How Should We Respond to God's Amazing Gifts?
2 Peter, Day 3
- 2 Peter 1:5-10, ESV
Larry Bird was not the most athletically gifted basketball player of his generation, but he is remembered today as one of the greatest players to ever play the game because no one would ever out-work him. Many of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes on the planet never made it to the pros, because they waste their gifts by not working hard to develop what they had been given.
God has given us amazing gifts through the Gospel. We have been given an equal standing before God with the apostles. "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." His precious and very great promises have made us partakers of the divine nature, as we share in the life and righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. These gifts are astonishing!
So, what do we do now? Do we just sit back and enjoy the ride to heaven, paid for by Jesus? No! Peter tells us that because God has given us such amazing gifts, we should "make every effort" - in other words, because God has been so good to us, we should respond by working hard to make the most of what we've been given. If you've been gifted, use the gifts you've been given.
What are we to make every effort to do? Peter tells us "to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love." We are to cultivate the godly character God has given us the ability to cultivate by His grace. Remember, it is His divine power that has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness. So, these godly character qualities are not things we produce ourselves. Rather, we work to develop in our lives what God has already given us!
Why do we need to make every effort to develop these qualities? Peter tells us "if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." We don't want to be ineffective and unfruitful, do we? We want to be productive and effective for God's kingdom and glory, right?
Then, Peter gives us some negative motivation in the form of a warning: "whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins." So, not only do we want to be effective and fruitful, but we most certainly don't want to be blind and forgetful.
Growing in godly character is not an option add-on to the life a believer has in Christ. It is the necessary outworking of that life in Christ. As we cultivate the character of Christ, we "confirm [our] calling and election" and we're strengthened with another great promise: "If you practice these qualities you will never fall." So, by the grace of God, with the gifts His divine power has given us, let's make every effort to grow in virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love!