A friend of mine was talking about reading through 1st Peter and how that book really shook him up. So I decided to read through it as well, and I just kept on going to 2nd Peter. It’s in 2nd Peter that I found some things that really hit me. In particular, I want to talk about 2nd Peter 1:5-9.
In verses 3-4, Peter talks about what God has done for us. He talks about how God has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How did He do this? Through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence. By His own power and for His own glory did He call us, so that we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. That’s pretty powerful stuff. So, in light of that, this is what Peter tells us to do.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (v.5-9)
Now the word “supplement” does not mean that you add something to your salvation, nor is this list in a strict chronological order necessarily. In terms of basic structure, what is being said is this:
Because of ____
If you aren’t increasing in that, you are blind.
That’s a very straightforward and practical way to look at things. Another important thing to notice is that this is a passage directed toward believers. It is fairly easy to look at that list and say, “ok, well, if someone doesn’t show those things, then clearly they aren’t saved.” but that’s not what the passage says. It doesn’t say they aren’t saved, it says that they are blind. They have forgotten that they were cleansed by Christ of their former sins. Besides, all that stuff in verses 3 and 4 are the reason we are to be striving for this stuff in the first place.
Here’s a wake up call for you; if you are not increasing in those things, you are blind. Is there a particular sin(s) you are struggling with? You probably are starting to go blind. Because this applies in a couple ways, one is that if you aren’t increasing in the qualities that are listed, then you are going blind. However, after it states that the person is blind, it says that they have forgotten that they were cleansed of their former sins. If you are cleansed of your former sins, that means you are no longer a slave to them, so you no longer have to do them or obey them. I know it’s tough to stop certain sins, especially if you have a long history of doing it, believe me, I know how hard it is. But you have to realize that if Christ sets you free, you are free indeed.
However, if you are still continuing in your sin and are not increasing in all those qualities, DANGER! YOU ARE BLIND! I think it is certainly possible to be blind and yet be saved, but I have to wonder what sort of assurance you would have in that state. We are to hope in Christ alone for our salvation, but if we do not see spiritual growth and evidences of God’s grace in our lives, it seems to me that our sin is sapping our assurance.
Another helpful list is found in Galatians 5. Here, Paul lists the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:19-24 (Emphasis added)
Pretty sobering isn’t it. This is why we need to fight against blindness. Again, we do not earn or work for or add anything to our salvation. Christ accomplished the salvation of His people perfectly. Because He did all that, and sent the Spirit to live in us, we are to fight for our assurance. Fight to crucify the desires of the flesh. Fight to follow Christ.
As a fun side note, here’s the song where the title of this blog came from. Old Christian metal band.