Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NASB
Peter isn’t a legalist. That’s why he says, “Now for this very reason also….” The Christian labors because of Christ’s divine power granted to us, because of Christ’s precious and magnificent promises, because in knowing Christ he has everything needed to live a godly life.
Yet Peter doesn’t preach cheap grace either. Because of everything Christ has done for His followers, they labor hard. Because they truly understand the incredible riches of abundant grace and peace, they give every effort and strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus. They are exhausted from literally giving everything they have to the task.
I’m reminded of the great “death-crawl” scene from Facing the Giants. Christians should give all they have to the task to which they are called.
But to what end?
Spurgeon puts it this way: “As you have seen the mason take up first one stone, and then another, and then gradually build the house, so are you Christians to take first one virtue, and then another, and then another, and to pile up these stones of grace one upon the other until you have built a palace for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.”
The follower of Christ is like a homebuilder. She is constantly building on to the foundation, adding more and more blocks of grace. One block says faith. Other blocks say perseverance or knowledge or self-control or love. Other blocks are not listed here in this section (try comparing the various virtue lists in the New Testament—none of them match and none of them are exhaustive). Once you’ve added the block of faith, you’re not done with that part of the house. You must keep adding more faith on top of the initial block.
And here’s the hardest part—the work never stops. The task is never complete, not in this life anyway. Even if the house is looking pretty good, new levels must be added. Peter says these building blocks are to be ours and ever increasing so that our usefulness to our King and His kingdom is never finished, and so we bear much fruit for His cause.
Ours is a lifelong project for our Master. The eternal privilege of knowing the King Himself makes us want to be useful to Him and His cause. We labor to build a beautiful house for Him, a house of grace built with the finest virtues of our Lord Himself.
How is your house? Falling into disrepair? Are you tired from the task? Is your progress stalled on a particularly tough section? Maybe you are building well and your house is growing.
You know the Master Builder. Find in Him and His promises and His power the strength to work hard with everything you have and keep building today, brick by brick.
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