2 Peter 1:5-15 ESV
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. 8 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. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
Excellence: The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.
The life of faith is not without effort. We are saved by faith, but sanctification, being freed from sin, is work - constant work. Peter is encouraging believers to give all they have, make every effort, to supplement their faith. You don’t need “extra faith” to be saved or stay saved - the supplement is to be effective and fruitful. It is a constant turning from sin that produces fruit.
1. The excellent life is a life of effort.
1Corinthians 9:24-27 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
The Holy Spirit in you gives you the power to prevail over sin. You were a slave to sin, but in Christ you are made new.
It takes effort to add.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful
The excellent life doesn’t stay stagnant. In every season you can add these qualities. Excellence doesn’t require perfect circumstances but is proved out in difficulty.
2. The excellent life has a look.
Add to your faith - “Make a rich or lavish provision”
Virtue - “Moral excellence”
Peter is imploring the reader to add the quality of being “Extremely good” moral people. We should be striving to live a morally good life.
Col 3:1-5 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Knowledge - This is not common knowledge but knowing the will of God, being confident in His will.
1 John 2:3-4 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. We should be more disciplined the longer we walk with Christ.
Peter uses the same word that Paul used in Galatians 5 for a Gift of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit in us causes us to be more disciplined.
Steadfastness - perseverance or patience
Peter encourages us to add the ability to continue in the faith, to keep going regardless of circumstances. We need to develop the will to stay rather than run from hard things.
Perseverance is a key characteristic in all of the new testament. It was a defining attribute of the church.
Godliness - devotion to God
We should be increasing our devotion to God, not just hanging on to it. Make a conscious decision to put God first in your life. I will have no other gods before you.
Brotherly Affection - Are we loving people better as our faith grows? How we love one another is how they will know we are His disciples.
Love - Agape, unconditional
The love of God that reached us through Christ should emanate through us to others.
3. Practice produces - “...for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
If we fail, are we quick to ask God why He allowed it to happen, or do we ask ourselves if we have been practicing excellence? If we fail to practice, we fail to remember all God has done for us.
The excellent life is one that is cultivated day after day, each one of us adding to our faith.
Philippians 2:12-13 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling 13 for it is God who works in you
1. What stood out to you most from Sunday’s message?
2. What does excellence mean to you?
3. What can we do to strengthen us in our struggle against sin?
4. When circumstances are difficult, how can we use them as opportunities to become more like Jesus instead of seeing them as obstacles in our growth?
5. An excellent life includes moral decisions, knowing the will of God, self control, patience/perseverance, devotion to God, brotherly affection, and unconditional love. In which of these have you grown the most? In which would you like to grow more?
6. What does an excellent life look like in our daily routines?
7. What are the challenges that crop up as we strive for excellence?
8. What are the habits you can adopt to grow toward excellence?
9. What do you want to do differently because of Sunday’s message?