Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

2 Peter 1:3-11

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

The Original Intent

1) What constitutes “everything required for life and godliness” that God’s divine power has given us through knowing Him? (verse 3)

The author, Peter, declares that God’s “divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) Peter encourages believers that anyone who trusts in the Lord has everything they need to live a godly life in Jesus. 

Tony Evans explains how “The spiritual blessings we need are already available to us […] but it’s up to us to access them. These comprehensive blessings are appropriated through the knowledge of God—that is, through the specific knowledge of God’s will for and blessings to believers.”

God asks us to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44), but He also provides the pathway for us to obey Him by reading His Word and drawing near to God in prayer, as well as the power to obey through the Holy Spirit. When we trust in Jesus and let Him lead our lives, He promises to make us more like Him. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

When we choose to follow His commands because of His love for us and our love for Him, we no longer pursue the evil desires and corrupt practices of this world. (Romans 6:14) God Himself provides the grace and strength we need to live a godly life. 

Charles Ellicott asserts that God “does not give life and godliness in maturity, but supplies us with the means of winning them for ourselves. All is emphatic; nothing that is requisite is grudged us, and nothing is our own, it is all the gift of God.”

The better we know Jesus and the closer we draw to Him, the more we become like Him. He graciously gives us the power and the knowledge to live the godly life He lays out for us.

The Everyday Application

1) What constitutes “everything required for life and godliness” that God’s divine power has given us through knowing Him? (verse 3)

Sometimes I look at the way I currently am compared to the way I want to be, and get discouraged by the distance between the two. I start out diligent and purposeful in my endeavors to be like Jesus, but eventually, as an old song by Keith Green says, “I get so weary, worn and tossed ’round in the storm.” But we don’t need to be discouraged and exhausted when we remember the promise of God to give us everything we need to become like Him!

Scripture doesn’t say that I need to do everything in my power to live a godly life and wear myself out in the process. (Galatians 2:20) God says HE has already given me access to everything I need to live a godly life through Jesus Christ. John Piper asserts that “God’s divine power flows into our lives when we know and trust His precious and very great promises. And this power flowing through these promises produces practice of godliness and the [sure hope] of life eternal.”

Instead of relying on my own strength and capacity for goodness, which are quickly exhausted, I can connect to God’s power and grace to live like Jesus through the power of His Spirit. God does not promise to immediately make me a carbon copy of Himself when I trust in Him, but He gives me the tools I need to develop and exhibit genuine godliness. (Ephesians 4:15)

When I fall short, He also provides the grace to try again (1 John 1:9) Instead of despairing that I will never be as I want to be, I can rejoice that God has provided everything I need to be more like Jesus.

The Original Intent

2) How can we supplement our faith with all the attributes listed in verses 5-7?

In verses 5-7, Peter says believers should supplement our faith with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love. David Guzik suggests that “The scope of the list demonstrates that God wants us to have a well-rounded Christian life, complete in every fashion. We can’t be content with an incomplete Christian life.”

God wants us to pursue Him and pattern our lives after His Word. One way to add these characteristics into our lives is to follow the example of Jesus who is Himself good (Mark 10:18,) and has knowledge of all (1 John 3:20). Loving others as Jesus loves is the best example to follow because Jesus is love. (1 John 4:8)

God puts His Spirit within us to equip and empower us to authentically exhibit His character. He shows us what He wants us to be like through His Word, and then His indwelling Spirit (John 14:26) shapes us to be like Jesus in our everyday actions, thoughts, word, and motivations. 

Gil Rugh explains that we “reach down into the resources of almighty God, who has made [us] new within, and [we] draw upon His power, the One who is [our] sufficiency, and apply [ourselves] to the pursuit of the development of His character in every aspect of [our] life.” Some of the virtues promoted by Peter like love, goodness, and self-control are listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

These qualities are produced in lives led and empowered by the Spirit’s work, not our human effort. When people trust in God and surrender to His work in them, they can exemplify Christ and let the Holy Spirit enable them to grow and flourish in the goodness and love of God.

