Power to Live By

2 Peter 1:1-10

Religions in general are based on man-made rules and laws that are placed on the followers of that religion or leader.

Religion itself may have a strong structure and may provide great religious doctrines and theories to the followers, but not the power to make this religious vehicle move – just like a state-of-the-art car that has no fuel to power it. It may look great, but it won’t go anywhere.

A “good” religion with followers who have no divine power resembles a parking lot with hundreds of cars with empty gas tanks.

Apostle Peter, writing to the true believers in Jesus, reminds us that we are not the followers of a man-made religion or leader, but rather “after believing in Jesus and making Him Lord” members of the family of the Living God.

Because it is by God’s abundant mercy that we have been born into a new life, He wants our hearts to be filled with His power and peace – not in small doses, but in abundance!

How can these blessings be in abundance? “It is through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2) The better we know God, the more power and peace we will experience.

The rest of this chapter is of great interest and encouragement to every Christian believer because it tells how we can keep from falling in this life and how we can be assured of a triumphal entry into the next.

First, we are assured that God has made full provision for everything we need in life. This provision is the evidence of His power: Just as His power saves us in the first place, so it energizes us to live godly lives from then on.

Included in the power for living He has given us are His promises that are found in the Bible. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that there are at least 30,000 promises in the Bible. No wonder Peter says the promises of God are precious and great!

These promises enable the believer to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (vs. 4).

Now, because God has given us all that we need to live godly lives we must make every effort to grow spiritually by:

Adding to Our Faith Goodness –

The King James Version says “virtue”, which may mean piety, goodness of life, or moral excellence.

To Goodness, Knowledge –

The knowledge of spiritual truth is especially important and comes by studying the Word of God and obeying its precepts. By reading and studying the Bible, we develop practical skills in the details of the Christian life.

To Knowledge, Self-control –

God calls every Christian to a life of discipline. There must be discipline in prayer, discipline in Bible Study, discipline in the use of time, discipline in controlling bodily appetites.

Apostle Paul exercised such “self-control”. In 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 we read: “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

To Self-control, Perseverance –

Perseverance is patient endurance. We need to remember that the Christian life is a challenge to endure. It is not enough to simply start our Christian walk; we must also persevere in spite of difficulties.

To Perseverance, Godliness –

Next is godliness; our lives should reflect God in us. There should be such a supernatural quality in our conduct that others will know we are children of the heavenly Father.

To Godliness, Brotherly Kindness –

Brotherly kindness identifies us to the world as Christ’s followers (disciples). In John 13:35 we read: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

To Brotherly Kindness, Love –

This love is not primarily a matter of the emotions but of the will. It is not a reference to a sentimental and emotional joy toward someone, but rather a commandment to obey.

In the New Testament sense, love is supernatural. An unbeliever cannot love as the Bible commands because he or she does not have divine life. It takes divine life to love one’s enemies and to pray for them.

These seven graces must be part of the Christian character. There is either going forward or going backward in the pathway of Christian walk and life. There is no standing still. There is strength and security in moving forward; but there is danger and failure in retreating.

Adam Clarke, in his Bible commentary, remarks about verse 10 this way: “For your calling to believe the Gospel, and your election to be members of the Church of Christ, will be ultimately unprofitable to you unless you hold fast what you have received by adding to your faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and love.”

Apostle Peter closes this portion of his letter by reassuring the believers that: “If you do these things you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Joseph Hovsepian