August 3, 2021
Scripture: For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
Observation: Similar to James’ opening remarks, here Peter presents his list of attributes of one who is maturing in their faith. But where James cites trials and suffering as our means of bearing the fruit of a maturing Christian, Peter focuses on our goal: to partake of the divine nature (verse 4). Each complements the other: if we want to reach our goal of assuming the divine nature (becoming image-bearers of Christ), then we must follow Jesus’ path of suffering. With this in mind, we should “make every effort to supplement” our faith with the above divine attributes.
Hold on, is Peter suggesting that it’s up to us to make it happen? Has he leaned toward works-righteousness? Verse 8 dispels any concern: “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We take possession of these qualities. But as James cautions us, we must not be double-minded in trusting that God is accomplishing his purposes in us when we suffer trials. Otherwise, we will be tossed around in our thoughts and emotions like wind-whipped waves of a sea (James 1:6).
Takeaway: Resist navel-gazing and trust that Christ who began this good work in us will see it through to completion (Philippians 1:6). Meanwhile, keep in mind the end-product: love. Without it, all our virtuous efforts are nothing more than clanging cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Prayer: Father God, help us to remember and trust that you are working your divine nature in us through trials and suffering. And grant us grace to steady the course in faith. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling