Read 2 Peter 1.
Second Peter 1:3-4 is a passage I return to again and again in my own life as a Christian and in my attempts to teach and encourage other believers toward godliness.
The passage starts with a bold proclamation: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life….” If you believe in Jesus, you can become a godly person; God has provided you with everything you need to become one and nothing you need is missing. The ability and tools to grow in godliness come supernaturally and spiritually from God himself for the passage says, “His divine power has given us…”
But how exactly was it given to us? Verse 3 continues, “…through our knowledge of him who called us…” In other words, it is our knowledge of God that enables us to become godly. This is a reference to our salvation, how we came to know God, for the next phrase of verse 4 says, “…who called us by his own glory and goodness.” It was God’s grace in salvation—grace that brings glory to himself—and his goodness that caused us to come to know God and have all that we need for a godly life.
Verse 4 expands on this reality by telling us that God’s gracious salvation consists of “great and precious promises” and that the result of these promises is “that through them you may participate in the divine nature…” This is a reference to the new life that God gave us. His promise to us was that, if we believe in Jesus, we will know God, have our sins forgiven, and be given a new nature that desires to become like God in holiness. When we believed in Jesus, these promises were planted into our lives and began to bear fruit that gives us all we need to become godly men and women.
Note, though, that we don’t just passively and automatically become godly.
No, God “has given us” through “his divine power” “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him.” When we understand this truth, Peter urges us to put it to work in our lives; verse 5 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge….” The phrase “for this reason” takes us back to all that God has done for us. Because knowing him in salvation means receiving everything he given us—everything we need—for a godly life, we should actively build faith and holiness into our lives. God does some of this for us through:
- the conviction of sin in our conscience,
- the purging effect of trials/discipline in our lives,
- the teaching of his Word and
- the sharpening effect of community in the local church.
But, as we live out our days as Christians, we must add to our faith all that God commands us to become. Since he has given us everything we need, we can become the people God calls us and commands us to be.
So don’t lose hope in your struggles against sin!
Don’t give up believing in the power within you to become holy within and without.
Keep reading God’s word, talking through it with godly teachers and mentors, and applying it to your life.
The seeds of godliness, once planted, will grow if we cultivate them to cause us to be beautiful in holiness in God’s sight. In addition to being declared holy through Christ’s blood, the gospel tells us that we can become holy through faith and obedience. So, keep striving for holiness and reaching to become the kind of man or woman of God that God has called us to be.
And, when you feel yourself backsliding or becoming discouraged, remind yourself of this verse; memorize it: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Memorize it, remind yourself of it, then believe that it is true as you work on growing in Christ.