#720. RESOLUTION 2. ADD GOODNESS (2/1/23)
As we enter 2023, many of us may be thinking about our own resolutions for the new year. In this 5-day Bible study, we will focus on God's resolutions - His will - for us in the coming year. Our devotions will be based primarily on Peter's words from 2 Peter 1:3-9, where he encourages believers to make every effort to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to their faith. By seeking to align our lives with God's will and cultivating these virtues, we can more fully live out our faith and experience the blessings of following God's plan for our lives.
‘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.’ (2 Peter 1:5-9)
Summary: God wants us to resolve to be diligent in our growth in goodness (moral virtue).
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FOR THIS REASON MAKE EVERY EFFORT
Peter urges believers to ‘make every effort…’ to grow in maturity and Christlikeness. This kind of talk makes some people nervous, but its Biblical language. Peter, later in this book says something very similar about making every effort in our growth:
‘But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.; (2 Peter 3:13-14)
Terry Virgo writes:
‘The second phrase is ‘make every effort’. Many people drift through their Christian lives disappointed with their personal fulfilment or enjoyment. They perhaps find their way to the front of the meetings at the conclusion of service after service, hoping that all their problems might be resolved by somebody praying for them. It has never occurred to them that maybe the reason for this disappointment is that they are simply not obeying this word of Peter’s, - ‘make every effort’! They had simply allowed themselves to become lethargic.’ (Terry Virgo, God’s Lavish Grace)
However, before urging us to make every effort, he uses the phrase: 'for this very reason...' Yes, we are to be diligent in our pursuit of growth, but this effort is by faith in Christ; we humbly rely on God's 'divine power' and 'His precious promises.'
One of God’s resolutions for us is that we make every effort to add goodness (areté) to our faith. Our Christian lives are to be good lives. What does this mean? Goodness is moral virtue. Now, as we shall see in the next study, to understand what goodness is we must add ‘knowledge’ to our faith. Christians should be exemplary in being ’salt and light’ as we seek to promote goodness and hinder evil through our example and through whatever influence we have.
OUR GOODNESS SUBSTANTIATES OUR FAITH
Our lives are to show what God is like and the wisdom of His word. Goodness substantiates our faith:
‘Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’ (1 Peter 2:11-12)
‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:14-16)
Are we making every effort to become good? Will we make this a resolution? When we have a choice to ‘go the extra mile’ will we do so?