II Peter 1:5-11

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

A GOD-HONORING LIFE

IS POSSIBLE FOR EVERY BELIEVER

INTRODUCTION:

 

It’s exciting to see people saved and begin to live for the Lord. In II Peter 1:1-4 there are a number of truths which have been accomplished for us by the atoning work of Christ on the cross.

 

The Lord has called us.

 

He has implanted a divine nature within us.

 

He has given us His power to enable us to live godly lives.

 

In II Peter 1:5-11 we see that, in view of what God has done for believers to enable them to live godly lives, they ought to make every effort to live lives which will honor God and/or Christ. A life which honors the Lord will first of all be characterized by faith because it is impossible for an unsaved person to live a godly life. It will also be characterized by virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. If these things are found in someone’s life, they guarantee that he will have a productive and fruitful Christian life. By contrast, if these things are not found in his life, it brings his salvation into question. We should make certain these things are found in our lives so that there is no question in our own minds regarding our own individual salvation and so that we can look forward to an abundant entrance into the presence of our precious Lord Jesus.

We see that –

    I.     A GOD-HONORING LIFE IS COMMANDED – 1:5

 

II Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.

 

Once an individual has been saved, he needs to grow. Believers have become partakers of the divine nature and at the same time through Christ have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

And beside this introduces a progression in the Christian life through which each believer should pass. The progression will be made as the believer takes the various steps mentioned in verses 5-7.

 

And is emphatic and is understood in the sense of indeed, in fact, or certainly.

 

Beside this is for this very reason, i.e. because we have become partakers of the divine nature and escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

Giving all diligence describes how a believer is to add the things mentioned in verses 5-7 to his faith.

 

Giving means applying or bringing to bear. It may be understood in the sense of by applying or by giving or as a command in the sense of apply or give.

 

What is to be given is all diligence where all is used in the sense of every and diligence is used in the sense of eagerness, earnestness, or zeal. Believers should thus be making every effort to grow in Christ.

 

There follows a series of things a believer must add in his life, and it must be pointed out that add is a commandment which the believer is responsible to obey. It means to furnish or provide at your own expense.

 

To your faith suggests in your faith.

 

Faith is variously used in the Scripture as saving faith, as trust in the Lord for our daily needs, as our own faith, i.e. as equivalent to our Christian lives, and as the body of belief, i.e. as Christianity. In this verse it seems best to understand it in the sense of one’s Christian life. He is to add virtue to (or in) his Christian life.

 

Believers may be overwhelmed by what God expects, but they must remember that it is God Himself Who will empower us to develop the virtues of a Christ-honoring life.

Next, we see that –

  II.     A GOD-HONORING LIFE IS DESCRIBED – 1:5-7

 

II Peter 1:5-7 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 

We see that the Christian life begins with –

            1.   Faith

 

This faith starts with faith in Christ as personal Savior.

 

Faith is also the channel through which God’s blessings flow into our lives day by day.

 

Although all believers have trusted Christ for their eternal salvation, many don’t put that same trust into practice when they face the problems and frustrations of daily life.

 

To his faith (or in his faith), he is to add –

            2.   Virtue

 

Virtue is moral excellence. When he trusted Christ as his personal Savior, God made a new creation out of him. His moral life must reflect his new position in Christ in his daily practice. Although he lives in a culture which includes a great deal of immorality and no character, the believer’s life is to be characterized by virtue. He is to have an excellent character.

 

Believers must be in perfect conformity to the image of Christ beginning here and now.

 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

I John 3:2-3 – (1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

Virtue is used by Paul in Philippians 4:8 where virtue and praise summarize a list of six Christlike qualities. This list includes things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

Other Christlike qualities represented by virtue are described in Galatians 5:23-24 as the fruit of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

 

Of course, believers will be made completely Christlike when we receive the redemption of our bodies at the rapture, but we should be striving for Christlikeness in our days in this life.

 

You will notice that we are not told where to find this virtue or how we are to add it into our lives. You can’t obtain virtue in any store, and you can’t produce it in yourselves. Only God the Holy Spirit can produce virtue in your life, and He produces it in your life as you seriously study the Word of God and submit your heart and mind to it. He produces the fruit of the Spirit and Christlikeness in exactly the same way.

 

To furnish virtue in his life, it is necessary for a believer to starve his old sin nature while feeding his new spiritual nature on the Word of God, thereby allowing the Holy Spirit to produce this quality of virtue in his life. He could not bring it about on his own. He must take the initiative to do the things which will result in virtue being produced in his life, and he must, with God’s help, resist temptation to the contrary.

 

Now it is not to stop there. To his virtue (or in his virtue) he is to add –

            3.   Knowledge

 

Knowledge means insight, understanding

 

It is specifically Christian knowledge. How better to furnish this Christian knowledge than by a consistent, thorough study of the Word of God. In fact there is no other way.

 

To his knowledge (or in his knowledge), he is to add –

            4.   Temperance

 

Temperance means self-control, especially in matters pertaining to sex. We are to control our desires and appetites rather than to allow them to control us.

 

To his temperance (or in his temperance), he is to add –

            5.   Patience

 

Patience is not a passive longsuffering in this verse; rather, it means steadfastness, endurance, fortitude, perseverance, or staying power.

 

To patience (or in his patience), he is to add –

            6.   Godliness.

 

By godliness Peter means reverence or piety. Because of his relationship to the Lord, the believer is to live a godly, reverential life.

 

To godliness (or in his godliness), he is to add –

            7.   Brotherly kindness

 

Brotherly kindness is brotherly love. It is the term from which we derive the name Philadelphia which we understand as the city of brotherly love.

