When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior and surrender all to follow Him, God begins to move us from point A to point B. This process is called sanctification or spiritual growth. Point A (faith)-------------------------->X Point B (Christlikeness) The Greek word for Christ is Χριστóς (Xristos/ Christos). We must make every effort to move towards the end goal of being like Christ. These qualities (virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, Godliness, brotherly affection, and love) are to be added to our faith so that we will become more and more like Christ. God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3); that's God's part. God empowers and enables us but we must cooperate (with the promptings of the Holy Spirit), obey, and work at it. God will not make us Christlike against our will or without our involvement. It requires desire, determination, and discipline on our part. God gives us the gift of choice for a reason. Here we see a beautiful interplay between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. We are called to put our faith into action and with all diligence, to live the way God wants us to. We are called to do good deeds because we have been saved, not in order to be saved. Peter tries to tell us that these qualities of Christlikeness are very important for us. Without them, the pressure of persecution and suffering will cause us to give up and give in. Without them, the charm of false teaching will tempt us to opt for an easier life.
"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) Our journey towards Christlikeness starts with faith in Christ.
Virtue is moral excellence. Is our life reflecting the excellencies of God?
This refers to prudence and wisdom from learning God's truth in the Scriptures and applying it. A knowledge of sound doctrine will strengthen our faith. To know God and His will, we must study His Word diligently.
Control your tongue, emotions, thoughts, and actions/reactions. "No matter how strong we are, or how much we know, if we have not self-control, something is wanting. He that can rule himself is strong, while he that lacks self-mastery, no matter what other gifts he may have, is pitiably weak." (J.R. Miller)
This is patience that endures trials, afflictions and adversities.
"A genuine reverence toward God that governs one's attitude toward every aspect of life." (from my NIV Bible commentary) Coram Deo = To live one's life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God!
Mutual affection & kindness among brothers and sisters in Christ
Love like Christ by loving unconditionally, sacrificially, and selflessly. It's fitting to end the list with love because if we do not have love, all other qualities we have mean nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). These qualities are the fruit of the Spirit and should be evident in a fruitful, spirit-filled life. Abide in Christ and you'll bear much fruit.
- Prayer: Dear Jesus, take my heart and hand, And grant me this, I pray: That I through Your sweet love may grow More like You day by day.