5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7).
The phrase “for this reason” connects us to the previous context of 2 Peter 1:1-4. In light of all which Peter has previously written thus far, the recipients of the letter, and today’s readers, are to make every effort to do something. The words “make every effort” (παρεισφέρω πᾶς σπουδή; pareisphero pas spoude) are three words which mean that believers in Christ are to make it their best effort to do their best and to do their best with eagerness. This is an emphatic statement by the Apostle Peter.
In what context does Peter encourage believers to make it their best effort to do their best and to do their best with eagerness? The answer is that believers are to make it their best effort to do their best and to do their best with eagerness in supplementing their faith.
The phrase supplement your faith (ἐπιχορηγέω σύ πίστις; epichoregeo sy pistis) is an imperative command. To supplement means to provide something in addition to what already exists. What is to be supplemented is the believer’s personal trust, commitment, dependence and worship of Jesus Christ.In other words, their faith.
What the believer is commanded to supplement to their faith is not done in order to become a Christian but rather because one is already a Christian. In other words, Peter is writing about sanctification which follows the believer’s justification. This sanctifying supplementation involves the attributes of virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. These seven attributes should be continually present within the believer’s life and lifestyle.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “As Reformed Christians, we rightly emphasize the sovereignty of God in salvation. Again and again, the New Testament tells us that God is the sole agent in our regeneration. In his first epistle, Peter makes this clear when he tells us that God has caused us to be born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). Though we play no role in our regeneration, that does not mean we have no role in our growth in holiness that always accompanies true faith (James 2:14–26). We must make every effort to progress in our sanctification. Today’s passage makes this clear when it commands us to add to our faith a number of godly traits. This is not to say that we have the power apart from the Lord to make ourselves holy. In 2 Peter 1:3–4, we saw that it is the divine power that grants to us all that we need for godliness. Indeed, apart from the grace of God we would not be able to be holy at all, for as John Calvin says, the whole Bible testifies that “right feelings are formed in us by God, and are rendered by him effectual. It testifies also that all our progress and perseverance are from God.”
In the next several days, we will examine the attributes and qualities that God commands each believer to supplement to their faith. May each of us be obedient to the Lord’s command to do so.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!