In this passage, Peter writes about what it looks like for a Christian to pursue purity and holiness. Before describing any other part of the process, Peter reminds us that none of us would be able to pursue the things he tells us to do without God.
In verse 3, Peter tells us that it is God’s divine power that has “granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” He reminds us that it is the knowledge of God and the understanding and acceptance of his promise through Jesus that allow us to escape the corruption of this world and be considered holy.
Although our salvation doesn’t depend on our performance, Peter does say it takes our engagement with God to pursue fruitful, Christ-like qualities.
In verses 5 to 6, Peter asks us to make every effort to add moral excellence to our faith and to our moral excellence, knowledge. And to knowledge, self control. And to that we do our best to add perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and finally love.
With the true knowledge and acceptance of who Jesus is, our atoning sacrifice, Peter says these qualities are ours and are ever increasing. And in practicing these things, we will not stumble and the kingdom of heaven is ours.
But we do have to “make every effort” (verse 5) to pursue these qualities.
This passage in 2 Peter reminds me of Jesus’ interaction with the adulterous woman in John 8, where he tells her to “go now and leave her sin.” She has to actively choose to go and leave it.
It also makes me think of Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul tells us to actively fight against being conformed.
When we’re under Jesus’ blood, we are no longer under the wrath of God, but we are still living in an imperfect world, tempted by the things we have always been tempted by.
God calls us out of those former struggles, into a life marked by a fullness that comes only from Him and an ability to love fueled by that fullness we receive.
But we have to choose to persevere, choose what God has said is good for us and choose to let Him continue to renew and sanctify us.
How do we actively choose to add the qualities Peter tells us to to our faith and let God renew us?
Start by watching how you think and behave. Where are places where you could practice self-control better? Where could you seek more knowledge about God? How could you love your friends or family better?
Lord thank you that no temptation that comes our way is too much for us to bear and that you give us a way out each time. Thank you for never giving up on us and for desiring to see us whole and made new. Would you teach us to choose you even when it’s difficult. Would you transform us into people who love more like you do. Amen.
Author | Lindsey Conway