In our electronic and digital world, we often have to activate something we have received in order to gain the benefits and power of that item – be it a credit card, online account, or computer program. For example, with a new credit card that comes in the mail, our name is on it and there is nothing else we have to receive, but to activate it for beneficial use, we have to call a number or connect online to actually activate the card for its intended purposes and values.
So also, when we have come to know Christ and gained membership into his kingdom and family, we have access to a new divine power. But that benefit is useless unless we chose to activate it. And the way that we do this confirming and activating is by growing in the knowledge of God (verse 3), adding to our lives the associated character qualities that define Christlikeness (verses 6-8), and confirming our calling and election to Christ’s family by the persistent hard work of increasing these virtues throughout our lives (verse 10).
Again, as in several passages we are looking at this week, we have a listing of character and behavioral qualities that define a person who is connected with Christ – or, to use the words of Christ himself, these are elements that describe the quality and connection we as branches have to the vine.
The list today even has a sort of “flow” to it. It begins with faith, which is trust >> to which we add goodness – the desire to do what is right >> and if we’re to do what is right, we have to have knowledge of what is correct >> which helps us to have self-control, in that we are knowledgeable of a larger perspective on all things >> helping us to gain perseverance through whatever circumstances befall us >> and that ends up with an expression of a godly attitude and perspective >> helping us have a greater affection for other people who have great difficulties as well >> ending up as a person steeped in expressions of love. So see, it’s not that difficult – just a step at a time!
Peter says that anyone who is not on this continuum is like a person who is near-sighted and unproductive. Are you near-sighted physically? I sure am! Without visual correction, I’m pretty much lost on focusing on anything more than an arm’s length away! Left on my own in that condition, I would indeed be unproductive, as there is little that I could do while living in a world that is about 95% a total blur. And apart from abiding in the knowledge of Christ and in the vine, that is how we are, practically speaking. We are without power and sight, and we are sure to stumble.
So Peter concludes this thought by saying that we should make every effort to activate and confirm with our actions the blessings of our position in Christ. Just as it would be pretty crazy to carry around a credit card in your wallet that you had never activated, so it is foolish to be a Christian by name, but never proving it and using it through connection to the Lord. So get activated!
2 Peter 1:3-11 – Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 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. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.