Building a Christ-Like Character 2 Peter 1:5-11

Building a Christ-Like Character 2 Peter 1:5-11

          Remember in v. 1-4, Christ has given us all we need for life and godliness. Verses 5- 8 give us a job description for the believer in building a godly character (building on each other). Peter is about to be executed. Peter’s intent in these verses, knowing the future, was so we would never forget. 

8 qualities are listed.  There are other passages that deal with the context of specific character qualities. 1 Cor. 13 is given in the context of love and spiritual gifts. Gal. 5:22 is given in the context of the fruit of Holy Spirit.

This list is given in the context of external persecution and internal false deception.

I.  The Potential for Building Christian Character. v.5 

“make every effort” (means along side someone) same word is used in 2 Pet. 1:10 and 2 Pet. 3:14

“if” mentioned in verses 8-10

“add” the idea is that of a supplement (everything is based on the previous quality; like climbing a ladder)

          A.  Internal development

1. Goodness (idea of virtue or moral excellence or the practical discrimination of what is good and not good) Titus 3:8

2. Knowledge (of God and His Word) You can’t approve the good unless you have knowledge of the truth. This is your internal knowing. Not that you understand everything but that you know who you have believed. Ps. 9:10 “those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

3. Self-control or temperance (implies being masterful. It is used many times to controlling your appetite). We must be moderate in using the good things of natural life like food, drink, clothes, recreation.

4. perseverance or patience. This means “to remain under waiting with a sense of hope.” James 1:4,  Rom 5:3-4 (complaining to God – remember the Israelites murmuring in the desert).

5. Godliness or committed to live it. This is the experiencial presence of God working in your life. This is not meant to imply a monastic lifestyle but, as you live, you know when it is time to be serious and when it is time to laugh, when it time to rejoice and when it is time to cry. Godliness is a state of being.

          B. External Expression

1. Brotherly kindness (philadelphian)

2. Love (agape) Col 3:14

II. The Plan of Building Christian Character v. 8-9

This plan is contingent on 2 things. You must:

  1. possess them  (if they exist)
  2. they must be growing in you. Is there evidence of increase?

Without these qualities, you will be ineffective (useless like a barren empty field) and unproductive (unfruitful), nearsighted (can’t see the far greater picture). This word is only here in the NT and implies a blinking of the eyes and even worse blindness. Note the progression of spiritual loss. The context  seems to indicate that these persons previously knew but were now blind.   

III. The Promise of Building Christian Character v. 10-11

“eager to make” root word as in v. 5 (to make the plan along side someone-the Lord) (faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, brotherly-kindness, love) =  your calling and election  is sure. Receive- same word in v. 5 for “add”

  1. You will never fall (stumble)
  2. You will have a rich and abundant reward.

  God doesn’t want you to limp across the finish line in complete exhaustion.  

Principles for Living

1.      The qualities of Christian character are built in us over time.

2.      The qualities of Christian character are either growing or they are in stages of decay.

3.      The qualities of Christian character provide absolute security both now and in eternity.



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