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)
Are We Abounding Or Lacking?
Everything that is needed for the Christian to grow in Christ has been provided through the love of God and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter begins his powerful epistle of hope with the graces that should mold every child of God to a better understanding of salvation. People of God are called by His glory and virtue to excel in every part of their life. From these graces come the exceedingly great and precious promises so that we can partake of the divine nature. Adding to faith virtue and to virtue knowledge along with self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love will change the heart and soul of the disciple of Christ. There will no doubts or fears about eternal life. Diligence is needed to make redemption real and hope alive in the hearts of God’s people. Salvation will be assured. The graces of the Lord will change the landscape of a person’s life to be filled with eternal hope and promise. But there is a condition that brings about this confidence. The graces listed by Peter will have little value if they are not possessed in the mind of the saint and abounding in his life.
God’s love is without measure but salvation in conditional. It would be easy to believe that there is little man has to do to be saved. From the Garden of Eden the grace of God has shown man where to look for salvation. It was inherent upon man to obey the commands of the Lord to find that grace. The list of virtues by Peter will have no impact on the life of the Christian if they do not seek to possess each one in his or her life. Faith must be an active part of our life. Virtue is the means by which we carry out that faith. Knowledge motivates the heart to seek the path of righteousness. Self-control is the steering wheel that keeps the mind of man in the narrow path of holiness. Perseverance fuels the soul to endure whatever comes against the spirit of man. Godliness is the canopy protecting the child of God from the wiles of the evil one. Brotherly kindness and love wrap the soul of man in his relationship with others because he serves the Almighty Father. These graces must be possessed, personal and possessive. I must make each one of the fruits of the Spirit my own.
Secondly, the Christian graces must abound. They must increase in order for them to be effective in my life. Whatever faith I had yesterday must be greater today. The virtues that set me apart last week must be more emboldened this week. Knowledge is always in need of growing as I study more and more about the Lord. The problem with self is the daily challenge of keeping it under the power of God. When the day gets long and the spirit begins to waver, I must increase my willpower to keep on keeping on; persevering to the end. Godliness is not an event but a lifestyle. Molding my heart to be pure, my mind to be clear and my steps ordered by the Lord will give me a spirit like God. Brotherly kindness is an expression of love through my actions toward others. This kind of love is an expressed love that must grow stronger every day. The more I abound in brotherly kindness the more I will know how to love unconditionally. Love must abound more and more so that I can see God.
Lacking any or all of the graces will doom the heart of man. Possessing and abounding in the graces of God will make the heart abound in the knowledge of Christ. Failing to possess these graces will dim the eyesight and cause a person to forget why they serve the King of Kings. The danger of ignoring the Christian graces is the sickness that follows. Looking at the Christian graces as the remedy for sin shows the seriousness of ignoring them. If a person is diagnosed with a serious disease and told how to cure the malady with a series of treatments, by ignoring the treatment they will bring about death. The graces given by Peter represent the perfect treatment for sin. Lacking these things will bring about spiritual decay and eventually death. There are terrible consequences if any of the graces are lacking. They must abound in the life of the Christian.