Discipline, Self-Control, and Moral Excellence

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8

In the verses preceding those above, Peter tells us that “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” are given to us by Jesus. Because of all that is ours in Christ (salvation), Peter tells us to do the following:

Giving all diligence, add to your faith – this is striving with maximum effort, a result of self-discipline, to enhance your belief in the word of God (faith) with the following 7 excellent qualities:

  • Virtue is moral excellence.  The characteristic in your life that allows you to stand out as a godly individual. The model of moral excellence is Christ, and virtue is a product of sanctification.
  • Knowledge is spiritual discernment, insight, and understanding of the truth in the word of God. This is required to pursue moral excellence.
  • Temperance is self-control. This is to not allow the desires of the flesh to direct your thoughts and actions, the opposite of lustful indulgence. Temperance is essential to Christian living, otherwise, we are no different than the Pagans.
  • Patience is perseverance and endurance under temptation without succumbing. This patience never gives in to difficulty or sin.
  • Godliness is reverence for God.  This is a practical awareness of God in every area of life. Godliness is at the heart of moral excellence.
  • Brotherly Kindness is loving your neighbor. This is the second most important commandment!
  • Charity is love, which is the greatest virtue and the most important commandment! Love of God results in love for our brother, and our attainment of the other six qualities.

If these things are evident in your life, then you will be an effective witness to the truth and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift from God, but becoming a mature, exemplary disciple of Jesus requires effort.

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