Here is the list of qualities we should pursue in order that we can be “partakers of the divine nature”1 of Jesus. It includes virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. I am not certain if these qualities are in a particular order, but it seems that they might be. 🤓
After trusting God with our very lives, and believing that he is trustworthy, virtue is the first thing we must add to our faith. What does virtue look like? It is goodness, moral excellence, and integrity. Although this appears to be very difficult (and it is), it is the easiest of all the traits for it involves outward behavior. As children of God and followers of Jesus, people will expect us to be good. And so, we must. The reason it is the easiest trait is that we can be outwardly good and inwardly still a mess! At times we will feel like hypocrites because people will think we are good and we know differently. You see, when we give our lives to Christ, we inherit his Holy Spirit who lives in us, and he begins his work of pricking our conscience. A lot! 😟
As unbelievers, we thought we were pretty good people. But when the Holy Spirit moves in, we suddenly realize that we are not! But that is a good thing—to realize we need help to be good. Lots of people are good but to be good like Jesus? Well, that’s a different kind of good. 🤨 Being virtuous is more than being good; it is being excellent—at everything we attempt. Not that we are perfect—but our effort is. As we practice the quality of being good, it eventually becomes our first instinct, actually our second nature—the “divine nature”; however, it always takes effort. That’s why Paul reminded believers of this: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”2 “Doing good” is the first thing we must master as believers for if we are not good, no one will listen to what we say.
Number two on the list is knowledge. Knowledge of what? “The knowledge of him who called us.”3 Peter mentions it twice in these nine verses, which is comprised of five sentences. The sad thing about this quality is that it is so neglected by believers. Many followers of Christ mistakenly believe that once they give their lives to Christ all they really need to do is be good. They stop there. Why is that? Because the quality of knowing Christ is solely self-initiated and completely secret. No one knows except us and God how well we really know Jesus. While being good is generally public, “knowledge of him” is privately attained. We may acquire knowledge about Jesus, but that is not the same as knowing him. The only way to know Christ is to pray and read his Word—to spend time with him, as we do with any people whom we love.
This quality is so important that the promise of not “being ineffective and unproductive” is linked specifically “to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”4 You see, the end result that we “will never fall,” is not about never falling in our ministry or our careers or our attempts to do good things. Although that might be disappointing to realize this, it is the best news ever! Why? Because the more we know Jesus, the more he infiltrates our hearts, our habits, and our minds, which will impact our ministry, our careers, and our attempts to do good things! Our “knowledge of him who called us”3 is at the very root of being effective and productive. If we only practice being good, we will soon grow weary of it unless we are truly grounded in the “knowledge of him.” That’s why Paul wrote, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”5
So, let’s practice that today.😉
12 Peter 1:4 2Galatians 6:8-10 32 Peter 1:3 42 Peter 1:9 5Galatians 3:8