The Everyday Application

2) How can we supplement our faith with all the attributes listed in verses 5-7?

When I became a Christian at age 5, I felt different immediately. My faith gave me joy and peace (Romans 15:13) and led me to deepen my relationship with God around age 10, when I began putting my belief into practice. As I read my Bible and prayed each day, I started doing what Peter teaches in 2 Peter 1:5-7, “supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 

The first sign of growth as a Christian that I saw in my life was the change in my behavior to my little sister. We were only 15 months apart in age, and that closeness contributed to a deep friendship as well as some epic battles. Hair pulling, biting, name-calling, shoving and slapping ensued in our younger years, but by ages 9 and 10 we advanced to cutting remarks, pettiness, and arguing.

The more I read God’s Word, prayed and asked Him to speak to me, the more I realized I needed to change the way I spoke to my kid sister. When I started apologizing after a fight or spoke gently, when in the past I spewed anger, my sister was incredulous. “What is wrong with you?” she would ask.

My answer should have been that something was now right with me. I was cultivating the characteristics God desired in me, including brotherly love and self-control. I am still a work in progress (Philippians 3:12) in surrendering my will to Christ’s.

When I feel I am making some headway in one area, God shines His revealing light on another area where He wants to help me grow in godliness. Jesus started a good work in me, and He is faithful to complete it! (Philippians 1:6)

The Original Intent

3) How can we “confirm our calling and election” so as to never stumble? (verse 10)

Peter instructs his readers in verse 10 to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.” A person is called if she has decided to trust in Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us God has “saved us and called us with a holy calling […] according to His own purposes and grace”; He has set us apart for His holy purposes.

Christ’s followers are the elect, those who have given their lives to Jesus. John 15:16 tells us that Jesus chose us and appointed us to produce fruit; He has a divine plan to shape us to be like Him. 

Isaiah 41:9 and Matthew 22:14 both describe how God has called us and chosen us to be His people. We can confirm our calling and election by obeying the Word of the One who called us into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9) The more we follow the will and way of the Lord, the more we demonstrate that He is at work in our lives.

If we love Him, our love will be evidenced by our obedient following of Him. If we don’t obey His commands, we don’t actually love Him and are not living like those who are called and chosen. (John 14:15

R.C. Sproul explains that “true Christians act like Christians, and that the more we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, the more we will experience the joyful confidence that we belong to the Savior. . .We begin to know with certainty that we are already kingdom citizens, and we can look forward more and more to the joy of heaven.”

When we love God and obey His commands, we prove we have indeed been called out of darkness into His glorious light.

The Everyday Application

3) How can we “confirm our calling and election” so as to never stumble? (verse 10)

Early in my Christian experience I realized this whole “God thing” that I professed to believe was actually real, and not just words on a page or meaningless traditions. I had been reading my Bible, praying and keeping a prayer journal as a young girl, trying to establish a relationship with God that was my own, distinct from my parents and church leaders.

I don’t recall the passage I read, but I remember the excitement I felt as the words in the verses leaped out at me and resonated in my spirit, encouraging me and confirming to me that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about His will for me and His love for me. (1 Corinthians 2:10) I was experiencing what Peter exhorts believers to do in 2 Peter 1:10 when he says to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.”

I did not realize it, but I was confirming my calling and election by pursuing God, and seeking to understand His ways and follow them. The more I discovered that I could have a friendship with God (John 15:15) and that His Word is alive (Hebrews 4:12) and true (John 17:17), the more solid my faith in Him became.

Later in college, I encountered people who doubted the veracity of Scriptures and a professor who taught the Bible as just another ancient book of mythology. I was able to question and investigate, to “test all things but hold on to what is good”. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

As I continue following God’s way, I come to an increasingly deeper understanding of what God has called me to do. Though I still choose sin sometimes, it is easier not to stumble when I am following the path He has laid out for me.

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