Growing in Faith – Lessons from 2 Peter

Continuing our exploration of 2 Peter, we delve into the growth of faith as outlined by the apostle. Peter emphasizes that faith is not static; it must be nurtured and grown. Drawing from personal experiences and practical analogies, Peter’s instructions remain highly relevant to us today.

Peter describes several qualities that should be growing in the life of a believer, stemming from an active faith. He begins with goodness, implying that genuine faith will naturally produce good deeds and a kind character. This is followed by knowledge, encouraging a thirst for wisdom, starting with the Scriptures. As we were reminded on a recent holiday by Karen from Pais, the importance of reading and gaining knowledge, especially when young and unencumbered, is invaluable. Whether young or old, a desire for knowledge is a marker of a vibrant faith.

Next, Peter highlights self-control, a virtue often dismissed in contemporary culture. Yet, self-control in areas like food, money management, sexual desires, and anger is essential for a godly life. Denial and delayed gratification are critical skills for spiritual growth and maturity.

Peter then speaks about perseverance. The journey of faith is not without its challenges and discouragements. When faced with apostasy and non-Christian philosophies, Peter’s hearers were tempted to fall away. However, perseverance is key to sustaining and growing our faith. We must remember the foundational truths of the Gospel—the cross, resurrection, and forgiveness in Christ—and push on with resilience.

Growing in godliness is another aspect Peter addresses. Godliness or “God-likeness” should be evident in our thoughts, actions, and reactions. It is a question of character—do we reflect God’s nature in our lives? Do we desire His presence and exhibit loyalty to Him above all else? If so, our faith is growing.

Peter concludes this section by emphasizing mutual affection and love within the Christian community. Building strong, loving relationships requires effort and time. According to Phil Knox from the Evangelical Alliance, making a casual friend takes about 30 hours of contact, a good friend requires 140 hours, and a best friend needs 300 hours. Friendship is an art that demands time and investment. Peter encourages us to foster these relationships as part of our faith journey.

In 2 Peter 1:8, Peter states, “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.” Effective believers invest in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and relationships. These qualities, when present in increasing measure, ensure that our faith is active and productive.

However, Peter also warns that neglecting these qualities can lead to forgetting the goodness of God and the cleansing from past sins. While we cannot lose our salvation, a lack of growth can lead to doubt and ineffectiveness in our spiritual walk.

In conclusion, growing in faith requires intentional effort. We must cultivate qualities like goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness. Building strong relationships within the Christian community is also vital. By actively investing in these areas, we ensure our faith remains effective and productive, leading us to overcome obstacles and navigate the terrain ahead successfully.

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