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 for His kingdom. This failure results in us becoming as good as spiritually blind, forgetting we have been forgiven from our sin.
Then Peter reminds us to demonstrate the reality of our calling and election, which we are able to do 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).
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”). “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 being as diligent in his reminders to us, as he asks us to be in adding Christ-like characters to our faith. “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent [body], to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Pet 1:12-15)
Peter knows two things about his Christians readers. First, they know the truth he has been teaching. In fact, they are rock-solid in those truths. Peter uses the Greek word estērigmenous here, which means “fixed, established, or strengthened”. These Christians Peter writes to don’t need to know something differently than they already do, in order to live the life Christ. But he seeks to motivate them to act on the knowledge God has given to them. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
We should emphasize the truth over and over, so we’re “provoked” to act on it. The fact that we already know the contents of God’s Word is no reason to ignore it from that point forward. Repeated reminders of the truth not only keep us secure in what we know, it helps us better understand how to interpret it, apply it, and defend it. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Josh 1:8)
At the same time, Peter also knows that even Christians who are aware of truth need to be reminded. We need to hear it again and again, to highlight the connection between what we know and what we will do with it. Peter made it part of his life’s work to feed the sheep (Jn 21:15-19) by reminding them of what they know in Christ and urging them to act on it with God’s power. This is what a true pastor or teacher will tell you to do, unlike false teachers who teach 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.
What Peter describes in verses 5 through 11 is not a new teaching. Nor is it something his readers aren’t already aware of. It’s a fundamental part of their Christian faith. Peter was planning for their future. He wanted to ensure that after he died, they would hold fast to the vital truths they already knew, so he chose to continue to stir them up in their beliefs. “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:6-7)
Prayerfully consider what it is that “stirs you up”. Is it the lies of the enemy and a focus on things that aren’t eternal? Or are you stirred up to act on God’s Word (His very instructions to us) with His power? If it’s the former, I urge you to prayerfully consider if you truly belong to the Lord. If what you need is a reminder to provoke you to act upon His Word, make certain you are spending time in His Word and with those who also focus on His Word so that you are comforted and comfort others, instead of stirred up in anger and malice. “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess 5:11)