Restrain Your Words #621

27  Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28  Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:27–28, ESV)

Possessing the ability and the discernment to control one’s words is a mark of wisdom. This is verified in James 1:19, “let every man be slow to speak…” Keeping one’s cool instead of spouting off when agitated reveals a prudent soul. You do not have to always say something in order to prove you are knowledgeable on a matter. Often it is when we open our mouths that we remove all doubt of whether we are foolish. Choose your words carefully. See the value of saying nothing if, by speaking, you merely reveal your lack of understanding.

Be Even More Diligent #620

10  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11  for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10–11, NKJV)

A Christian who has developed a mature faith must continue to be vigilant. A clear warning against stumbling is issued in verse 10. Therefore, “more” diligence is needed as we increase our faith. The validity of the Christian’s “call and election” is secure as he or she continues to grow in faith. Entrance into the everlasting kingdom is never promised to the apathetic, negligent, “barren and unfruitful” Christian (see 2 Peter 1:8). Heaven is assured to every Christian who is faithful to Jesus. Continue to “be even more diligent” in your faith each day. Heaven is the earnest and sure expectation of every Christian who lives to please God by doing His will.

Fruitful Faith #619

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:8–9, NKJV)

A fully-developed faith produces a fruitful life. Equipped with “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”, such a faith is able to confidently face every circumstance of life. Virtuous faith is bold in the face of the enemy. Knowledgeable faith is grounded in the truth of God, not the fables of men. Such a faith will not be led astray. Faith governed by self-control chooses good and abhors evil. Persevering faith vigilantly endures every adversity. Godly faith is always directed toward God and never toward self. Brotherly kindness is an essential part of living one’s faith so as to benefit fellow Christians. Love is the crowning jewel of faith, since mature faith loves its enemies just as Christ loved us when we were His enemies. If we choose not to develop our faith we have become spiritually blind. We have already forgotten that God in Christ cleansed us of our sins. We were not saved so we can simply be unfruitful Christians. Devote yourself to increasing your faith by daily obedience to the will of Christ.

Add Love to Your Brotherly Kindness #618

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5-7, NKJV)

Brotherly kindness is generous and courteous, thoughtful and responsive to fellow Christians. Love is now added to brotherly kindness. Love not only seeks the best of its brethren, but also that of its enemies (Matt. 5:44). Love is an action of the will. It is the antithesis of indifference, for it is actively extends itself  in good ways, both by word and by deed. Faith becomes full grown when we add love to our brotherly kindness. While it is easy to love our brothers, it is like our heavenly Father to love those who hate us and spitefully use us (Matt. 5:46-48). Devote your faith to loving God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39). A faith that does not promote love for God and mankind does not know God: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jno. 4:7-8).

Add Brotherly Kindness to Your Godliness #617

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5-7, NKJV)

Kindness toward others ought to be a genuine part of our godliness. How we speak to and treat one another in the family of God reveals our devotion to God. Just as a physical family thrives on kindness, our relationship together in Christ calls for the thoughtful, generous and courteous treatment of each other. Our Adversary loves nothing more than to pit brother against brother. From Cain and Abel to the present, when kindness gives way to envy, jealousy and hatred, peace is destroyed, unity is disrupted and souls are lost. Strive for kindness toward all, especially toward your fellow Christians. Do not break God’s heart by being unkind to your brother or sister in Christ. Just as a father rejoices when his children show kindness to each other, God is pleased when His children live together in the joy of brotherly kindness.

Add Godliness to Your Perseverance #616

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness… (2 Peter 1:5–6, NKJV)

Perseverance is of no redeeming spiritual value if it is not directed by godliness. Steadfastly committing sin is no virtue. So then, in order to strengthen your faith, add godliness to your endurance. Godliness is reverent respect for God; piety, devotion. Surely godliness guided Jesus to always do what pleased His Father (Jno. 8:29). As your mind is turned toward God in reverent respect you are better equipped to persevere through life’s challenges. When your faith is tested, it will be your devotion to God that helps you endure. Without this God-ward attitude you lose your incentive to endure; you forget God. But through godliness, discouragement is thwarted and faith prevails. Strengthen your faith today by remaining devoted to the things of God: “exercise yourself toward godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

Add Perseverance to Your Self-Control #615

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness… (2 Peter 1:5–6, NKJV)

The Holy Spirit calls on us to add perseverance to our self-control. Self-control that is only sporadically used is like a misfiring spark plug in an engine. The engine of our faith will sputter, lose power, waste energy and become more and more ineffective. It may be time to give your faith a tune up by equipping your self-control with constancy, endurance and steadfastness. A thriving faith is vigilant to endure trials, constantly using self-control to avoid sin and to obey the Lord. The testing of our faith by various trials produces patience. Faith grows stronger when we endure, letting “patience have its perfect work” (Jas. 1:2-4). Living by faith is not easy. It demands constant self-control to persevere in the face of many challenges. You can successfully add perseverance to your self-control by “looking unto Jesus”. He endured the cross and its shame, and is now exalted (Heb. 12:1-2). Follow in His steps and persevere to the end.

Add Self-Control to your Knowledge #614

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness… (2 Peter 1:5–6, NKJV)

Moral courage and a knowledge of God’s word are not enough to produce a strong faith. You must also have the self-control to choose what is good and to refuse sin. Thus, the apostle gives instruction to increase your faith by adding self-control to knowledge. Temperance (self-control) is “the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites” (Thayer). It is the ability to govern oneself, including when one is tempted to sin. Instead of being drawn away by sinful desires you must exercise self-control in all things (1 Cor. 9:25). You control yourself. You were not born a sinner. You are not tempted to sin beyond your ability to resist. God gives you a way of escape so that you can endure and prevail in Christ (1 Cor. 10:13). Self-control is one such way of escape. When you are tempted, exercise self-control to escape sin’s allurement. When you do, your faith will grow stronger.

Add Knowledge to Your Virtue #613

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge…  (2 Peter 1:5, NKJV)

Without moral courage, faith becomes a hypocritical claim. Additionally, faith is blind without correct knowledge. Israel hastened her own destruction in the days of Hosea by refusing the knowledge of God: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Since faith is established by hearing and accepting the word of God, it is crucial to strengthen one’s faith by growing in an understanding of God’s word (Rom. 10:17). The Christian should be “increasing in the knowledge of God” in order to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work” (Col. 1:10). In today’s verse we are taught to add knowledge to virtue, since one cannot know when to be morally courageous unless they understand the truth that compels that courage. “Therefore, do not be unwise, by understand what the will of the Lord is” by growing in the knowledge of the Lord (Eph. 5:17; 2 Pet. 3:18). God wants you to have an informed faith. His word gives the understanding you need to have a strong faith. Spend time learning God’s word, adding what you learn to your courageous faith.

Add Virtue to Your Faith #612

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue… (2 Peter 1:5, NKJV)

Every Christian should be growing stronger in faith. For our faith to be vigorous and strong we must add to it “virtue” or moral excellence. Our faith must have the moral courage to stand for what is right against all opposition and every adversity. Christians must grow a spiritual backbone by adding virtue to their faith. God has not called us to live with a spirit of fear and moral cowardice. Instead, God has given us a spirit “of power and of love and of a sound mind” to resist the devil and live for Jesus (2 Tim. 1:7). Living by faith requires the courage to follow the truth of God and the courage to reject sin in all its forms (1 Thess. 5:22). Add virtue to your faith by courageously trusting and obeying the word of God. Remember, “the cowardly” have their part in the lake of fire, but those with courageous faith will enter the everlasting kingdom (Rev. 21:8; 2 Pet. 1:11).