Peter is writing to churches troubled by false teachers who are distorting the gospel and encouraging others to pursue an immoral lifestyle. Peter begin the letter by reminding them the gospel is meant to lead us into eternal life and godliness. All of humanity has two great needs: 1) we need to be forgiven for our sinfulness; and 2) we need to be freed from the corruption of our sins. God is solving that problem through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The false teachers loose among his readers are preaching a different gospel. Their goal is NOT life and godliness and they are leading others astray. In this section Peter is making the connection between belief and lifestyle.
5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2Peter 1:5-11 ESV
- brotherly affection – Part of loving God is loving the things God loves, including His people. Our faith should cut across all other lines that divide us (e.g. race, gender, socioeconomic background, national identity, etc.) and bring us together.
- love – While “brotherly affection” (philadelphia) referred to the particular bond believers have, “love” (agape) refers to love of all mankind and is rooted in the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.
- In 2Peter 1:8, he begins his summary, saying this qualities should increasingly be marks of your lifestyle, not that you have obtained them perfectly now.
- These qualities result from being a person with genuine saving faith and thus keep you from being unfruitful.
- The one who is shortsighted is not seeing straight. He is immature and has not yet grasped all the implications of the gospel and that fact that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and has promised to free us from them.
- In 2Peter 1:10-11, the call and choosing of God is revealed not by my words but by my lifestyle choices. Ultimately I will reveal what I truly believe by the way I act and react. If you don’t want the items in this list, then it’s questionable whether you want the gospel at all, because this is the kind of thing the gospel promises. But if you see these qualities increasing in yourself – even if only in baby steps — take heart, you will gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
- These are the life qualities that grow in the person who God has called and chosen and given the gift of saving faith.