2 Peter 1:5-11
In the opening verses of the letter we were reminded of all that we have through our knowledge of Christ – “everything we need for life and godliness” – and it is on the basis of that abundant provision that Peter goes on in these verses to call us to grow. For only a growing Christian will be safe from being “carried away by the error of lawless men” (3:17).
“make every effort” – notice that though Christian growth depends on the complete provision of the Lord Jesus, it also demands strenuous effort on our part
“faith … love” – whilst it perhaps makes good sense to see faith as the starting point and love as the end point, I don’t think there is an obvious sequence to these seven qualities. Crucially, in stark contrast to the false teachers in ch.2, faith must bear fruit in a Christian character. Chris Green writes in the BST that Peter is –
“drawing a rounded description of a Christian character. None of the Christian virtues is logically dependent on its place in the chain to exist, so we cannot say, “you must not expect me to persevere, because I have not yet achieved self-control”. Instead, Peter would say that a Christian without perseverance is missing a vital ingredient”.
“knowledge” – here does mean information (it is a different word than in vv.2,3,8
“increasing measure” – none of us can claim to have arrived spiritually, but a mark spiritual maturity and health is that in each of these areas we are growing. Michael Green comments “lack of spiritual growth is a sign of spiritual death”.
“unproductive” – like the wheat choked by weeds that produces no fruit
The sobering alternative.
“short-sighted” – perhaps, given the context of the letter, suggestive of not having a clear view of what lies ahead in the future. So their blindness is evidenced in their forgetfulness of the cross and of Christ’s return. A clear-sighted view of that past and future will lead to a proper effort to grow in godliness.
“make your calling and election sure” – they are not in themselves uncertain things, but our assurance of the genuineness of our faith is dependent on Christian growth.
“fall” – cf. 3:17, “fall from your secure position”
“a rich welcome” – as well as assurance in the present, a productive Christian life will result in a glorious future.