By Quentin McCay
God’s gracious plan for the redemption of sinful man includes a common precious faith, provisions for life and godliness, exceeding great and precious promises, partaking of the divine nature, escape from the corruption that is in the world through lust, conditions upon which all may build their hope of immortality, blessings to all who give diligence to make their calling and election sure, and the importance of keeping these things always in remembrance. All of this is revealed to us by the inspired apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:1-15.
Having escaped the “corruption that is in the world through lust,” one must add, or supply, those divine principles that create in the individual the divine nature.
It is not the purpose of this article to dwell on the meanings of these beautiful expressions which describe the fruitful life of the Christian (2 Pet. 1:4-7). It is enough to say that one must “give diligence” to add “these things” to one’s faith. To faith must be added virtue, or manliness and courage to do right in the midst of assaults of the tempter. To virtue must be added knowledge of that which is right, which directs the courage into proper channels. To knowledge must be added temperance, or self-control, which enables one to govern appetites. To temperance must be added patience, or endurance. One who controls his appetites will learn to patiently bear hardships. To patience must be added godliness or reverence, holy fear and respect for God. The thought of God controls the Christian’s whole being. Brotherly kindness must be added to godliness. From godliness flows love for God’s people. Peter says to godliness add brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness add love. Love is the adhesive that binds all of these beautiful traits of the Christian together into one fruitful being. These supplied to the faith of the Christian create in a person the divine nature and fit him for heaven. The Christian becomes more and more like Christ as he grows in these virtues. As the servant of Christ drinks more and more from the fountain of truth, he becomes more and more in the likeness of the Savior of men and is prepared for the eternal home.
Followers of Christ are urged to give “a diligence” to add “these things” to their faith (vv. 5, 10). The apostle promises four advantages that will attend those who diligently labor to possess these great truths and to abound in them. There is promised a fruitful life, eyes which will see the glories of God, guard against failing from God’s grace and that abundant entrance into God’s eternal kingdom. These are the blessings of diligence.
Not Barren But Fruitful
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). God demands a fruitful life (Jn. 15:1-8; Rom. 7:4; Phil. 1:11; Jas. 3:17). Have you ever wondered why your life is never able to touch another life for good? Do you ask, “Why can’t I be fruitful in leading people to Christ and encouraging them to live godly?” The answer to these questions is that virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love are not abounding in your life. Unless “these things” are made a part of one’s life, something is lacking, and life will be barren. The life that begins in faith and abounds in these characteristics will shine more and more unto the perfect day. If one wants life to be worthy, helpful, beneficial and fruitful, one must give all diligence, and to faith in God supply these components of the divine nature. This fruitful life is a blessing that attends diligence.
Not Blind But Seeing
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Pet. 1:9). The converse of this is that if one abounds in “these things,” he is not blind and can see afar off. He sees not only what is near. His vision grows wider and farther. He has insight into the glories of the celestial, which captivates the vision of the inward man. He sees the unseen (2 Cor. 4:18). He is mindful of his salvation from sin and the divine provisions for his redemption. He has a vision of his duty while here in the flesh, and his eyes being enlightened know, “what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18). But he that lacketh these things sees only what is near and has taken no heed to foster the light of the glorious gospel, within which kindles faith. Such a person sees only that which is near, and his eyes are blinded to heaven and its blessings. His awareness of present duties to God is blurred. Being able to see the unseen is a blessing obtained by those who “give all diligence to make their calling and election sure.”
Shall Never Fall
“If ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10). The warnings of God found on every page of the Bible, the examples of those who have fallen from God’s grace and the law of pardon provided for those who fall teach us clearly the possibility of stumbling, failing and falling so as to be lost eternally (1 Cor. 9:24-10:12; Gal. 5:1-5; Heb. 12:14-16). Constant diligence must be given to adding “these things” to faith and making them a part of life and living. Giving diligence to abound in them strengthens one against temptations and makes his calling and election sure. Such is a guard against apostasy. “Ye shall never fall” is God’s promise and is a great blessing. It gives hope to those who make their calling sure by being diligent in adding “these things” to faith.
“For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11). The word “so” is an adverb of manner. In this manner, or by giving all diligence to add these traits to faith, one is prepared for heaven and will have richly supplied the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of God. The apostle exhorts believers to supply these virtues and promises that an entrance “shall be ministered” abundantly into the eternal kingdom. This will be richly supplied. What man bestows shall be returned to him manifold. In that eternal home, the faithful will gather to reap the rewards and share in the delights of immortality. In heaven the true believers will meet their God face to face, and with loved ones and friends live forever together. This is the ultimate blessing of giving all diligence in making our calling and election sure.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 22, pp. 686-687
November 15, 1984