 

To brotherly kindness (or in his brotherly kindness), he is to add –

            8.   Charity

 

Charity is love, the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of others without expecting anything in return. It is the sort of love God showed when He sent Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

I Corinthians 13:4-74 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 

Thus, Peter has described things that should characterize the Christian life.

 

It could be pictured as an eight-sectioned telescope with the largest section being faith, the next thing coming out of faith being virtue, then knowledge coming out of virtue, and temperance out of knowledge, then patience, then godliness, then brotherly kindness, and the last section being charity.

 

It might instead be thought of as a series of eight concentric circles, i.e. circles with the same center but with different diameters. The outermost circle is faith, next is virtue, then proceeding to the center come knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

 

Although we are responsible for adding these things in our lives, we really cannot do this on our own. So, how do we do it? We must take certain steps in our lives; and, when we do, God will produce these things in our lives. We must be saved, surrendered, studying our Bibles and submitting our hearts and minds to what the Bible teaches, obeying our Bibles, and confessing and forsaking our sins. When we take these steps, God will do the rest; but it’s a lifelong process. It won’t happen overnight, but these things will gradually be produced in our lives over an extended period of time.

Finally, we see that –

 III.     A GOD-HONORING LIFE WILL BE APPROPRIATELY REWARDED – 1:8-11

 

II Peter 1:8-118 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. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

II Peter 1:8 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.

 

A God-honoring life such as that characterized in verses 5-7 will be appropriately rewarded.

 

For may be explanatory and understood in the sense of now; or it may be emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, really, or certainly.

 

If these things be in you refers to the seven qualities from verses 5-7 that the believer is to add to his Christian life. These things is again used in verses 9, 10, 12, and 15. In each case it refers to the seven things, i.e. to virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

 

And abound suggests that these things not only need to be present in a believer’s life, but also that they need to be present in abundance in his life.

 

They make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful is a negative way of saying that, if you have them, you will be productive and fruitful.

 

Barren is used in the sense of useless.

 

Unfruitful is also used in the sense of useless or unproductive.

 

In the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is where the believers who add these qualities to their faith will be useful and fruitful.

 

Knowledge is a strengthened form of the same word used in verse 5 and implies a complete, thorough, or full knowledge.

 

The One whom they will know thoroughly is our Lord Jesus Christ where our makes His Lordship in our lives personal.

 

II Peter 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

 

But suggests a contrast with verse 8. It is the same word translated for at the beginning of verse 8. It may likewise be emphatic in the sense of indeed or in fact.

 

He that lacketh these things is the one with whom these things are not present or the one who does not have these things at his disposal.

 

He is lacking these seven qualities and is described as blind.

 

Also, it is said of him that he cannot see afar off, i.e. he is shortsighted. He needs to enlarge his spiritual horizons.

 

Furthermore, he is described as having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. He is also forgetful of his cleansing or purification from his sins which took place in his past. At best he is terribly backslidden, but one wonders how anyone could ever forget his cleansing from his sins. Is it possible that he was not genuinely saved but merely went through the motions of salvation without ever truly believing?

 

II Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

 

Wherefore introduces an inference drawn from what has preceded and is used in the sense of therefore or for this reason.

 

The rather is used in the sense of instead. It suggests that these individuals who are blind, shortsighted, and forgetful about their cleansing from sin had better not take any chances regarding their salvation. It is questionable whether they have ever been genuinely born again. If there is no evidence of salvation in their lives, it is possible, and perhaps even likely, that they are still unsaved.

 

Brethren reminds us that Peter is writing to fellow-believers.

 

Peter urges them to give diligence to make their calling and election sure.

 

Give diligence is take pains or make every effort. It is the same word translated study in II Timothy 2:15 .

 

II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word truth.

 

The same word is translated labour in Hebrews 4:11 .

 

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

 

Furthermore, the noun form of this same word is translated diligence in Hebrews 6:11 .

 

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.

 

Your calling is not a reference to your invitation to be saved but to God’s actual drawing of you to Himself. It is the effectual call which all believers have received and which no unbelievers have received. By contrast, many who are still unbelievers have been invited to be saved by some faithful Christian witness.

 

Election refers to God’s choice of the believer.

 

To make your calling and election sure is used in the sense of to make your calling and election certain. If someone does not have the earmarks of a believer, he had better make certain he really is a believer before it is everlastingly too late.

 

For introduces a word of explanation.

 

If ye do these things has been translated as indicating a condition. It may instead be used to indicate cause in the sense of because you do these things.

 

These things is referring to virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity in your Christian life.

 

Never is an emphatic negative and suggests an absolute impossibility.

 

Ye shall never fall means you will never stumble or you will never trip, but it is used in a secondary sense of you will never be ruined or you will never be lost. In other words, you will never be lost or suffer in hell. There is no hint in this verse of a salvation based on works. However, when one adds these things in his faith, the fact that he is saved is made abundantly clear both to himself and to those around him. There is no doubt that he is saved because he has all the earmarks of a believer.

 

II Peter 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

For suggests an explanation. It may instead be emphatic in the sense of indeed, in fact, or certainly.

 

So is thus or in this manner.

 

An entrance suggests an access.

 

Shall be ministered unto you is will be given (or will be granted) unto you. It is predicting something which is yet future for believers. They have not yet entered into it.

 

Abundantly is richly.

 

The place where access will be richly given is into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or into heaven. Jesus Christ is described as both Lord and Savior of believers. When abundant evidence of salvation is seen, there is no question regarding the salvation of the individual involved or of his future.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Now that we have been saved, God expects us to live lives that will bring honor to Him.

 

He has commanded us to live God-honoring lives.

 

He has described for us what constitutes God-honoring lives.

 

He will appropriately reward those who live God-honoring lives.

 

Are you living a God-honoring life?