2 Peter 1:1-8 (New King James Version) says this,
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.
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.”
The Apostle Peter in this passage outlines a fruitful growth in the Christian Faith.
He is addressing this letter to all those who are in Christ Jesus and who possess a common faith in Jesus Christ as God and Savior. (2 Peter 1:1) God has given to us everything that we need in regard to life and godliness through His Son Jesus Christ. Peter then tells us in 2 Peter 1:5-7 to add to our faith in Christ a series of character traits.
The two traits that he speaks of in 2 Peter 1:5 are virtue and knowledge. Virtue refers to the vigor and courage in seeking after moral excellence and uprightness (Philippians 4:8). Notice that at the beginning of 2 Peter 1:5 that in pursuit of these traits we do so with all diligence. This pursuit is not a half-hearted one, but one in which we strive with all the help that God gives us to develop these traits. Peter is urging us to be zealous in seeking after virtue and goodness. He already explained in the passage that all we need to believe and how we need to live comes through the understanding of who Christ is and who we are in relationship to Him. God calls us to virtue as our ultimate aim in being transformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Since this is God’s foremost goal for us, we must make virtue our present pursuit with all our heart, mind, and strength.
We are also to add to our virtue the trait of knowledge. Peter has already spoken of God’s grace and peace being multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2). This knowledge is a genuine and living trust in God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. A deep knowledge of God and the Scriptures means that we must do more than accumulate and absorb information as we read Scripture and think about our life in Christ. Our knowledge of Christ certainly includes loving Him with our mind but it also means that we cultivate and grow in our obedience to God’s law and trust in His promises.
Pastor Cedric R. Benner