Virtue and holiness

May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.
2 Peter 1:2-4 (NET)

My Dad used to tell me, “Son, nothing in life is free. Everything comes at a cost.” Boy is he right. Everything comes with such a big price tag. Thirty year loan for a house, half a year’s wages for a car, eight hours a day (or more) for work, time and effort invested into hobbies. Then there are the taxes and bills to pay, groceries to buy, the overgrown weed infested backyard to mow. All so that we can live life. Sounds like we’re giving more than we’re getting.

If you think this applies just to tangible things, think again. It is is even more applicable to intangible things – generosity cost us time and money, patience cost us immediate gratification, self-control costs us our freedom. The more virtue we want, the more we pay. The more we desire Christ-likeness, the more it cost us. Discipleship is not a simple or cheap endeavour (Luke 14:25-33).

So when a letter starts with “grace and peace be lavished on you”, that really gets my attention. Simon Peter’s then says things like “bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness” and “bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises”. Now, that gets me excited! Free stuff, that I like.

Look at what Christ has already accomplished for us, we’re not starting our discipleship journey with nothing. We’re starting off with the foundation that Christ has already laid. This deal is rigged! When we abide in Christ (John 15:5-8), we will have “everything necessary for life and godliness”. We don’t just get salvation (justification), we get the tools, ability and supernatural power for daily Christ-likeness and virtue for our daily living (sanctification)!

We get all that, just by growing in the “rich knowledge” of experiencing Christ (Greek: epignosis). Not because we’ve earned the right to abide in Him, but because he has “bestowed on us”. In fact, we can’t even boast that we choose to be with Christ in the first place because it was He who “called us by his own glory and excellence”. We didn’t choose Him, He called us. And because we were called by Him, we receive God’s “precious and most magnificent promises” – Christ himself. We get to join in His “divine nature” – to fellowship intimately with God, to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and to be Christ-like. All this is already complete in our salvation; our escape from our sinful nature.

Man, that is an insanely good deal. Just remember that it wasn’t free, the cost was paid on the cross.

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