This is our week for II Peter. All through the Bible we are given promises. Peter speaks of this.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 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. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:4-9 KJV)
Here is confirmation of the precious promise that we are partakers of the divine nature. Discussions of this promise comprise the New Testament. Here Peter tells us to be diligent in adding to our faith the things that will allow us to show fruit in our labor.
Peter is also writing to those who stood up and openly proclaimed Christ as their savior, then have not escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Instead, have partaken of this world and have stood in need of redemption, forgetting that he was purged from his old sins. He’s not speaking to the lost. He’s speaking of followers who failed to acquire the attributes listed.
Faith – Peter assumes that exists, for it takes faith to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.
Virtue – is the first loss when giving in to worldly things that appeal solely to satisfying our body’s desires.
Knowledge – is a continual process for a Christian. Once learning stops, so does growth.
Temperance – is a hard lesson, required to keep from veering to left or right on the strait way.
Patience – is a great virtue!! Waiting on the Lord is an absolute necessity.
Godliness – by the time we’ve mastered the previous, we’re ready for this really big step.
Brotherly Kindness – did you find it odd that this wasn’t listed sooner? It takes Godliness to get to brotherly kindness.
Charity. Finally! Here we are at the greatest. Paul said it earlier.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV)
This is not the hand out of the rich to the poor, nor the Robin Hood taking from the rich to give to the poor. This charity is the combined accumulation – the sum being greater than all the parts – of the items Peter just listed. All are necessary to reach the goal Christ laid before us.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4-5 KJV)