Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

If…

2 Peter 1.8

For if these things are yours and abound, youwill beneither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Story: Whenever we come upon a conditional clause like this (“if”), we need to ponder it carefully. As Peter understood the life of faith, the knowledge of Jesus Christ is supposed to lead to fruitfulness in Him (cf. Matt. 7.20). If we say we know the Lord, then that knowledge of Christ should be apparent in the virtues coming forth from us. So Peter says, “If…” Unless these virtues of godliness and love are in us and increasing, we are going to be unfruitful for the Lord. And an “unfruitful Christian” is a contradiction in terms, as the writer of Hebrews observes (6.1-9). That “If…” looms really large, because it implies an “if not…” on the obverse: If there is no evidence of these qualities, or if we have become stagnant in our growth, such that we are not bearing fruit, to what will we point to justify our claim of being a servant and apostle of Christ?

The Structure: Peter’s language sounds almost like unfruitfulness is the “natural inclination” or bent of many who claim to be followers of Christ. Something needs to be happening in us to “keep” us from falling into that natural state. But what needs to happen is in our power to determine. We must take up the means of growth and apply ourselves to escaping the downward drift of our souls into unfruitfulness. The witness of the Christian community today would be greatly strengthened “if” only more believers took Peter’s words to heart.

How do you encourage your fellow believers to grow in the knowledge and virtues of the Lord (Heb. 10.24)?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Getting on with the Life of Faith: 2 Peter 1,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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