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. 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. 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.
Sola fide. Faith Alone, one of the great cries of Luther’s reformation. He championed an unparalleled change in Church history that we still enjoy the benefits of today. However, often we simply accept what has been handed to us by our forefathers without questioning it. We hold onto these past truths so tightly that we miss out on other benefits and revelations God wants to bestow on our lives today. I believe this is the case when it comes to faith. We often hold so tightly to “faith alone” that we miss other aspects of the Christian life that also build, encourage, and strengthen us. Take the above passage from 2nd Peter. He says to supplement our faith, and not only our faith but to supplement our supplements until we reach agape love. We so often parrot faith alone that we ignore other aspects of our life; aspects that Peter says “pertain to life and godliness”. We stunt our own growth by ignoring other basic premises of a godly life.
Now, I am not saying we don’t need faith or that it isn’t important. Faith is absolutely
important, because it is only by grace through faith that we are saved. Hallelujah! However, as I’ve said before, there is more to our life than simply salvation. Salvation begins our journey into kingdom life. Salvation begins the identity change from sinner to saint, from child of the devil to a child of God, from a pauper to a prince of the kingdom of heaven. However, if, as Peter says, “his divine power has granted to us all
things that pertain to life and godliness” why would we ever stop short of achieving the life God has set before us. Why would we ever refuse these gifts? Why would we ever proclaim “faith alone”, and ignore these other aspects? Christianity, as I’ve said before, is full of mystery and paradox
. We need to learn to be people who live in the mystery and accept the wholeness of our faith. Is it faith alone for salvation? Absolutely. Is it faith alone for the Christian life? Absolutely not. We need to supplement our faith with the gifts of the spirit and the character Peter describes here in order to live in the fullness of life.
Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.