By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli
Being a Christian is more than going to heaven when you die. It also includes continually living for God in the here and now. It includes growing toward spiritual maturity. Peter has assured us that God has provided everything needed for our spiritual well being. He now expounds and expands on the subject.
First, he exhorts us in the proper manner of spiritual growth (1:5-7). Adding it to our“faith” is the key. In attitude we are to be “giving all diligence.” The Greek word used here is spoude. This carries the idea of earnestness or zeal—even urgency.
There are seven Christian graces we should earnestly strive to add to our saving faith.
1. Virtue (Greek – arete). This is moral excellence or moral strength. It is a kind of strength characterized by men like Joseph and Daniel.
2. Knowledge (Greek – gnosis). This is an experiential knowledge, a knowing of the things concerning God. It includes knowing God in a personal way.
3. Temperance or self-control(Greek – egkrateia). This literally means to hold oneself in by disciplining and mastering our desires for the cause of Christ.
4. Patience (Greek – hypomene). This is endurance or perseverance. It literally means “bearing up under” whatever kinds of circumstances may test us whether it is physical difficulties, persecution, disappointment, or temptation.
5. Godlíness (Greek – eusebeia). The Greek word here is sometimes translated “piety.” This is God-consciousness, living one’s life as worship of God.
6. Brotherly kindness (Greek – phíladelphia). This is a strong word meaning brotherly affection or intense personal feeling for those one is close to. In other words, it is talking about being close to your family. Well, the Christian church isyour family.
7. Love (Greek – agape). This is a broader idea than the love of brotherly kindness. It suggests a commitment to sacrifice ourselves for the welfare of others.
Second, Paul discusses the intricacies of spiritual growth I (1:8-11). Peter tells us some things that can happen if we do and if we don’t develop such Christian graces as these.
Verse 9 tells us two things threaten us if we don’t grow spiritually:
1. Blindness. This specifically refers to shortsightedness. This is the condition of one who cannot discern spiritual things.
2. Neglecting to be cleansed from our sins. When one neglects to clean oneself of sins there is the danger of returning to them. A spiritually immature person can be turned aside from God.
Verses 8, 10, and 11 reveals the rewards of spiritual growth:
1. Usefulness and fruitfulness (8)
2. A sureness that prevents stumbling (10)
3. An abundant entrance into Christ’s kingdom (11). This is not just any old entrance. It is a richentrance, a lavish provision. The word used here is the same word used in verse 5 for “add in.” If we without reservation pursue development of the spiritual graces made available to us, God will without reservation bless us in our final entrance into the everlasting kingdom of His Son.