Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2 Peter 1:5-11

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Vs 5-7 The Apostle Peter having commended both the true knowledge and promises of God to us; declaring to us that it is through these very things that we are partakers of the divine nature (faith being the activating ingredient of our salvation). Now exhorts to us that it is "for this very reason" that we are to in all diligence add to our faith in Jesus, several Christian virtues by which effective and maturing Christ like growth will take place in our lives. Now this is not merely a command to be fulfilled by self effort, yes it will require a steady and ongoing application by us, but ultimately it will be the Holy Spirit both empowering us and transforming us that will be the difference maker. For just as God is working in us, He still requires our active participation in this by our pursuing His righteousness. And so the Apostle Peter first states that we are to add to our faith virtue. Websters unabridged dictionary defines virtue as this: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness. Now the word used here always carries with it the connotation of pursing, doing, and or achieving excellence; even meditating on something "praiseworthy" (as in 1 Peter 2:9). And so in the N.T. this is always excellence of character that we as believers are to pursue. The ancient Greeks at the time of Homer also used this word in commending the pursuit of manliness or martial valour, and thus honor. So too then should the man of God likewise pursue those things that are excellent in the sight of the Lord, as His true calling as a man of God, whose life and person is both called by, and being led into God's glory and virtue. For it is moral excellence that makes a man honorable in the eyes of the Lord.
Therefore let it be that each and every man who calls on the name of the Lord not only takes a public stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, but also let him also live and strive to be living a life in all virtue.

Having commended us to first of all add to our faith virtue, the Apostle Peter now says that we are to add knowledge. This is the word he used in his introduction when he said: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" 2 Peter 1:2 For it is only by adding too ourselves true knowledge of God our Father that we grow in God's grace and peace as His children. Indeed in closing his epistle Peter will again commend to us to grow in this, stating: "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18
For knowledge of God and thus ones place and position with God because one belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely critical to ones spiritual survival. For in this world where there is either an active hostility towards or absolute abandonment of true knowledge of God, one must for themselves actively seek and feed on the Word of God that they may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). For just as with virtue, so to nobody can effectively cause you grow in your faith if you wilfully neglect it. You yourself must actively be in the Word of God looking for the Holy Spirit to both teach you and instruct you out of it (1 John 2:27). For it is only by the Word of God that you can defeat the lies of the enemy and overcome and or refute, all the false messages and messengers that are in this world. For how else can you grow in your faith and knowledge of God and His promises unless you make a concerted effort to read, study and memorize them. For you how else will you renew your mind (Rom 12:2) unless you yourself are inculcating God' Word into your whole being by your active study of it. Otherwise you'll just be a Sunday morning Christian that nods in approval with all of the preachers words, yet retains almost none of them come Monday morning. And thus God's Word will have little lasting impact on your own life, or the lives of those in your family, or in your sphere of influence. Therefore if you have come to believe in the Lord Jesus don't starve yourself by always looking for someone else to feed you. Take the initiative, let God teach you as you read and study His Word and thus learn and grow in your knowledge of God and His grace for you. For when you do maturity, spiritual fruitfulness, and peace will be products of your efforts and faith.
Now alongside of knowledge the Apostle Peter exhorts us all to add self-control. The word used here appears only two other times in the N.T. (though the exhortation for believers to have self control is by no means limited to these occurrences, consider 1 Cor 9:27; 1 Thess 4:3-7; Titus 2:11-12 etc.).
It appears first in Acts 24:25 where the Apostle Paul being brought before the ruling Governor Felix (a man known for his immorality) to testify about faith in Jesus, will reason with him about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, to which Felix becoming afraid defers a decision on Paul's imprisonment and asks that he be taken away. The other occurrence is in Gal 5:23 where it is listed as one of the nine fruits of Spirit given to every believer. And so we as believers are to people of "self control"; that is people who by the Spirit of God strive to control (i.e. reign in) all fleshly impulses and desires that are contrary to sound Christian living. Whether this is our sin natures fleshly lusts or managing ones temper or tongue, especially during times of temptation or provocation. Same with our bodily impulses to overindulge in foods, drink or whatever else one may be drawn too or into. Each believer must learn to master both their emotions as well as their fleshes impulses so as not to be governed by them, but rather, be governed by the Lord and His Spirit. Consider Proverbs 25:28 which states: Whoever has no rule over his own spirit, Is like a city broken down, without walls. And thus is susceptible to all manner of evils, vices and pitfalls that afflict unbelieving mankind. Therefore self control is a fruit of God's Spirit given to us to not only help us escape all the snares and pitfalls in this life. But also we are given it so as to be empowered to live righteous lives that are both fruitful and peaceful. For truly Biblical wisdom always has within in it self control.
And with that the Apostle Peter now moves from self-control to perseverance. Which seems the perfect follow up. For self control cannot be divorced from perseverance, that is the ability to bear up a long time (and not fold) while under ongoing pressure. Which maybe why God allows those difficult circumstances, and even people, into our lives. So that we might learn perseverance. For though we truly hope in the Lord Jesus Christ and believe God's promises towards us because of Him. Often it's not until our faith has been forged in the furnace of ongoing affliction do we get any stronger in keeping it.
And so from perseverance the Apostle Peter moves to godliness. Exhorting us, just as the Apostle Paul does to it's virtue and pursuit (see 1 Tim 4:7). The question then is what is it? Obviously godliness regards ones disposition, conduct, and or responsibilities towards God. And in regards to this, godliness always implies piety. That is we are to have a reverent, humble, and or submissive spirit before God, fearing both His Person and His Word (consider Isaiah 57:16; 66:2; Phil 2:12-13). Now because of this deep regard for God's Person and His Word, godliness also carries with it some very clear moral and ethical obligations (consider Micah 6:8). For one cannot be said to be living a godly life by merely by being pious in church. For true godliness always is an extension of ones reverence for God; and thus invokes the fear of the Lord, as ones guiding principal in spheres outside of the house of faith (Psalm 110:10). And so born out of ones reverence for God, there must also to be a due respect/regard for all those God has placed in authority over us (1 Tim 2:1-2). For true godliness is just that, behavior towards God and mankind that is in accord with the Gospel of God. For in contrast to false teachers that reject authority, and or deny these things. Sound doctrine makes it clear that true faith In Jesus Christ is always in accord with godliness (1 Tim 6:3-5; Titus 1:1). Which itself is a by product of Christ's Divine power and life at work in us and through us (2 Peter 1:3). And so like all the fruits of the Spirit which are given to us as an essential part of our new nature; so we must seek to live in harmony with them, rather than living by the worlds godless works, words, and ways (consider Gal 5:16-24). Therefore godliness is just that, living in harmony with, and letting the life of Jesus Christ within us be manifested through us, towards both God and mankind. Whether in prayer or in service. Godliness is both reverence and fear, righteousness, justice and love. For these are not mutually exclusive ideas. But find their consummation in godliness.

