Supplementing Your Faith
Peter mentions “supplementing your faith” in his second letter. This is a response to what he mentions in verses 3 and 4, that God grants his great promises that provide an escape from the corruption of this world. Because of what God has done for his people, they should make every effort to supplement their faith. Let’s take a look at 2 Peter 1:5-7:
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (ESV)
Isn’t it interesting that Peter tells his readers that they are to play a very active part in growing or supplementing their faith? These wonderful qualities are not things that the Lord just simply bestows unto His people, who then passively receive. His people are called to give all diligence to these things, working in partnership with God to add and increase them. In fact, Peter thinks this is so important that he plans to “always” remind about this (vv 12-15). He plans to remind so well that when he is gone, those that have heard this message can recall his very words.
Peter is telling his readers that one’s faith needs the addition of these special qualities in order to be effective and fruitful. In fact, he says that lacking these qualities is akin to being spiritually blind, forgetting the “sin cleansing” one experiences as a Christian. Paul not only lists these qualities, but tells his readers that they should be working to increase the effect these qualities have in their life.
The significance of these qualities for the Christian can easily be seen. Consider the following:
Virtue: How many friends can be had, how many lives can be touched, by a virtuous person who seeks what is good and moral, and chooses to act that way? Seek to grow in good moral character.
Knowledge: What condition would one be in spiritually if the effort was not made to know the truth about God? Think of the promises that would be missed. Always seek to understand God’s will.
Self-control: How many sins would have never become sins if one’s self-control was an active and increasing quality? Grow your capacity to be in self-control. Learn to skillfully master your passions.
Steadfastness: Imagine the lives that can be touched if one consistently lives for Christ. Imagine how the world would be if it adhered to God’s commands. Imagine the influence one has who is a steadfast child of God.
Godliness: Godliness is a personal attitude toward God that results in one’s actions in honoring and pleasing God. Understood as devotion to God, godliness is the natural path one takes seeking to live a godly life, seeking to demonstrate the quality of godliness to a dark world.
Brotherly affection: What would life look like if one sought to outdo another with love and affection? Treating others with kindness, good will, friendliness, and care can dissolve hatred, remove jealousy, calm tensions, and demonstrate the love of God.
Love: It is impossible to consider love without thinking about the love of God, a love that provides salvation to a sinful world. Love brings the prior qualities together. Paul, in 1 Cor 13, says it best as he describes love as not rude, not resentful, not rejoicing in others’ wrongs, not envious, not arrogant, etc. In other words, love is sincere, patient, lasting, caring, and kind even when the situation is unloving.
Review the list again. Grade yourself. Does your life demonstrate these qualities? Is there an obvious omission of a quality or qualities? Is growth in these qualities stale or on the increase? Supplement your faith with:
- brotherly affection