the culmination and capstone of the virtues: love

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1

On Discover the Word, there was a quite good conversation on this passage (from a good series: “The Wisdom of Peter“), and on how the virtues which we’re to add to our faith, seem to be in a logical sequence, even if a lot of the commentators think that to be beside the point. I share this program on my Facebook, and have found it to be a good conversation in the study and application of God’s word. In this study we see that the result of the life in God given to us by faith, which we are called to be diligent in ourselves, is a life that ends in love. But it’s important to see the entire context, and note all the virtues which we’re to add to our faith along the way.

Let me say that even if the sequence is not the point in the passage, these virtues together, are. And it seems to me that ending with love in this case is not a list from the greater to the lesser, but rather a list meant to be seen together, with love as the result, indeed culmination and capstone of this exercise in our lives. And let me add, this is ongoing. We should be more and more known for love, since we are doing these things from the power that is ours in the divine life in and through Christ.

Maybe we’re not people of the Book, but rather people of the Lord, people of God. But the Book helps us to God, and to live out the gospel since its every fulfillment is in Jesus, and points to that end. We need to be those who meditate on scripture day and night (Psalm 1). And this passage is a prime example why. Today there seems to be a departure by professing believers from the word, away from scripture. This, I’m afraid, is not a case of the slippery slope, but rather more like abandoning faith altogether. Surely the good news is in the saving events of God in Jesus. But the word is the source from which we learn of such events. And the word is uniquely from God, and it’s to our loss if we don’t make it a center piece of our faith.

Love is the end, and a love that is from and like the love of God. Where all true love comes from, and where we find its perfection. And given to us to work into our lives, so that we more and more respond to such love, and grow in that love worked into our own character in and through Jesus.

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