Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 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. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1-8 NKJVSometime, if you have a little spare time on your hands, you might look up “famous last words” and read some of the things people have said before they die. You will find that while many are comical, some are in fact a serious attempt on the part of the individual to impart some wisdom that those left behind can use. Have you ever thought about what you might wish to say if you found yourself in that position? In this book we see that Peter understands his time on earth is about to end, and this book is, in fact, the last message he will leave for his readers.
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 2 Peter 1:13-14 NKJVPeter is held captive in Rome by Nero, and understands that he will shortly be killed. Jesus did in fact predict this by telling Peter that he could expect to die just as He Himself had.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” John 21:18-19 NKJVSo it is with the awareness of his impending death Peter chooses to leave us with the words we find in his two letters. As I studied them it became apparent that a subject Peter felt was very important to get across to his readers was living a godly life, or what he called “godliness”. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that many might have expected an exhortation to attempt to do great things, yet it seems that Peter tells us that how we live should be our focus rather than what we might do.
Peter goes on to tell us that not only should living a godly life be our focus, we have in fact, already been equipped to do just that. Look closely at verse three in the passage above where he tells us “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,”. What this means to us as believers is that when we made the decision to follow Christ, we received everything God ever intended for us to have in order to live the life He planned for us. The downside of this knowledge is the understanding that any failure to live a godly life falls on our shoulders because we fail to use what He has already given us.I believe one of the keys to living a godly life is found in the word “diligence” that Peter uses in this passage as well. “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.” When I think about the word diligence I immediately think about exercising, or working out physically as many of us do. If you are like me, you understand the importance of having a routine and sticking to it in order to accomplish your goals. A wonderful passage that puts these two in perspective is found in the book of Timothy.
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 NKJVNow most of us understand that one of the results of exercise is getting stronger and in this passage Peter tells us that the same result can be found when we pursue godliness. Notice that the progression as a result of diligence is virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and finally love. So how do we begin to pursue the goal of living a godly life? The answer is back in verse three where Peter tells us that the first step comes “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”.
Now this may be a humbling question to ask but in all honesty, do any of us spend as much time trying to know God better by studying His Word as we spend on exercising, or on our hobbies, or recreation, or any other distraction life can put in front of us? Are we really committed to living a godly life or is it something we think just happens naturally as a result of our decision to follow Christ?Of all the things that Peter could tell us as he approaches the end of his life, the one that he chooses to share with his readers is the importance of pursuing godliness. “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peter's last words to us are to live a godly life by increasing our knowledge of God our Savior. If we do, we will accomplish much for the glory of God.