How to have a Fall Proof Life

2 Peter 1:5-11

Here Peter gives us some instruction on how to be a victorious and fruitful Christian.

A Command to Add

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith... (2 Peter 1:5) The phrase giving all diligence comes from "Pareispherō spoudē" and means "to bear along side of and bring into." The word diligence conveys the idea of "intense effort coupled with haste, speed, eagerness, earnestness." We are to make every effort to do what God requires. What has He required? That we eagerly and earnestly bring along side and into our lives the seven virtues that follow.

We are to add Virtue

Peter says, add to your faith virtue... (2 Peter 1:5). Virtue speaks of "moral excellence." The Bible says of Stephen, For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. (Acts 11:24) The word actually carries the idea of having moral strength and moral courage. Joseph is a good example. When he was propositioned by Potiphar's wife the Bible says, "he refused... " (Genesis 39:8) Without hesitation Joseph said "no" to his temptress. Joseph had the good character to make the right decision and said no to sin. Joseph stayed pure because he made a choice to stay pure.

We are to add Knowledge

... and to virtue knowledge; (2 Peter 1:5) Renn says that knowledge is the, "understanding and appreciation of the spiritual truths of the Christian faith." We are to appreciate the word of God and study it, thereby acquiring practical knowledge that enables us to see situations from God's perspective and respond accordingly. Without such knowledge faith goes nowhere. We must learn God's word in order to be able to apply His principles to our life. God has promised to guide us. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8) That guidance come from the word of God. Jesus said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures... (Matthew 22:29) The Apostle Paul said under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) It is through the Word of God that the believer is taught and corrected. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (John 15:3) The only way to be fruitful in our Christian walk is to live a life based upon God's Word.

We are to add Temperance

And to knowledge temperance... (2 Peter 1:6) The word temperance speaks of "self-control." It carries the idea of being controlled and restrained. It means that our desires are under the control of the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18 The idea here is control. When He fills us He controls us. We will never overcome fleshly desires without Him. We must yield ourselves to the Spirit instead of the flesh. He then takes over and controls us.

We are to add Patience

... and to temperance patience... (2 Peter 1:6) Here is a tough one! The word patience comes from two words meaning under and to remain. It carries the idea of perseverance, endurance, fortitude, persistence regardless of the circumstances. Patience is akin to longsuffering which is listed among the fruit of the Spirit. James said, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

We are to add Godliness

... and to patience godliness; (2 Peter 1:6) Godliness is a general term that speaks of holy living. It means to be God-like. The idea is that of reflecting the traits of our heavenly Father. In his first letter Peter said, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16) God takes our holiness seriously. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1) We are to perfect holiness in our lives. The word perfecting speaks of "finishing," "completing," or "fulfilling." It carries the idea of bringing something to its ultimate conclusion. God's people are to be an holy people. Later in this letter Peter says, Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. (2 Peter 3:11) God still demands holiness and therefore holiness must be a priority in the life of every believer. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 Godliness means that we live our life the way Christ lived when He was on earth.

We are to add Kindness

And to godliness brotherly kindness... (2 Peter 1:7) The word kindness come from the word "philadelphia" and speaks of brotherly love and affection. It is the a special love that exists between brothers and sisters within a loving family. This is the kind of affection we are to have for one another. It is a family love. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 It is the kind of love that Peter called the ... unfeigned love of the brethren and commanded us to see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1 Peter 1:22

We are to add Charity

... and to brotherly kindness charity. (2 Peter 1:7) The word charity comes from "agape." It is Calvary love. This a self-sacrificing love—a love that gives itself for the person loved. It is the kind of love that demands something of us. The supreme measure and example of agape love is God's love for sinners. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) The greatest demonstration of love this world has ever known is the cross of Calvary. The evidence of His unwavering love is the sacrifice of His Son for the sin of a lost world. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) This is the kind of love that knows no boundaries. It is sacrificial to the end. It is not seeking, it is giving. It is a love that is never selfish, self-serving, and self-seeking.

