In 2-Peter we are reminded of challenges of life before us, and at the same time realize how difficult those challenges are for us: “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1-11).
Peter is the “rock” upon which Jesus built the new life. We’ve been working on Peter’s advice for 2000 years now. For each generation the message is the same. Each generation struggles with fulfilling Peter’s instruction on “the way of the cross.” Beginning with faith, one supports the other: goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love.
Notice the way that these attributes are intertwined and connected. Goodness is necessary to sustain faith. Goodness needs knowledge in order to be effective. Knowledge must be tempered with self-control. Endurance is needed to sustain our self-control. Godliness helps keep us focused as we endure. Mutual affection creates strength in numbers and ministry. Love makes it possible to care for each other.
Peter tells us that through Christ’s promises this is the path away from the corruption of the natural world that encourages our sinful nature. In this way Peter says that we, “May become participants of the divine nature.” If we think that serious discipline is not needed, we are only fooling ourselves. Look at the list of faith connective and supportive attributes. These are not achieved by accident.
It is easy for Satan to get us off course. He only has to attack us at one of these points and all attributes are threatened. We must pray that God will guard us from the evil one. In Psalm 4 David sings, “But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent…I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.”