In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the apostle tells us that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has also given us exceedingly great and precious promises so that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Peter continues in 2 Peter 1:5-11 “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.”
You are saved by God’s grace. You do not earn your salvation. But for the very reason that God has given you so much and has promised great and precious promises, you should want to add to your faith. You should not be content with just a basic belief in God and Jesus Christ His Son. Because He loved you so much, you will want to love Him in return. 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.” Since you want to love God, what do you add to your faith?
Peter tells you that the first thing that you add to your faith is virtue. Virtue means moral excellence. Your life of sin you lived before you had faith should become a thing of the past. You will seek to purge from your life any sexual immorality, lying, hatred, drunkenness, wild partying, envy, lust and such like. Instead, you will seek to add love, patience, kindness, self-control, gentleness and similar virtues to your life. You will seek to add moral excellence to your faith.
Peter next tells you to add knowledge to your virtue. The apostle Paul spoke about the Jews in Romans 10:2 “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” You must not be that way. You will want to know God. What is He like? Is He a God of love? Is He a God of vengeance? How has He dealt with mankind in the past? How tolerant is He of sin and rebellion. Does He forgive if people repent? What are the things that please Him and the things that displease Him? You will want to read and study the Bible so that you can gain the knowledge of God and His ways. You will want to draw near to God so that He will draw near to you. You will want to know God and be known by God.
Peter next tells you to add self-control or temperance to your knowledge. While self-control may be part of virtue, it is very important to give attention to adding self-control to your life. You can have all the knowledge of God and what pleases Him but if you cannot control yourself in what you say and what you do, the knowledge will not do you any good. You must resist temptation and control yourself.
Peter next tells you to add perseverance or patience to your self-control. Perseverance means that you continue to have faith and obedience to God without giving up due to tribulation, trials or discouragement. Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Perseverance must be added because all will be lost if you give up.
Peter next tells you to add godliness to your perseverance. Godliness means to be devout or to do what is well-pleasing to God. Beyond seeking to obey the commandments and the written word, you will seek to do in your life what truly pleases God the Father.
Peter next tells you to add brotherly kindness to your godliness. The original Greek word basically means brotherly love. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” You cannot truly love God unless you love your brother and sister in Christ (1 John 4:20).
Finally, Peter tells you to add love to brotherly kindness. 1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” Just as God is love, you will want to be characterized as a person of love.
You need to add to your faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. If these things abound in your life, you won’t be barren or unfruitful. But if you lack these things, you are shortsighted or simply blind and you have forgotten that God cleansed you from your old sins.
Peter concludes by saying to “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.” I think it is safe to turn Peter’s statement around. If you do not do these things, your calling and election will not be sure; you will stumble and your entrance into the everlasting kingdom of Christ will be in doubt.
I encourage you to add to your faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. Make your calling and election sure.