ABOUNDING IN THE CHRISTIAN GRACES

By Chris Lopez

The Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:17,18 “ You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you fall from your own, being led away with the error of the wicked ; but grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

The two key words mentioned in the text above are “know” and “grow.”

Expository study of 2 Peter 1:1-11 – Abounding in the Christian Graces.

In verse 1, Peter informed the early Christians that they must know the source of their precious faith is by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. In verse 2, grace and peace are multiplied through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. In verses 3 and 4, through God’s divine power we have been given everything we need to know concerning life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that called us by glory and virtue. This means we have the resources required to live a virtuous and godly life. Lack of determination, could be one of the reasons that hinder us from living virtuously and godly. God has provided exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. “God has not only given us the resources we need now, but also great and precious promises for the future.”

Now, for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…  “Giving all diligence” carries the meaning “put it right front of you to see.” The word diligence means being full of zeal, earnestness, putting every effort. There should not be any reservation, holding back, doubts or laziness. It is our responsibility to implement these in our lives realising that our effort goes alongside with what God has done for us and is continuing to do for us. God will give the strength we need as we carry out our responsibility to do what He requires of us.

Philippians 2:12 –“Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed…” In this context we see their obedience to God’s instruction for them through the inspired writings of the Apostle Paul – “…not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The inspired Apostle Peter is moving in the same direction as Paul. Our responsibility to work out our salvation with fear and trembling involves applying all diligence in implementing and carrying out what God has done in our lives. Paul in the next verse states, “forit is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” God is going to work it out in His power, as you with all diligence obey Him in doing what He instructs you to do. It is His work in you, depending on your submission and obedience to Him; otherwise all of our failures, shortcoming and lack of growth is our fault.

And to Virtue, Knowledge. The word knowledge, a compound word “epignosis” used in verses 2 and 3, is that full complete knowledge of God and His Son that we have come to in our salvation. The word in verse 5 is simply “gnosis” not the compound word. It has a practical emphasis. Knowledge that is implemented to discern right and wrong, good and evil, so the knowledge of God’s Word will apply to our lives, shape our activities, our attitude and determines what we are going to do with the energy that we have committed to Him. We are to continually grow, increase in our understanding and discernment. We are to ensure that we study the Word of God, so that we can behave properly in all circumstances and situation of life.

And to Knowledge, Temperance. Self- control (egkrateian) literally means to get a grip of one’s self. Get it together, to control our passions and desires rather than be controlled by them. In the worldly concept it is all about self. As children of God we are to consider 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – Striving toward an imperishable crown and not being disqualified by God. We discipline, restrain and make sure we are imitating Christ.

And to Temperance, Patience Self-control when exercised over time produces perseverance. This word means to remain steadfast and strong under pressure, difficulties and various trials. We develop endurance like Caleb, one of the 12 spies that went spy the land of Canaan at 40, then went on to conquer the territory given to Judah at the age of 85 years old. He focussed on and held steadfastly to the promises of God.

And to Patience, Godliness. The word godliness means a desire of the heart and mind to please God. It includes our conduct, how we relate to others, to make a total sacrifice and commitment toward fulfilling God’s Will. It is not easy and requires all the qualities mentioned earlier.

And to Godliness, Brotherly Kindness.“Philadelphia”- brotherly love, brotherly affection and compassion. This is a directed love towards the brethren. We are to treat each other as a family. We are the household of God. We must be involved with the work of the church which is helping others overcome the various challenges they face in life, visit and provide what is necessary to edify the brother or sister who may need some form of assistance. Compassion is an important trait for all of us to cultivate in our dealing with each other.

And to Brotherly Kindness, Love. “Agape” is a different kind of love. While brotherly love has a mutuality about it,  agape love is I will do what is best for you, without any expectation. It is a self- sacrificing love. Jesus is the best example in setting the example (John 13:34, 35; Romans 5:8,9) “ … not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

We must apply every ounce of energy to pursue what God has set before us. By God’s grace we must have the determination to be everything He has created us to be. What a joy to be involved in the work of the Lord, to mould ourselves to be like Jesus Christ and to have precious and great promises to look forward to when life is over.

Concluding Thoughts

For if these things are yours and abound, you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling 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 Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8–11).

God bless us all as we do what is commanded to make our calling and election sure, preparing to make our entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

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