Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 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. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-11)
Virtue Needs Knowledge
When God created man, He formed a creature that was in His own image. This was a distinction that would separate man from the animals because man would be accountable to the Lord for his actions. The creatures of the world react through a natural order of instinct with no knowledge of right and wrong. Only in man is found the moral virtue of righteousness. Because of this knowledge of morality man finds himself answerable to his Creator with a judgment of eternal goodness or wrath. Life after death only comes to the creature man as animals cease to exist in death. Man was created as a free moral agent choosing whether he would obey God or fall to his own passions. The tree of knowledge of good and evil in Eden was where man fell from the grace of God beginning his long journey of redemption. Eve made a choice based upon the false knowledge spoken to her by the devil. Adam assumed the same as he took of the fruit. Immediately the reality of their nakedness was revealed to them and they felt their shame and fear. Hearing the Lord walking in the garden, Adam and Eve hid themselves because they were guilty. Knowledge led them to know their need of salvation.
From the time of the garden the power of knowledge has brought man to God. Without understanding the will of the Lord there was no hope for man. Every generation knew the difference between right and wrong because God revealed His word to them. In the days of Noah man decided to reject the truth and lived as a law to themselves. Noah saved his household because he obeyed the word of God. Through Moses the law was given to the children of Israel. They could read and understand the will of God because knowledge was given to them from God. Their choice to obey or disobey was based on whether they accepted the truth and acted upon the knowledge of the Lord. Jesus came into the world as the Word because He was the embodiment of knowledge. He declared Himself as being the only truth, the only way and the only life. No one will come to the Father unless they come through the Word. Faith will only come from hearing the word of God. Knowledge is the foundation of believing in the promises of God.
Virtue is the moral excellence given by the Lord for man to follow. This cannot be done without knowledge. Everything man needs to know to be saved is revealed within the pages of the Bible. The divine power of God has given to man all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Apart from knowledge man cannot know these things. Faith alone cannot save without knowledge. Adding knowledge to virtue is imperative for man to know what to do to be saved. Obedience can only come from a continued examination of the will of God in the hearts of His people. One of the most grievous problems in the lives of many Christian’s is the absence of knowledge. There is an assumption that baptism automatically instills everything a person must know to grow in virtue, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love in the heart. Peter will remind the readers that knowledge must abound. Most in the church are in a spiritual kindergarten of the word. When there is a lack of knowledge virtue lags. Self-control is hard to manage because of a lack of knowledge. Children of God fall by the wayside because they are ignorant of the blessings of God. Temptation destroys lives that are not filled with knowledge.
It is impossible to know the will of God without the knowledge of the will of God. The written word is given to man so that he can read and understand the mystery of the Lord. Knowledge is the power of salvation embedded in the heart that will establish walls of defense against sin and enable the heart to find peace in the presence of God. Reading the words of God must happen on a daily basis so that the heart will fill with the abounding love of His grace. Virtue is the moral compass and knowledge is the points on the compass. True north comes from a study of the word of God. Life without knowledge is an aimless life leading to nothing. Taking time to be holy requires taking time to grow in knowledge. Knowledge is power. Know the word of God and you will be strengthened in His might.