II Peter 1:3-14
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” The verse before us is a reminder of that which God has done and His purpose for so doing. His divine power is not separate from God. He is Divine Power. The Creator of all has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Life is eternal life and godliness is godly living.
These words were penned by Simon Peter. This epistle is a record of Peter’s last words. He would soon suffer death by crucifixion (see v. 14, Jn. 21:18-19). The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was seen of Peter and many others some thirty years before this epistle was written. On the third occasion in which the Lord appeared to the disciples, He spoke to Peter saying, “Feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:15, 16 and 17). Let us feast upon the meal which Peter has set before us.
In verse 3, the apostle reminds us (His sheep) that God has called us to glory and virtue. In the English language, glory serves as both a noun and a verb. The Greek word which Peter penned is doxa, a noun alone. It means a glory which is of God. It is an awesome glory, a glory which radiates upon all who hear His call and come to Him. The virtue to which we are called is, likewise, of Him. He has given us exceeding and great promises.
In verse 4, Peter states why God has given us such marvelous and wonderful promises. The Lord God of all would have us partake of His divine nature. He would have us experience the fullness of knowing Him. Peter is writing to “us.” Us is all who escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There is only one means of escape. No man can save himself from himself. Us is all who have called upon the only name by which men may be saved. Us is all who have been saved by grace through faith. Saving faith is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). We have escaped the corruption which lust wields by believing upon Him who paid our sin debt.
“And beside this” (v. 5). His great and precious promises exceed the gift of saving faith. Saving faith is not an end. It is the beginning of knowing God. Faith removes the barrier that separates man from God. Through diligence, we can add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Through diligence, we are able to experience the divine nature. Diligence requires us to pay attention to the tasks before us.
Virtue is listed first because everyone can distinguish between good things and bad things. When one receives a good thing, one is moved to respond. New believers respond to that which has been given to them by doing things which are pleasing to God. We know to live for Him who died for us.
Some new believers are diligent and some are not. Those who fall by the wayside do so because they lose sight of that which Christ has done. Peter wants what God wants. Peter wants us to remember always that which Christ has done. The apostle wants us to build upon the knowledge that Jesus has made us free from sin.
Building knowledge requires diligence. In a classroom setting, one cannot learn if one does not listen to the teacher. One must push distractions aside. Jesus went to be with the Father so that the Comforter would come and teach us all things (Jn. 14:26). The diligent hear and come to know Jesus more fully.
Temperance is built upon knowledge because it requires appropriate response to the freedom which Christ has purchased. Temperance is action tempered by knowledge of His righteousness. Partaking of the divine nature involves acting upon knowledge.
Patience involves waiting for opportunity. It is temperance in action. Patience produces the right action at the right time.
To patience we are to add godliness. Godliness simply means to do things God’s way. Virtue, knowledge, temperance and patience all combine to manifest God.
To godliness we are to add brotherly kindness. Peter lists qualities in sequential order. Brotherly kindness can be evident in the homes of pagans. Brotherly kindness speaks to them who lack knowledge of God.
And to brotherly love we are to add charity. Charity is a selfless love. It is a love that goes beyond brotherly love. Selfless love is the ultimate expression of Jesus Christ. It is the fullest portrayal of the divine nature to which we are called.
If these things abound in us, we shall be fruitful. His purposes will be realized through us.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God has called us to deliver that message. In so doing, we are to make our calling and election certain. Let us do as He has said. Let us never forget that which He has done.