Let's Not Ignore "For This Very Reason"
May 10, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
This is part three in a multi-part series on Peter’s “road map” he gives for gospel growth in 2 Peter 1. Like many of you, I long to be effective and fruitful, especially in my spiritual life. Peter promises in the midst of this chapter, “if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful…” My interest is peaked. Let’s discover together Peter’s path of gospel growth.
The center-piece of Peter’s roadmap for gospel growth is the list of virtues in verses 5-7. It’s of these qualities that Peter states, “They keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). If you’re anything like me, you want to dive into that list and understand how they might be “yours and increasing.” I want to be effective and fruitful. But I want us to consider the opening words of verse 5 before we dig into the list.
Peter starts by saying, “For this very reason…” For what reason? And what difference does this make for our list?
Peter has just finishing talking about what God has done for us through Jesus. The complex sentence of verses 3 & 4 digs deeper and deeper into God’s gracious work on our behalf. Let me try to highlight the levels that are dug.
Level 1: God’s power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
Means: Through the knowledge of Christ who called us to his own glory and excellence.
Level 2: Christ has given to us his precious and very great promises.
Means: By his glory and excellence.
Level 3: We become partakers of the divine nature.
Means: Through the promises of Christ.
Side benefit of this divine work: We have escaped the corruption that is in the world.
In other words, through faith in Christ (knowledge of Christ) and his precious promises, God has given us everything for God-honoring living so that we may become partakers of the divine nature. That is astonishing grace!
Now we come to Peter’s transition: “For this very reason.” What reason? God is utterly gracious and kind and abounding in steadfast love and provisions. In an underwhelming manner, theologians call these the indicatives. They are statements of what God has done for us. Statements of truth.
What difference does this make on the command in verse 5? The logical order makes a world of difference. The statements of truth in verse 3 & 4 are not conditioned on the command of verse 5. It’s the other way around. The command is dependent on the statements of truth. In the gospel, indicatives always come before the imperatives.
We make every effort to add these virtues in our life because
God has already given us everything for godliness and life.
Christ has called us.
Christ has given us his promises.
God is making us partakers of his divine nature.
We have already escaped the corruption of sinful desire.
Therefore, we can say the “effort” we are to make is the effort created and empowered by God’s work in our life. That’s good news. That’s encouraging news.
Now we’re ready to dive into that list of virtues… next week.