • Refine their goals 
  • Realign their efforts    

This list also enables the reader to analyze why they are not obtaining their desired results of their faith. “What do I lack?” “What do I need to put in harmony of my faith?” Again I remind you that Peter started this letter with taking the reader into the bank of Christ showing them their heavenly resources to accomplish the objectives of: Knowing God and being transformed into His likeness. Having showed us this Peter assumes that we would now want to “put into our life” what God has created us to be! Every one of these “virtues” adds, strengthens and transforms every other virtue. Like hues of color one drop of one color changes the shade of the next color. The principle put forth by Peter in the Greek is that: The composition of our faith is such that everything helps everything else achieve what each individually called to be. As I allow the Holy Spirit to add to my “faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” All our enriched by each other but there is a reverse application of this principle as well as if you take virtue away from knowledge you will impoverish knowledge! It is clear by Peter’s words that the Christian life is to be both “Active” and “efficient” as we see that is the nature of our heavenly Father and Lord whom we are being transformed to be like! The Christian and Church that he is a part of are to be character and moral “health centers” where each believer is contributing to the health and wellbeing of not only themselves and their direct community but all that they come in contact with! The church is part of the refinement process of our disposition as the above virtues are “ADDED” to our lives daily. Next week we will examine in greater detail the: 

  • Character of our faith: Virtue and knowledge
  • Disposition of our faith: Self-control, perseverance 
  • Its relationship to others of our faith: Godliness, brotherly kindness and love