Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2 Peter 1:5-8

[5] For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, ...

Among the basics of what faith is and is about, we read in Hebrews 11:6 that

"...without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would come to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him".

It is faith in God and in a message for the Apostle Paul begins his magisterial letter to the Romans with the following declaration :

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek". (Romans 1:16).

It should be clear, therefore, that the one who possesses faith also possesses by it such a rich inheritance. Such a faith deserves to be accompanied or supplemented by "GOODNESS". Another translation uses the expression "MORAL EXCELLENCE" which I tend to prefer here.

...and goodness with knowledge, ...

Sometimes our ability to act in morally excellent ways is limited by ignorance. What sort or sorts of ignorance ?

It could be ignorance of God, ignorance of God's revelation the Bible, and last but not least ignorance of one's own self. Knowledge empowers and it empowers to right living.

[6] and knowledge with self-control, ...

Knowledge of self, of others of God and God's will in the varied circumstances of life is also an enabler in the area of self-control.

Therefore, as knowledge increases it should accrue to greater self- control.

...and self-control with endurance, ...

Other translations say "perserverance". Although it means the same thing, I prefer it because it generally has theological connotations, as in "the perseverance of the saints".

... and endurance with godliness, ...

People generally "endure" or "persevere" something because they may have an end in view such as a reward or to prove something to themselves and to others. The Scripture here implies that the goal of perseverance is to attain a state where godliness can be and is exercised.

[7] and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.

Muslims for instance have a form of godliness which they call takvah which really amounts to nothing more that legalistic observances. This is the highest goal of every Muslim.

What is wrong with this picture ?

Only that if we stopped there, even with a proper Christian understanding of godliness, then we have stopped short of affirming the value of our other fellow men and women as eternal beings created in the image of God.

Muslims, of course, do not believe that man is created in the image of God which is why they don't really affirm love as a value to be prized or nurtured.

But, Jesus said : "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another". (John 13:34-35)

[8] For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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