Edited By: Leslyn Kim
2 Peter 1
New International Version (NIV)
1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 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. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, the title of this blog post is borrowed from the famous author Steven Covey who wrote“The seven habits of highly effective people.” As I read this passage in Peter recently, it may me think of that book, and I thought… :Hmmmm, if I count up the number of qualities mentioned, I wonder if there are seven of them?” Walah! Indeed, there were seven of them. Was it a sign? I doubt it, but it does make for an interesting spin-off of Steven Covey’s book. Ha!
However, the list of seven qualities does beg the question – What are so distinct about these seven qualities, in particular that caused Peter to see them as a means to a productive, efficient, and stable life as we pursue Christ? It took reading the above passage many times over in order to understand what Peter may have been getting at. From what I can gather, the gist is that by living out the seven habits (verses 5-7), we can avoid the corruption of the world caused by evil desires. By doing so, we keep our calling and first love, Christ, front-and-center. Reminding us constantly that we are no longer a slave to sin (verse 9), but have divine power which gives us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (verse 3).
1. Goodness (Greek word aretē):
Meaning: Sound morals (i.e. – purity, modesty)
Our faith in Christ should result in a life pursuit of righteousness. As we follow God’s commands and precepts we are blessed beyond our own understanding. This makes me think of Psalm 1. That a man/woman is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it’s fruit in season.
2. Knowledge (Greek word gnōsis):
Meaning: Godly, Christian wisdom
As we attempt to follow after God’s will and His commandments, it’s inevitable that we get wisdom that only comes from God. Think of Solomon and the wisdom that he had before he stopped following after the ways of God.
3. Self-Control (Greek word egkrateia):
Meaning: Control over desires
Godly wisdom keeps us from harm. As Proverbs tells us, get her (wisdom), and she won’t let you down. Proverbs 4: 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
4. Perseverance (Greek word hypomonē):
Meaning: Patience and endurance even in suffering
Perseverance through suffering and trials produces character.
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
5. Godliness (Greek word eusebeia):
Meaning: Respect towards God, reverence for Him, or holiness
I see all habits above contributing to our calling to be more like Christ.
1 Peter: 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
6. Mutual Affection (Greek word philadelphia):
Meaning: brotherly kindnessThat natural tendency as we become more like Christ is to grow in our love for one another. It’s also the means by which we show the world the power of God through us.
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
7. Love (Greek word agape):
Meaning: affection and good will toward all men
It’s interesting that Peter ends rightly with the greatest commandment of all.
1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love”.
It’s interesting to think about these qualities as it relates to our level of effectiveness as Christians. What may be even more profound is the fact that our character and habits in how we choose to live have direct impact on our daily walk and how we avoid the daily corruption and temptations of the world.