In the beginning, GOD made all things after its own kind, and HE placed within each species, things inherent to that species. Ducks can dive, and swim, and fly, but, they are not much good at meowing or climbing trees. So don’t expect a cat to know how to swim. Yet, even ducks need to develop the abilities within them by watching and following their mom. They learn just by being by her side.
No duh, you may say, but let’s follow that reasoning.
When one listens attentively to the Holy Spirit’s witness of JESUS, and accepts it, and thereby receives faith, that one is born into the family of GOD. He is a new creation, part of an unique ethnic group. At that time, the Bible tells us, GOD gives him inherent things. Things inherent are qualities characteristic by natural heredity. GOD gives them to a believer, for we become HIS children when we believe in JESUS. These inherent things are necessary for believers to survive and thrive. The Bible puts it this way: “HIS divine power has given us everything necessary for life and godliness through our knowledge of HIM” (2 Peter 1:3).
Now, that was GOD’s part. When we listened to HIM, HE gave us faith and all things we need. HE gave us the Holy Spirit to live within us to teach and lead us. HE gave us HIS great and precious promises that will enable us to escape the corruption that is in the world and to take on HIS AWESOME nature if we claim them (2 Peter 1:1-4).
When HE placed the HOLY SPIRIT within us, we received HIS mind (for the HOLY SPIRIT understands everything GOD the FATHER and JESUS our LORD knows). We also received HIS nature, for the HOLY SPIRIT has the same nature as GOD the FATHER and JESUS our LORD(Galatians 5:22, 23). These things are called the fruit of the SPIRIT. I think they are called that for as we yield to the HOLY SPIRIT, those qualities are seen increasingly in our lives.
GOD has done all this for each and every one who has come to a saving knowledge of JESUS by listening to the truth, and confirmed in our spirits by the HOLY SPIRIT. Note: this is not like reading a book and learning that George Washington crossed the Delaware, but it is actually meeting with JESUS by speaking to HIM, “LORD, I believe what YOU say ,and need what YOU offer, thank YOU for dying for me, forgive me and save me from my sin.
GOD has done so much, but, GOD expects something from us as well. 2 Peter 1:5-10 expresses our part.
We are to grow in our knowledge of HIM. Like getting to know anyone, we grow in our knowledge of GOD by spending time with HIM, talking with HIM. It entails prayer and reading the Bible, attentively listening and expecting all the while for GOD to speak directly to us through, the voice of the HOLY SPIRIT.
We are told to make every effort, (the Greek here literally it means hurry with eagerness) to utilize what HE has given us.
The word here, sometimes translated add, actually means supply. GOD has given us the supplies and expects us to take them from where they are stored and use them.
It is like when I am cooking dinner. In order to have the supplies on hand that I need to make a specific meal, I go gather the supplies from where they are stored. I have certain things stored in my pantry, others stored in my freezer, and some stored in my frig.
All the supplies we need for life and godliness have been stored for us in heaven (Ephesians 1:3).
So if I need love for someone who is hateful to me, I need to pray, and ask for love to be handed to me, so that GOD’s love can flow through me and I am enabled to do what is required of me (Hebrews 4:16).
The wording in 2 Peter 1 shows that we develop one quality that has been given us, through the exercise of another. Each new grace, springs out of the attempt to use another.
I will show you how this works for me. But first, let me give you a definition of the word virtue. It is one of the things we are told to use, and knowing its definition is essential to understanding the process. Some translations translate the word virtue as goodness. Yet, in verse 3, that word virtue is used as we are told that GOD called us by HIS own glory and power/authority.
Vines, expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words, defines this word as meaning, in this text, as the manifestation of GOD’s divine power. This significance is frequently illustrated in the papyri and was evidently common in current Greek usage. Vines goes on to say that this word used in 2 Peter 1:5 is an essential quality in the exercise of faith. We must have GOD’s power and authority to act.
The word used for virtue here, often means the same as the word used for virtue when the woman (who had been bleeding for years and years, and had spent all her money on doctors but was no better) touched JESUS and was instantly healed. The word says, JESUS felt virtue (power, the energy needed to heal) leave HIS body (Mark 5:30, Luke 8:46).
Now, to see how our part works.
First we listened attentively to the truth, and saying, YES, I believe that, we came to know JESUS. Thereby, we received (some translations say obtained) faith as a gift from GOD (2 Peter 1:1).
As we use that faith, we are strengthened and energized. -GOD stirs our hearts, and in obedience, faith leads us to study the word and pray. Which in turn, causes us to grow to know JESUS better and better-as we spend time with HIM.
Knowing more about HIM- seeing how HE controlled HIS actions (2 Corinthians 3:18, Hebrews 12:2-3), leads us to want self control,. Desiring self control, causes us to call out to GOD that we may endure/persevere; as we persevere, we begin to reflect Christlikeness (godliness) in our actions and words. We begin seeing things as HE did. HIS nature of love is poured out in our heart by the HOLY SPIRIT (Romans 5:5), and flows through us causing us to love fellow believers. Loving fellow believers, spills over to loving the lost.
The Word tells us if we have these attributes (godly characteristics) in increasing measure, (just like building up muscle through exercise), we will be useful and fruitful in our knowledge of JESUS, and kept from stumbling in to sin.
But, if we don’t use what GOD has supplied, we will be useless, unfruitful, and stumble. An example of this is seen in Hebrews 12:15 where we are told we become bitter when we fail (to use) the grace to forgive available to us.
GOD has not required for us to live and work by our own power. We were never made to produce good on our own, nor are we able to. “We are not sufficient to think of anything as from ourselves, but, our sufficiency comes from GOD (2 Corinthians 3:5). HIS (GOD’s) divine power has given to us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of HIM (2 Peter 1:3).
I sure want to get to know HIM better just because HE is so wonderful. Knowing HIM stirs up within me the desire to be more like HIM in one way or another and thereby causes me to access and use those supplies GOD has stored up for me.
As we grow in our knowledge of GOD our FATHER and our LORD JESUS CHRIST, others see HIM through us. But even then, there is never a reason for pride for: What do you have that you have not received. If you have received it why boast as if it was from yourself? (I Cor. 4:7).
Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.