Peter’s final letter was written shortly before his death. It is an exhortation to supplement our faith with certain qualities which I believe could be called a masterpiece of behaviors of perfect unity with God and perfect unity with each other.
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 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” (2 Pet 1:1-4).
To begin, what constitutes our faith?
- Equal standing with the apostles only by the righteousness of God and Jesus, not by anything we could have done beyond “obtaining” it through belief;
- Grace and peace, multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus;
- All things of life and godliness through knowledge of Jesus;
- A calling to his own glory and excellence, leading to precious and great promises;
- To become partakers of divine nature, having escaped the world’s sinful desire.
“For this very reason, make every effort 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” (2 Pet 1:5-7).
Faith begins with the elements listed above in verses 1-4 as the gift of God. But it must be supplemented with qualities that will protect your faith against the devil’s temptations:
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:8-11).
Let’s focus on and memorize Peter’s qualities as behaviors of perfect unity:
- Brotherly affection
“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it is right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things” (2 Pet 1:12-15).
Peter’s grand mission at the end of his life is this:
I challenge all of us to post these seven qualities of perfect unity with Jesus on your refrigerator, coffee pot, computer, or whatever you see first thing every morning, and to recite them while brushing your teeth (messy though that may be)!
Then, be on the lookout for anything that does not fit these qualities and run from it.