You realize, don’t you, that one of our faulty assumptions is that we are not able to live the holy life before God?
We have been called and empowered to be holy! (Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 1:15-16) Maybe you haven’t noticed this before, but in the opening verses of Peter’s second letter he stresses how we have even been given power for holiness. Look again at 2 Peter 1:3-4: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (ESV).
Our calling is twofold – “to his own glory and excellence.” We are “called” by Christ’s glory – revealed by His miracles and preeminently by His resurrection from the dead. He showed power over disease, nature, and even death. As a witness to this glory, the Apostle John would write in his Gospel, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, ESV). And so we can believe that His claims are true!
We also are called by His “goodness”—His moral nature. There is no such thing as Christianity that does not result in a change of lifestyle. Think about it… if Jesus had performed all of the miracles, but had not lived a moral life, how could we believe He was divine. When we proclaim that God is holy, we are affirming that He is perfectly moral. As God the Son, Jesus was morally perfect – even though He was in flesh! Therefore, we are called by His moral excellence!
Notice the benefits of being called… first he says we are granted “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” In other words, we are given the power necessary to change our lives (life-style). But notice that we are also granted us “his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” He has given us, by His divine power, all of the resources we need for godliness!
Obviously, Peter is talking about more than just knowing the truth. He is also talking about more than just understanding the truth. What he is emphasizing is our need to integrate it into our choices – our life-style. That is when the truth is able to bring us freedom. Again, we have these gifts granted to us to that we can live a life of “godliness” and, as hard as it is to imagine, so we can “be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (v.4).
Yes, we are saved by grace (justification). There is nothing that we could possibly do to earn our salvation! However, there are some things that we need to be doing. Peter goes on to provide us a short list of what we should be doing as a result of the power that has been granted to us. Notice how v.5 begins, “For this very reason, make every effort…” We are to do our part (sanctification) with determination. The power is from God; the participation is from us. So Peter goes on to list several steps that we must take in the process that leads to godliness: “…supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (vv.5-7).
Why? Because it is only when these qualities are present and increasing that “they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.8). We can never stop being renewed – it is an ongoing process!