2 Peter 1:5
Many times it is argued that we want to hurry past doctrine and get to the practical. Lloyd-Jones observed this often enough. A popular saying, ‘Don't be so heavenly minded you're no earthly good’ sometimes purports to have a truth, but it is alarmingly shallow. Apart from a mind to God we ARE no good to anyone on earth actually. Here, in this passage, is content most practical and doctrinal all at the same time.
Giving all diligence add to your faith...First, we are to increase the foundation which has been given to us. Our faith (Peter calls it ours, because though we did not have it at the 1st, but obtained it (vs. 1), is a gift given to us which we are responsible to build upon. Recall the parable of the talents - the men each received a measure, but the one who did nothing with it was called wicked and lazy. (See Blog posts in May 2014)
Secondly this work is to be done to our utmost. Peter says, 'giving all diligence' so we are to work hard to build upon the foundation of faith granted to us. Incidentally, this seems to be exactly opposite the Arminian way of thinking. Yet Peter says we obtained it using a Greek word, langkano: to get by lot or receive. Now having obtained this faith, he tells us to get busy adding to the foundation of a faith now ours, by our very life.
And we are to begin this work in cleaning up our dirty lives by moral excellence - virtue. Virtue is a moral power of a pure and holy living even to praiseworthiness. Once, before faith, we lived in the deadness of our sin. But now, having been granted faith, we are to repent of all our wicked ways, and with all our being - pursue holy living to the point of praiseworthiness. Not that we seek the praise of others, but of God. I am reminded of Job, and how it was God who sought to boast in his life - even when the adversary sorely afflicted him.
Our virtuous life then leads to knowledge. One might ask, why is knowledge not first? Do not we need to know God before life begins? Good questions, but Peter would not instruct us to do what we would not have been able to do prior to faith. Also it is well known that some believe knowledge is not only the foundation but the whole pathway to God. We need special knowledge they say - secret knowledge. Gnosticism is ever a danger to the Christian - since faith itself is a mystery - as it comes to the man by external means. And yet knowledge is very important as we can see by Peter’s inclusion of it in the list.
Proverbs tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Brethren, don't be the devils fool. Seek out good instructors and sit at their feet. You may say I have no one to whom I can go. Let me give you a great help at this point. In my earliest days as a believer I carpooled with two older Christian men, who mentored me in the faith. One was my pastor. Pastor Dave told me once, "I read mostly dead men". And then he explained that the works left behind are the gifts granted to us, and as they had already left us, these are tried and trusted sources. Yes - they are from imperfect men - and not all dead men left us blessings, so discernment is necessary. But I urge you to taste the works of old. You may find them meaty - but they will fill your soul with fatness!