2 Peter 1:1–11 (NKJV)
As we begin to explore the second letter of Peter, we remember the great emphasis on having one’s mind girded up, and being of the same mind as Christ and of a unified mind with one another. The great message of healing and a living hope is also hallmark to First Peter. As we move into Second Peter, however, it is noticeable that some of the same themes continue, with perhaps a slightly different focus. Prophetically, Peter calls upon the church to be ready for the coming of the Lord. He is sounding the call to make one’s calling and election sure, and to be productive and watchful as the coming of the Lord approaches life a thief in the night. This book sounds the alarm on the end of time and the reckoning which comes with that event.
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.2 Peter 1:1-4
Peter offers some of the standard greeting found in all the letters to the church recorded in the New Testament, offering grace and peace. However, he also names the recipients as those who have received a great gift of grace, and calls them to a life that reflects the grace of God brought to them by the calling of God. He sounds forth the command to live as one who has escaped the corruption of this world. He warns them not to lust or hold onto the temporary at the expense of losing the great and precious promises of an eternal future with God.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.2 Peter 1:5-11
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this latter section of the opening, Peter begins to explain in more detail what the rapture-ready life should look like. He calls the believer to a life of diligence in which he or she builds up a litany of attitudes and virtues. The believer is to exhibit faith, then virtue, leading to knowledge that aids in self-control. The believer must live a life of perseverance, a life of godliness, brotherly kindness, and Christian love. These are the attributes of the follower of Jesus. Faith is required to be saved. Faith in God leads to virtue, or righteous action. Knowledge is the result of the study of the word of God and teaching. Knowledge of the word leads to self-control, temperance, the ability to say no to temptation. Knowing the truth and living a self-controlled life leads to perseverance, the will to continue in spite of circumstances. As one perseveres in the life of Christ, godliness is produced and kindness is exhibited. This life also produces love that is centered in the agape of God. Peter describes the Christian who exhibits these attributes as someone who is fruitful and well-versed in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The one who does not is considered short-sighted, blind, and forgetful of the blessing of forgiveness and salvation.
With this dichotomy in sight, Peter urges the believer to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble….”If a Christian is diligent, committed to a life of holiness that reflects the attributes of Christ, the their entrance into the presence of God and the wonderful heavenly reward that awaits is practically guaranteed! Give God your all, and never stop. This type of earthly life lived with Christ will lead to an eternal life lived with Him in the beyond. The miracle of salvation is described as election, but this passage makes election more dependent on finishing the race well than on grace once received, but abandoned. Finish what God started in you, and do not waver. This is God’s will and His promise.