Tuesday, 7 January 2020
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 2 Peter 1:5
The context of what Peter will now say must be considered. He will give a list of reasons for why a believer should grow in maturity, taking one step to the next, as he pursues the higher calling found in Jesus Christ. He will do this in order for the reader to avoid the embarrassing pitfall found in verse 9. However, the context of these verses is found in what he has just said.
He has spoken of the knowledge of God being the sphere in which we have “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Further, this was based on the “knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” It is these, then, by which believers have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises,” and Peter says, “that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Peter’s words of verses 1:2-1:4, as referred to, are the logical reason why he will now exhort his reader to take certain actions. Everything Peter has said is complete for the believer, as is evidenced by the use of perfect tense and aorist verbs. These things are past, and they are assured – “He has given,” “you may be partakers (aorist verb in the subjunctive mood),” “having escaped” – because of the work of Christ.
In Peter’s words is a reflection of what Paul says in Romans –
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:30
The things are accomplished in God’s mind, and are, therefore, done and behind in the believer, even if they have not yet been realized in the stream of time. With this understanding, Peter now says, “But for this very reason.”
It is for the reason that believers will obtain these things that we are not to squander our time in useless pursuits now. Rather, because these things are assured, a wise person will take advantage of this knowledge and use it for God’s glory and for his own personal attainment of a life which is holy before God. In order for this to be realized, he says, “giving all diligence.”
The Greek word signifies “quickly obeying.” One should quickly and with diligence give his very best effort to do those things which Peter will now lay out before us. There may be a path one could take which is good, but no matter how good it is, the one that Peter will lay out is the better. Therefore, the wise person will choose this better over whatever is merely good.
Peter next begins the movement of thought which will allow this to come about. He says, “add to your faith virtue.” This takes the reader back to his opening verse. There he said, “To those who have obtained like precious faith.” Since then, he brought in the things referred to in the intervening verses. But now, he returns to this principle tenet once again. However, the word “add” is not appropriate. There is not an additive force to the words, but rather an increase by growth. Each subsequent grace perfects the previous one. The word “supply” is appropriate. One should supply virtue to the faith he possesses.
Peter turns back to verse 3 here. Just as God “called us by His glory and virtue,” believers are to also exhibit virtue as well during their walk in faith. This walk, then, will be a walk which is fully supplied with virtue. In such a walk, Peter then says, “to virtue knowledge.”
Again, the knowledge is not additive, but supplied so that all of these will be become one continues action. One can display virtue in faith, but he may be lacking in knowledge while doing so. In such a case, his virtue may be misdirected. One could think of a zealot who runs ahead in the wrong direction. His goodness in sharing his faith is notable, but it is not explained properly. In other words, sound doctrine is lacking. Therefore, in order to perfect his virtuous walk of faith, he supplies knowledge. He reads his Bible, obtains proper training in theology, and is thus increased in proper conduct before the Lord.
Peter will continue with this list of qualities which are to be supplied, one to another, until they abound in the believer. He will then show what the results of being negligent in this will be.
Life application: Believers need an orderly development of their faith and practice so that they might become fruitful as believers in Jesus Christ. Faith is merely the beginning of our walk with the Lord. As the author of Hebrews says –
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
We can’t please God without faith. But equally as important is the fact that misdirected faith is wasted faith. Yes, Muslims and Buddhists, etc. have faith, but their faith is misdirected. What the Bible makes clear is that faith in Jesus Christ alone is what pleases God. From this launching point, virtue is to be supplied.
We are to strive for holy excellence with moral power as we progress in our faith. Next, knowledge is to be supplied. The Greek word signifies awareness or intelligent insight. In obtaining knowledge, we can then see biblical truths properly; the lens will come into focus for our doctrine and our lives.
Heavenly Father, though our faith be as small as a mustard seed, we ask that You increase it. And, O God, help us to exercise it in a way which is proper and honoring to You. May we increase this faith with virtue, and from there may our virtuous faith lead to a proper knowledge and understanding of Your word and Your great character. Amen.