Back to chapter 5
Read: 2 Peter 1:2-15
The Apostle Peter in
2 Peter 1:5-7
has laid out for us a series of Christian qualities that if
consistently pursued and lived out will guarantee a successful
fulfilled fruitful life in Jesus. The qualities that he lists are
diligence, moral-excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance,
godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
What is Peterís
motivation for writing this passage of Scripture? Peter is getting
ready to die (vv. 12-14) and so he wants to leave his children in
the Lord with something that will guarantee their on-going success
in their Christian walk after he is gone. In these verses he states
that he writes this letter for two reasons: to remind them now of
the importance of these things, and to remind them after he dies.
Peter starts off the
chapter in verses 2-4 explaining to us that God has given to us what
is necessary to live these qualities out. First, he tells us that
God has given to us His divine power. He tells us that He has given
to us this divine power for life and godliness. He then goes on to
tell us what the source of this divine power is: It is through the
true knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. There is only one
source from which we get this true knowledge of God and Jesus:
the Bible Godís Word. Paul tells us in
2 Timothy 3:16-17,
"All Scripture is
given-by-inspiration-of-God and is profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man
of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
And again in
Paul tells us,
"For whatever was
written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that
through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we
might have hope."
Whatever we do that
is motivated out of the knowledge of Godís Word is backed by His
power. The writer of Hebrews states,
"For the word of God is spiritually-alive and
energetically-effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, and
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints
and marrow, and able to judge the conscious-reasonings and
intentions of the heart."
The first primary
source of Godís divine power is the Word of God itself.
Lets talk now about
how this list of qualities Peter has mentioned makes it possible for
us to live a victorious Christian life. First, let us understand
that Peter does not list these Christian virtues randomly. He has
listed them in the exact order of their importance. The way we
successfully live these qualities out is by implementing them in our
lives, step by step, in the exact order that they are given.
The first quality
Peter states is Diligence. Without diligence you cannot have
Moral-Excellence. According to W. E. Vine the word diligence
means, "With earnestness, with all zeal, or sometimes the haste to
accompany this."88/311 The
states that earnestness means "to be serious in intention. .
. it is to be resolute."7/415 Luke states about Jesus
when he headed for the cross that
"He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem." A person who is
resolute is very difficult to sway or turn aside from a purpose.
Peter is telling us that this is the attitude we are to have toward
Jesusí will and plan for our lives if it is to be established and
fulfilled: an attitude of total commitment with all earnestness and
zeal to do Godís will. This is the foundational attitude we must
have if we are to be able to go on successfully developing the
further qualities he mentions.
Once we have developed a resolute
spirit to do Godís will with all diligence, Peter then tells us to
take the next step which is to Supply Moral-Excellence. This
is the first step a new Christian takes after surrendering to Jesus
as Savior and Lord: repenting of any known immorality. In order for
the new Christian to know what God means by moral-excellence he must
start first by reading the Bible. The first step to knowing Godís
will for the new Christian is to read the Bible, because whatever
moral-excellence means this is where it is going to be found.
According to the Apostle Paul this means repenting of covetousness,
drunkenness, swindling, idolatry, reviling, fornication, adultery,
perversion, homosexuality, thievery, hatred, irreconciliation,
gossiping, lack of self control, brutality, hating good, treachery,
recklessness, conceit, loving the world rather than God, rejecting
and suppressing the power of God, unrighteousness, wickedness,
greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, malice, slandering, insolence,
arrogance, boastfulness, inventing evil, disobedience to parents,
lack of mercy, impurity, passion, and evil lust (1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal
5:19-21, 24-26; Rom 1:28-32; 2 Tim 3:1-5).
A new believer at first does not need to be
concerned with understanding how to hear Godís voice in his spirit.
He first needs to concern himself with what God has already revealed
to him about His moral will in His written Word.
moral-excellence Peter tells us next to add Knowledge.
