To Be Like God

…and in your perseverance, godliness… (2 Peter 1:6).  “To be like God” is a phrase with which we must be very careful.  There are those in the religious world who believe they can become like God, or gods themselves, in a very literal way.  There is also a usage of the term “God-like” in the secular world that borders on the sacrilegious (perhaps even crossing the border).

When the apostle Peter commands that we add “godliness” to the list of characteristics Christians must add to their faith, he means simply that as children of God, we must become more and more like our heavenly Father.  He is our Pattern for living our lives.  Christ Jesus Himself left us a pattern as to how we should live (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Peter said that we can become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  In order to do that, we are going to have to live by the pattern Jesus set for us.  We are going to have to be godly in our daily lives.

The word of encouragement here is that, because of the command, we know it is possible to live godly lives, with His help.  Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

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And Stick to It

“…and in your self-control, perseverance…” (2 Peter 1:6).  As important as self-control is, without perseverance, without sticking with it, self-control is not very effective.  It is imperative that we “stick to it” when we start down this road of sharing in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

To be what God wants us to be is not easy; it takes work, hard work.  That’s why Peter said to do it “applying all diligence” (2 Peter 1:5).

This is not a difficult concept to understand, however.  We know that to meet any worthwhile goal requires perseverance, whether we mean weight loss, athletic success, or career advancement.

Our word of encouragement is that the consistent teaching of Scripture is that if we persevere, if we “stick to it” in our pursuit of living the faithful, Christian life, God’s grace will fill what is lacking in us and we have hope of eternal life.  So, stick to it; persevere and know that God loves you and so do I!

Donnie Bates

Self-Control

The lack of self-control may be one of the most discouraging things in our lives!  Yes, it’s true, the actions of others can sometimes be very discouraging, but I find that my actions affect me more than those of others.

The apostle Peter said that to our knowledge, we must add self-control (2 Peter 1:6).  Peter is giving us a list of characteristics that must be part of the spiritual growth of the faithful Christian; the alternative is spiritual death, meaning there is no middle ground.

The word translated “self-control” is literally “to exercise complete control over one’s desires and actions.”  It’s place in the apostle’s list indicates that as we learn more about God and His will for us, we must live more and more of our lives according to that will.

It’s called “self” control because it is not switching over to “autopilot” with God in control.  He will not act for you in resisting temptation and transforming your mind.  That is your (and my) responsibility.

Our word of encouragement is that when you do what is right according to God’s will, that self-control will lift you up (see Genesis 4:7). Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Adding Knowledge

The apostle Peter continues his list of “Christian Virtues” we must add to our faith, by saying we should add to our moral excellence (or virtue) “knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5).  “Knowledge” does not seem like a “virtue”; rather, it seems more like something that would (or could) lead to pride.  On the other hand, God felt it belonged on this list.

How is it that knowledge can be a virtue and how can it be an encouragement?  Remember, the precious and magnificent promises, part of that which pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3, 4) include our being able to partake of the divine nature of God.  “Adding knowledge” to this mix means studying and learning about what that divine nature is.  The virtue is knowing what God is like and the encouragement is that He allows us to be like Him.

When Jesus said for the weary and heavy-laden to come to Him, He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Matthew 11:29).  Knowledge is important, not so as to enable us to become arrogant, but to allow us to know more about the One Who cares for us.

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Moral Excellence

The first characteristic the apostle Peter commands that Christians add to their faith is “moral excellence” (2 Peter 1:5).  Other versions use the word “virtue.”  The word literally means “outstanding goodness, virtue.”  It is the same word that describes one of the characteristics of God in which He called us (2 Peter 1:3).

As we noted in an earlier post, “faith” is a foundational characteristic of being a Christian.  One cannot be, or become, a Christian without faith.  We might suppose that there would be some level of goodness present, also.  However, “outstanding goodness” (or “virtue”) is not automatic and must be added “with all diligence.”  It is not always easy.

As we will see as we work our way through this list, and the rest of the passage, remembering where we were without Christ and without hope of salvation will help motivate us to work at adding these characteristics “with all diligence.”  The struggles we still wrestle with are those things that are definitely not “outstandingly good.”  The encouragement comes in the knowledge that God has provided for us a way in which we can overcome those things.

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Reason to Grow

The Christian Virtues make up a reasonably well known list of characteristics every Christian should be working to add to his or her life.  Peter begins this list by saying:  Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge (2 Peter 1:5).

Notice that Peter doesn’t tell Christians they should add faith.  This doesn’t mean that it is not necessary to grow or increase our faith (see 2 Peter 3:18).  It simply means that Peter is writing to Christians, people who already have faith.

Before describing each of these virtues in their turn, we should notice two very important points.  First, everything the apostle says from this point on is based on “this very reason.”  What reason?  Previously, we have discussed Peter’s comments on just what God has done for us.  For that reason, we should add these virtues.

Second, we are to add them “with all diligence.”  This is not just a fun exercise  It’s not something that just happens.  It takes hard work to grow as God wants us to grow, but being pleasing to Him is worth the effort!

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Escaping Corruption

Staying with the same verse of our last post (2 Peter 1:4), I wanted to hi-light a very key phrase in the verse:  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

The last phrase of the verse tells us something very important about our being able to partake of the divine.  Obviously, all one has to do is look around to know that we have not escaped that corruption in a physical way.  No, the escape to which the apostle refers is a spiritual escape.  In other words, these precious and magnificent promises that include partaking of the divine nature of God, are reserved for Christians.

Our word of encouragement this morning is that God has provided, as we saw in verse 3, everything we need that pertains to life and godliness, i.e. everything we need to become Christians and He has done so because He is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:2).

Put it all together and it is easy to see He loves you, and so do I.

Donnie Bates