A Crisis to Avoid

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:8-9) Peter speaks of two tragic conditions that we must avoid.

We must avoid Barrenness

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:8) We must avoid the crisis of being barren and unfruitful. Fruit is the purpose of our existence. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit... (John 15:16) In John 15 Jesus deals with the subject of fruit bearing. He speaks of fruit, more fruit, much fruit, and fruit that remains! The duty of the Christian is to bear fruit. Peter speaks, unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The idea is that if we apply the previous seven virtues to the foundation of our faith, we will know the Lord better. The better we know the Lord, the greater our relationship with Him and therefore, the greater our fruit bearing. So then, we want to avoid the crisis of being barren and unfruitful.

We must avoid Blindness

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 2 Peter 1:9 There are dire consequences to those who lack these things. A person who does not have the seven spiritual virtues listed in verses 5-7 is spiritually blind. The phrase cannot see afar off is an interesting one. It comes from "myōpazō." It is the word from which myopia is derived. Myopia is a medical term that speaks of being near-sighted. In the context this term means to be extremely limited in spiritual understanding and discernment. Those who fail to add to their faith are like near-sighted people who can see only that which is right in front of them. Spiritually near-sighted people see only the temporal. Because they fail to add to their faith they do not have the ability to discern spiritual things.

Solomon spoke of discernment as the ability ... to perceive the words of understanding; Proverbs 1:2 The word perceive means "to know, to separate or distinguish." It is the ability to separate the facts from the false. Someone has referred to it as sanctified common sense. This is the ability to grasp or to get a hold on truth. Some folks are never able to get a hold on truth. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 The natural man, that is the unsaved man cannot get a good grasp on spiritual truth because it is spiritually discerned and he does not have the Spirit of God. He can understand the natural, but he cannot understand the supernatural. However, the big problem we are facing today is that so many professing Christians seem to have no grasp on truth. They are spiritually near-sighted because they have not added to their faith.

A Call to Affirm

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure... 2 Peter 1:10This is the second time Peter calls his readers to diligence. He is calling on us to make every effort to live for Christ. We are to move beyond profession to proof. It is easy to talk about being saved, but here we are called upon to live our Christianity. We are to give evidence of our salvation by holy and consecrated living.

A Conquest to Achieve

Peter says, ... for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:10 Here is the secret to the victorious Christian life. if ye do these things! If we are going to be victorious we are going to have to DO some things. Don't misunderstand me here! I know that salvation is entirely by grace. It is the free gift from God and our works can in no way add to it. However, salvation is more than being saved. Much of our Christian life is based upon doing. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12 The phrase work out conveys the idea of working something through to its ultimate conclusion. The phrase was used in Paul's day of digging silver out of the mines. The silver was already in the mine, God put it there, they simply had to work it out. As believer's we are to work out what God has already worked in. Like a miner digs the precious metals out of the ground that God has put there for him, believers are to dig out of their salvation the precious nuggets of His grace. Just as there are no cheap shortcuts to mining, the Christian life will involve some work—that is some doing! Jesus said, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17

A Crown to Attain

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:11 The Christian who overcomes and lives victoriously here will be welcomed into Heaven in a wonderful way. It will be worth it to hear Jesus say, ... Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21

Why the Preacher Repeats Himself

2 Peter 1:12-15

One of the ways we learn is by repetition. The more we hear something, the better the chances are that we will retain it. Peter is seen here as a loving shepherd constantly reminding his flock of the great truths of the faith. The fact that Peter would soon pass from this life intensifies the seriousness of his warnings.