Next up is brotherly kindness. The word used here also means brotherly love (1 Thess 4:9). What is unique about it; as compared to other Greek words that have a similar thrust in meaning; is that it is restricted to those who share a common bond, in a common fellowship. And thus for believers this is the common bond and fellowship that we all share in Christ. Thus brotherly kindness is something that we are to give great emphasis in practicing towards all those who are in the house of faith (Rom 12:10; Heb 13:1). Whether this in ones own church assembly, or elsewhere, for brotherly kindness is commanded of us to live out towards all who in truth call on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 4:20-21).

And so there is love. The greatest gift God has given us, and that we can give to others. For is that not why Jesus became a Man, so that by His death on the cross and His Resurrection from the dead, He could not only atone for all our sins (and thus fulfill God's love for us all, Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:10), but He could by His Holy Spirit bring God's everlasting love into us all who believe in Him. And so when Jesus atoned for all our sins, and dealt with our sin nature, by His crusifixion death, He opened the door by which we could become partakers of the Divine Nature. Therefore Jesus commands that we love one another, so that all might know that we are His disciples (John 13:35) and thus believe in the love that God has for them. Love then is foundational to everything that not only we are as Christians, but also what we do as Christians. For no one can say they know God, nor abide in God, unless they truly love God and other believers (consider 1 John 4:16, 20-21). Therefore: 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7–8 

Vs. 8 The Apostle Peter having commended us to the diligent pursuit of seven Christian virtues: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Now reminds us that it is through these that we become both effective and fruitful for the Lord Jesus Christ's Person, Kingdom, and Purposes here on earth. "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." vs. 8

Vs. 9 "For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins." The Apostle Peter by saying such here is commending us who believe in Jesus to live lives that reflect all the qualities previously listed. For as believers we must always strive to go forward in the grace of God, and not fall into lethargy, or our old sinful lifestyles. For we are cleansed from our old sins, and have been given a new nature, therefore let us live according to it.    

Vs. 10-11 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And so we are in all diligence to make our calling and election from God sure, for if we do those things, that is by live out those virtues that the Apostle Peter commended to us, we will never stumble as believers. As well we will affirm to ourselves (and others) our own true standing with the Lord Jesus Christ and God. For again the Lord Jesus says nothing about the grace of God going out to all sinners so that they might continue on in sin (consider Matt 7:13-14, ). On the contrary, when anyone sees their own sinfulness, and receives what the Lord Jesus Christ has done through His crucifixion death and resurrection from the dead, to both atone for our sins, as well as liberate us from them, everything changes. Therefore when one is brought from spiritual death and darkness and into Spiritual life and light, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ's life with new godly appetites are implanted with us. That is what happens when the Holy Spirit indwells us with the Divine Nature. And so we are to pursue these godly desires with all diligence. "for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" vs. 11

Additional Resources Consulted
Websters Unabridged Dictionary
(from Logos)
Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.

Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2001.

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

Kittel, Gerhard, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985.

Liddell, H.G. A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996.

Word Studies
faith (Str 4102; GK 4411; LN 31.43, 31.85, 31.88, 31.102, 31.104, 33.289; TDNT 6.174)
virtue (Str 703; GK 746; LN 88.11, 76.14; TDNT 1.457)
knowledge (Str 1108; GK 1194; LN LN 28.1, 28.17, 28.19, 32.16; TDNT 1.689)
self-control (Str 1466; GK 1602; LN 88.83; TDNT 2.339)
perseverance (Str 5281; GK 5705; LN 25.174; TDNT 4.581)
godliness (Str 2150; GK 2354; LN 53.1, 53.5; TDNT 7.175)
brotherly kindness (Str 5360; GK 5789; LN 25.34; TDNT 1.144)
love (Str 26; GK 27; LN 25.43; 23.28; TDNT 1.21)

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

Note: this is a draft version, completed to verse nine

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