Knowledge here first means the Word of God. But once the Christian
has got his moral life together he then needs to begin seeking Jesus
to reveal to him His personal individual purpose and plan for his
life which comes about through a word of knowledge. The Apostle Paul
"Therefore be careful how you
walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time,
because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand
what the will of the Lord is."
In this passage Paul tells us
that we live in an evil age. For this reason he tells us that we are
not to be foolish but seek God and find out what His will for our
lives are and make wise use of the time and days God has given us on
There are two conditions
required to know Godís will for our lives according to Jesus. They
are, first, an unconditional surrender and commitment to do Godís
will, and, second, an aggressive pursuit of attaining a pure heart.
Jesus said in
"If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching
whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself." God speaking
Jeremiah 29:13 said, "And you
will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your
heart." Jesus said in
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Here again
we see the first two qualities that Peter mentions of Diligence
and Moral-Excellence. Jesus tells us that when we seek Him
with a diligent and pure heart we will find and see Him. We will see
Him in the world and we will see clearly what His will for our lives
are individually in the world.
The way we come to
know Godís will for our lives according to the Apostle Paul is
through the Holy Spirit in union with our human spirit. He tells us
"But just as it is written,
ĎThings which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have
not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those
who love Him.í For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for
the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God."
The way we open ourselves up
to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say about our lives is through
worship and praise with up-lifted hands and through the use of our
spirtual language with interpretation (Ps 100:4, 1 Tim 1:8, Jn
4:23-24, 1 Cor 14:13-15). That means that you need to be Baptized in
the Holy Spirit.
Since this is beyond the issue
of moral repentance it is referring to larger issues like our
vocation and calling in life, where we live, where we worship, our
personal ministries, educational pursuits, life-partner, etcetera.
No where in the Bible did I find, "Dale, I want you to go to Oral
Roberts University and get a degree in theology and write books on
Evangelism, Discipleship, and Counseling interrelating the
Conservative-Evangelical-Charismatic concepts." Or, "I have called
you to motivate my people to preach the Gospel." With the exception
of my completed education, this is Jesusí revealed will and plan for
my life. This kind of knowledge can only come about through a word
of knowledge. Of course there are many principles in the Word of God
concerning discernment to help us determine if what we believe is
Godís voice to us is really Godís voice to us. My Advanced Textbook
titled, Relationship With Jesus The Key To Effective Ministry79
was primarily written to teach these principles of discernment.
When we have come to
know clearly what Godís will in our lives are, Peter tells us that
the next step is to then exercise the amount of Self-Control
necessary to see that will accomplished.
Years ago as a young
Christian I became frustrated in my Christian walk because I was
doing all the good little things Christians are supposed to do like
going to church, daily reading my Bible, and witnessing to everyone
whether they wanted to hear the Gospel or not. But I was failing in
the things God was calling me to do with my life. So I prayed,
"Jesus, what is wrong with my life? Iím not succeeding in your
will." He answered back to me, "Dale, plan out your time during the
week, then Satan will not be able to distract you in it." My problem
was I was living by my feelings. If I felt like doing it I did it.
If I did not or something more exciting came along I became easily
distracted. Many times those distractions were spiritual activities.
But God was telling me that if I was to succeed in His will then I
was going to have to make a decision to take control of the reins of
my life, plan out my time during the week, commit myself to it, and
then determine that I would not allow anything to distract me from
the use of that time whether it felt spiritual or good or not. The
Apostle Paul tells us in
"So then, my beloved, just as
you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much
more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for
His good pleasure."
We live in a feeling
generation. The Younger generation is on the road to destruction
because they are being taught in secular education to base their
lives on their feelings. But to exercise self-control to do Godís
will often requires going against our feelings. Doing Godís will is
not dependent on feelings, but on a freedom of choice to decide to
do Godís will whether it feels good or not. God will not make you do
His will. He will reveal to you what it is, but then it is your
responsibility to take the reins of your life and exercise the
self-control over your time in a week necessary to see Godís will
accomplished. As you take the reins of your life and begin to walk
in that call God has given you, you will find that in time your
feelings will catch up with you and compliment you once again. But
do not base doing Godís will on them.