His Assigned Duty

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. (2 Peter 1:12) Peter had a keen awareness of his duty as a preacher. He did not want to be negligent with his duty to proclaim the truth. His desire was to be a faithful servant of the Lord and that involved reminding his flock of things that they had heard before and were even established in. The word established means "to be fixed, set or strengthened." The idea is that of setting someone up and strengthening them in the truth. Our Lord had charged Peter to ... strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32) Many of the people to whom Peter wrote were mature believers, but they needed to be reminded of the great truths of Scripture. Even when believers are established in the truth it is easy to become cold in their zeal for the Lord. Such was the case with the Church of Ephesus. One of the saddest things on earth is when folks forsake the great doctrines of the faith that they were once established in, to go off after some foolishness that brings dishonor upon Christ. Paul had to deal with the Galatian believers about this very thing. Those once established in grace, they had gone back into legalism. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? (Galatians 3:1) The word bewitched means "to cast a spell over." It carries the idea of being mesmerized or fascinated with something. We are living in a day when even God's people are mesmerized with Personalities, Programs, and Performances rather than Principle. We need to get back to the Bible.

Peter made no apology for repeating himself. Peter was simply doing what God had called him to do. In fact, he would consider himself to be negligent if he didn't remind them of these things. The word negligent means "to be careless or to make light of something." Peter had been negligent in his duty when he failed to stand with Christ at His trial and crucifixion. Peter was determined to never again be guilty of such a thing. Brethren don't despise the preaching of God's word. Even if you are well established in the truth that is being preached, thank God for it. Just praise the Lord that truth is being preached.

His Affirmed Doctrine

Peter speaks of present truth. (2 Peter 1:12) The purpose of this book is to stir God's people concerning these things and warn of those who would deny, dispute, degrade and destroy truth. Peter knew the importance of building the believers up in doctrine. Doctrine is important to victory of the believer, as well as, to the life of the Church. The word doctrine simply means teaching and in the New Testament it refers to the body of teaching that Jesus and the Apostles handed down to Christians. Christ said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures... (Matthew 22:29) A Christian who has a firm grasp on truth will not be tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine. The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Christians must be built upon the eternal Word of God.

His Approaching Death

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. (2 Peter 1:14) Peter had a firm grip on the truth that preachers die but the word of God lives on. We are not here to build monuments to ourselves. This is about Christ. He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30) Peter had no time to waste. He preached the truth and exalted Christ while there was opportunity. He said, shortly I must put off this my tabernacle. Peter uses the word tabernacle in reference to his body. That of a tent. A tent is a temporary dwelling place. When it is time to move on you just pull up the stakes, fold the tent and go. Peter knew that his death was imminent. Jesus told Peter years earlier about his coming death.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (John 21:18-19)

Knowing that a martyrs' death was coming did not deter Peter. In fact, it motivated him to speak out all the more. Peter knew that the day was coming when his tongue would be silenced. He would move on to glory, but he would also leave his opportunity to speak up for the Saviour and teach the word of God.

In his first letter Peter reminded us that we are strangers (1 Peter 1:1) in this world. This word strangers speaks of one who is a "pilgrim, sojourner, or foreigner." It is a very descriptive term of what we are. We are foreigners to this world. This world is not our home we are mere strangers to here. The songwriter wrote:

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through.

My treasures are laid up, Somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me, From Heaven's open door,

And I can't be at home, In this world anymore.

Most believers are no longer living as a stranger to this world, they are living as settlers. We need to get back to a pilgrim status. By way of the new birth we are creatures of another world. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:14) Let us remember that this is about Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:4) The great Puritan Preacher, Richard Baxter said, "I preach as never sure to preach again... as a dying man to dying men." Peter writes as a dying man to dying men. He knew that his voice would soon be silenced and his tongue would lie silent in the grave. He spoke up while he could.

His Abiding Disciples

Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (2 Peter 1:15) The word endeavour means "to be diligent, strive and make every effort." It carries the idea of striving earnestly to get something done. Peter was going to continue to diligently remind them of the great doctrines of the word. Even to the point that long after his death they would remember and stand on the truth of God's word.

Peter says, that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. The grave may silence our tongue but it doesn't have to end our influence. The day is coming when we will no longer be able to witness for Christ. We will no longer be able to instruct and direct our kids. We won't be able to encourage the hurting. All opportunity for earthly ministry will be over. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)