“…and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:7-8 (NIV)
One of the best kept secrets of the Christian faith is how to learn more about our Saviour. Here in 2 Peter 1 the apostle is encouraging his readers to build on their faith a number of things including, goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. That is a tall order and obviously requires significant effort.
However, the prize to be won by paying attention to these things is “your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. So if you wish to really know Jesus you must do more, not less, than read your Bible, listen to sermons, talk to other Christians—and the other excellent things we mentioned in yesterday’s devotional. So, proper Christian behaviour leads to knowing Jesus better.
At first glance this looks like a formidable task. However, some of these things the Lord is working into our hearts and lives to help us grow in grace and the knowledge of Himself. As Paul said in Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act
in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
For example it says in Romans 5:5 (NIV)
“And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
So we find ourselves becoming more loving toward the Lord and one another through the great love God implants into our hearts.
Love for God and one another then is both natural (we are made into loving people by the new birth) and nurtured (we deliberately behave more lovingly toward each other). As it says in 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
As we grow in the areas Peter describes in this passage (2 Peter 1:5-11) we become more confident Christians. In 2 Peter 1:10-11 the promise is that we will not stumble in this life and we shall receive a great welcome into the eternal presence of the Lord.