The Word: “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.8). “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (vv.10-11).
The Breakdown: Peter lists seven qualities that we should make a strong effort to add, or supplement, to our faith: virtue (a demonstrated lifestyle of excellence), knowledge (of God and life), self-control (discipline), steadfastness (perseverance), godliness (God-likeness), brotherly affection, and love (agape). If we supplement our faith with these qualities and practice them, then we will bear fruit, never fall away from the faith, and it will prove that we are children of God who will receive heaven.
Activate: Do you struggle in your faith? If so, are you practicing these qualities? If you do not practice these qualities, you will become spiritually blind and question whether or not you are really saved. Therefore, you should examine yourself to see as to whether or not you are a Christian (2 Corinthians 13:5).
A Thought: Take heed to Peter’s instruction because these qualities have major implications. If you practice them then you will grow and have assurance of your faith, but if not, you will be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word: “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” (2 Peter 1:3).
The Breakdown: Peter explains that knowing Jesus is a key component of the faith. It is very important to have a knowledge of Jesus because we do not want to worship what we do not know (John 4:22). From this text Peter explains that through knowledge, we can receive grace and peace (v.2), it gives us all the things that pertain to life and godliness (v.3), and that we should make every effort to supplement our faith with it (v.6). He also encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). The only way to have a growing knowledge of Jesus is to go to where that knowledge is recorded, the Bible.
Activate: The wonderful part about having knowledge of Jesus is that we just don’t get to know various facts about Him, but we get to know Him intimately and personally. Truly, eternal life is found in knowing God (John 17:3) and this knowledge is of great and important worth (Philippians 3:8).
A Thought: “The true knowledge of God will result, not in our being puffed up with conceit at how knowledgeable we are, but in our falling on our faces before God in sheer wonder.” – John Stott
The Word: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
The Breakdown: Because of God’s mercy we have been born again. We once were dead in our sins, but we are now alive in Christ and have a living hope. The reason why we have a living hope is because Jesus was raised from the dead. If he was not raised from the dead, our faith would be pointless and we would not have our sins forgiven (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17); it is because of the resurrection of Christ that we have new life. This new life offers us a priceless inheritance that is kept in heaven by God Himself!
Activate: When was the last time that you thanked God for His mercy, the resurrection, your new birth, or the great inheritance that He has for you? Without the resurrection, you wouldn’t be born again and you would not have an inheritance that is awaiting you in heaven. Be thankful for the resurrection!
A Thought: We have a living hope, because our Hope is living!
The Word: “When Jesus said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:6).
The Breakdown: After Jesus was done praying in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas approached Him with a band of soldiers, officers, the chief priests, and the Pharisees. It is estimated that there were possibly a few hundred people and they were armed with lanterns, torches, and weapons. They asked Him if He was Jesus, and when He said, “I am,” all of them fell to the ground. Jesus was clearly claiming to be the “I AM” in <st2:bcv_smarttag>Exodus 3:14; He was saying that He was God. His claim of being the “I AM” made them fall down; this shows His true deity.
Activate: By making such a powerful and holy claim, they couldn’t help but fall down in response. Just like Jesus’ words, <st2:bcv_smarttag>Hebrews 4:12 states that the word of God is powerful. When you read the Bible, do you realize that you are reading powerful words? The same power that was used to cast the crowd down is the same power that is available to empower you in your walk with the Lord.
A Thought: When John had a vision of Jesus, he said that His voice was like the roar of many waters (Revelation 1:15). His words are powerful; so powerful that they give life: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
The Word: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [the Father], and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
The Breakdown: Paul ends his second epistle to the Corinthians with a benediction that involves all three persons of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not only can you pronounce this blessing on others, but you can know for yourself that Jesus’ grace, God’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s communion (fellowship) can be with you. Now that is truly a blessing!
Activate: Remember this verse because the Galatians fell from grace (Galatians 5:4), the Ephesians fell from love (Revelation 2:1-7), and the Corinthians fell from the Spirit’s fellowship (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Just as Paul knew that the Corinthians needed God’s grace, love, and communion, we need to be reminded that we need it as well for our spiritual growth.
A Thought: “May the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father’s boundless love, with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon us from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.” – John Newton
The Word: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 3:16-17).
The Breakdown: We know true love because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Therefore, since we have that same love dwelling in our heats, we ought to love our brothers and sisters in the faith. Many of you have a great amount of the world’s goods and common necessities, but if someone you know needs it, are you willing to give it to them? It is easy to talk about, but do you really do it? John goes on to say, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (v.18).
Activate: Is there anyone you know that you can lay your life down for? Are there brothers and sisters in Christ that you know who are in need? If so, do not shut your heart up against them, because if you do, it will be obvious that the love of God does not abide in you.
A Thought: “We are never more like God than when we give.” – Charles Swindoll
The Word: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
The Breakdown: The Apostle Paul was the greatest theologian and missionary to ever live. And though he preached the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27), the center of his message was Christ and Him crucified; it was the message of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18). When writing about Paul, D.A. Carson says, “He cannot long talk about Christian joy, or Christian ethics, or Christian fellowship, or the Christian doctrine of God, or anything else, without finally tying it to the cross. Paul is gospel-centered; he is cross centered.” The cross wasn’t just one of his messages, it was his message. Let us learn from Paul’s example and be consumed with the cross of Christ.
Activate: Many people are consumed by relationships, possessions, or even social status. But as Christians, the cross should be what defines us; it should be the center of our lives. Is the cross your all consuming passion and joy? Do you live a life that is truly cross centered?
A Thought: “What I hope you see is that the cross centered life isn’t just one option among many that God offers. It is the life that every Christian is called to.” – C.J. Mahaney