Chapter 5 of Section 1 in this book explains how to develop a
successful weekly schedule to accomplish Jesusí will and calling in
your life through relationship with Jesus.
Now that you have
taken the reins of your life, planned out your week to accomplish
Godís will in your life, Peter tells us to Persevere in it.
We are to persevere in it because Satan and man are going to do
their best to thwart us from doing Godís will. Peter tells us in
1 Peter 5:8-10,
"Be of sober spirit,
be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a
roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in
your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being
accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you
have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called
you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm,
strengthen and establish you."
If you think Satan is going to
sit back and say, "Gee! It is really great to see you have your life
together and are steadfastly walking in Godís will for your life!",
your deceiving yourself. The more diligently you pursue Godís will
the more vicious Satan is going to attack you and try to thwart you
Satan attacks us through two
primary means: external harassment and through direct demonic
attack. When you begin to walk in Jesusí will for your life, you
will find not only are you attacked by the world, but you will be
surprised when it comes from some of your closest associates. When
Jesus, in obedience to the Father, got ready to go to Jerusalem to
die on the cross, it was one of his apostles, Peter, who tried to
prevent him. Paul in Philippians shares how some Christians preached
the Gospel not because they cared about the souls of men but "out of
selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause
me distress in my imprisonment" (Phil 1:17). Satan will also attack
you in your finances to try and prevent you from succeeding in what
Jesus has called you to do.
All of these represent
external means of attempted discouragement. That is the way Satan
always comes at us at first: through external means. But when all
his external devices fail he then goes to the next stage: direct
Satanic attack. When I did the first draft of my Advanced Textbook
on Evangelism years ago, the Lord came to me in my spirit and said,
"Satan is going to try and destroy the book. You need to get as many
of your friends as possible praying for you." I thought to myself,
"Right Lord! Satan has not been trying to do that for the last two
years?" I had been working on the book that long to that point. But
if God says something like that it must be pretty serious so I
realized I had better heed His advice. I called and wrote everyone I
knew and asked them to pray for me and this project.
About four days after this
warning it started: direct Satanic attack. It happened while I was
working. I was a file clerk at a bank at the time and it started
while I was in the back filing. Wave after wave of attack. Their
affect on me was overwhelming discouragement and despair. But just
at the point that I would be ready to give up I would get this
inward surge of Holy Spirit strength and I was able to continue on.
I realized this surge of strengthís source was the prayers of my
friends. Finally, a year and a half later I finished the first draft
of the Advanced Textbook. Since that time thirty-three years ago, I
have written several other books. I have also had the privilege of
training many brothers and sisters in Evangelism through using this
material and have been blessed in seeing the fruit of my labor.
Paul wrote in
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap
if we do not grow weary." And again in
1 Corinthians 15:58,
"Therefore, my beloved
brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of
Adonai, knowing that your toil is not in vain in Adonai."
And Peter said in our original
"And after you have suffered
for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His
eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen
and establish you."
As we persevere in Godís will
and calling in our lives He promises that we will reap fruit from
our labors and that He Himself will see that we are established in
it. As we focus on obedience to God, and let Him worry about what
the devil is doing, we are guaranteed success for "Greater is He who
is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
As we persevere in
Godís will we begin to understand the meaning of Godliness,
the next quality Peter mentions. To be godly is to be meek. To be
meek simply means to not speak or act except out of Godís initiative
through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said about His call and ministry in
"Truly, truly, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees
the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son
also does in like manner."
