Peter has warned believers that failing to add Christlike qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love to our faith (2 Pet 1:5-7), makes us ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus. This failure will result in us becoming so nearsighted that we are as good as blind. Such people have become like spiritually blind unbelievers, forgetting they have been forgiven from their sin.
Peter now urges his Christian readers to demonstrate the reality of their calling and election. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet 1:10-11)
Peter is not indicating that eternal salvation is based on behavior, because the forgiveness of sin based on our faith and repentance is a gift of grace. We cannot earn it, nor can we lose it through our sins, once we have obtained it. Peter is saying that saved Christians confirm their salvation, for themselves and other people, by possessing these qualities of Jesus. This does not work in reverse: it is not a hard test for salvation. Nor does it imply that salvation is earned by exhibiting these traits.
Those who have been chosen by God and called to faith in Christ can truly possess and “abound” in these qualities because Jesus’s “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” (2 Pet 1:3).
Therefore, those who exhibit faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love have every good confidence in their relationship with Christ. Those who don’t will, at the very least, lack that confidence. If you live as only God’s children in Christ are empowered to live, Peter says, you won’t have reason to doubt your faith and “you will never stumble”. Not stumbling means we aren’t wasting time in being unproductive and ineffective for the Lord’s kingdom, and we aren’t floundering because of near-blindness and indulging in sin we should have left behind.
Peter is speaking most clearly to those who seem to avoid commitment to Christlike living, while still claiming their place in God’s family. This is unproductive at best, and dangerous at worst. Peter is aware that false teachers have taught that if those in these churches believed in Christ, they can continue living as they did before. That’s greasy grace and it’s unbiblical.
Greasy grace would have us look only at the first portion of Roman 8:28, but biblical truth must be discerned by reading the passage in context: “Now He who searches the hearts [the Holy Spirit] knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:27-31)
The intercession that the Spirit does on our behalf is according to the will of God. It’s not about what we want for ourselves. And “He makes all things work together for good” to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Even before He created us, God knew who would come to Him by faith. And here’s the portion that tells us that greasy grace is false teaching because it is His will that we be conformed to the image of His Son. And He has provided “His divine power [to give] us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet 1:3)
Peter tells us to be diligent to demonstrate spiritually mature qualities, as confidence-boosters and evidence of our security in Christ. If we are the Lord’s, our active work to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love to our faith, then that’s the evidence the world can see to back up our claim to be chosen by God (“calling and election”). With this spiritual maturity, we will be able to resist the lure of false teaching and glamorous sin. As you ponder what we’ve discussed this morning, prayerfully ask yourself what your life says about your faith to an outsider? If our lives aren’t shining a beacon of the light of the Lord to the darkness, then we aren’t living according to God’s will for us.