Jesus said about Himself,
"He who rejects Me, and does
not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is
what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own
initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me
commandment, what to say, and what to speak. And I know that His
commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak
just as the Father has told Me."87
Jesus tells us in these
passages that he neither spoke nor did anything unless He saw the
Father doing it first. About our own personal lives and calling,
Jesus commands us to do the same. He tells us in
John 20:21 "Peace be
with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." Jesus tells
us in this passage, I did not speak or
act out of my own initiative but only out of the Fatherís initiative
through the Holy Spirit, and I want you to do the same.
As we persevere in
Godís will, concerning the other areas of our lives that concern us,
He tells us to wait for His clear counsel and direction in it.
states, "Wait for Yehovah; be strong, and let your heart take
courage; yes, wait for Yehovah." Jesus promises us in
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."
That simply means He will not be late with the answers we need about
other areas of our lives as we choose to walk in obedience to his
dictates of the present. He promises us in
"He who has My commandments
and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be
loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to
Jesus gives answers to those
who obey Him. Jesus says in
"But continually seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and
all these things shall be added to you." Jesus tells us we are not
to seek the world, but His will and His kingdom. As we do, He
promises to provide all that we need.
KINDNESS AND LOVE
The last qualities
Peter states are brotherly kindness and love. The fruit of the
Spirit the Bible tells us in
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
long-suffering, and self-control. When what we say or do in
ministering to others is out of the initiative of the Holy Spirit it
is received and ministered in love because the fruit of the Spirit
is love. Peter tells us in 1
"Since you have in
obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the
brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."
Loving our brothers from the
heart means only doing toward them what the Holy Spirit is telling
us to do in word, action and deed. But notice in this passage of 1
Peter that Peter tells us true love can only come about through a
purified heart of moral- excellence. Without having developed
diligence, moral-excellence, true knowledge, self-control,
perseverance, and godliness first, one cannot know truly what it
means to love his brother. Truly loving your brother from the heart
means only doing toward him what the Holy Spirit is telling you to
do in word, action, and deed.
Finally, Peter tells us that
increasing or lacking these qualities will produce two kinds of
fruit. First, for the person who lacks these qualities Peter states
that this person is blind and short sighted. He is a person who can
only live for now. He is a person who cannot wait for Godís reward
in the future. And because of his blindness and short-sightedness he
ends up going back into the world and trying to fulfill the desires
of his flesh in his own strength, and thus ends up back in his
former life-style of sin and forgets the purification of his former
sins through the blood of Jesus.
But the person who diligently
pursues and develops these qualities has many promises and rewards.
First, Peter states that he will not be useless nor unfruitful in
the true knowledge of Jesus. Jesus said in
"He who has my commandments
and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and He who loves me will be
loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to
Jesus will only reveal Himself
to the person who submits to the call and discipline He has for that
person. To not submit to Jesusí will and call is to walk in
darkness; to be blind and short-sighted.
Second, the person who submits
to Godís will and call in his life will live fulfilled and content
in who he is and in the certainty of his calling. Third, Peter
states he will enter the kingdom of God. When what you are doing is
out of Godís initiative you are entering into and living in Godís
kingdom. And fourth, Peter states that when we walk in the center of
Godís will we are assured of His abundant provision and supply.
To grow as Jesusí disciple means
to grow in the true meaning of love. But you cannot have love unless
you first have moral-excellence, and you cannot have
moral-excellence without the true knowledge of Jesus. And the true
knowledge of Jesus is useless unless one exercises self- control in
his life in relation to that knowledge. And you cannot perfect
self-control without perseverance. And having all the self-control
and perseverance in the world cannot produce love unless accompanied
If you find yourself lost and
confused about Godís will and direction in your life, pray and ask
Him where in these list of Christian virtues you have gotten off the
track or whether you need to start from scratch all together. As you
obey Him in this direction and persevere in it you will find Godís
peace, Godís call for your life, and true fulfillment in life as
Jesusí disciple. You will become all that Jesus intended for you to
become and you will come home to heaven and hear Jesus say,
"Well done, good and faithful slave; you were
faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things;
enter into the joy of your master." (Matt 25:21).
Bibliography & Notes
Section 4 Chapters