Here are some recent thoughts that I jotted down for a devotional I recently gave at Ellerslie. Just some brief observations of the 8 virtues which Peter lists, which ought to be in us and abounding . . .
2 Peter 1:5-7
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 agape.
We must begin by furnishing a place for God to display His attributes. One must begin with faith, which alone accesses the benefits of God’s nature, faith then procures the oomph of virtue which puts an engine in our vehicle. The first of the virtues added to faith and virtue is knowledge; in essence you must have a compass directing you to your destination. For the Christian, the knowledge which our compass and our map brings us does not lead us merely to a place, but to a person; our destination is Christ. Temperance is like train tracks for the vehicle, and it guides this knowledge of our destination and it governs it, so that no matter what short-cuts present themselves (or how alluring those short-cuts may seem), the soul takes the path that God has ordained.
Patience or endurance is added to all this in order to give the grit and determination to, in the end, arrive; but godliness must be quickly added. Godliness is not simply “god-likeness,” rather it ought better to be understood as worshipful devotion to one’s god. Someone could have all these other virtues, but if they are merely trudging a path (knowing where they are going, not veering from the path and plodding faithfully along) they reveal that the destination is not of great worth to them; true eusebeia is demonstrated in the gold rush of 1849, men abandoning all other pursuits in order to get to where the gold is. How you run a race matters. For an example of this, enjoy this video that has been floating around:
But this attribute is then followed by brotherly kindness, for as we walk this way we will find others along this path, going to the same destination, and we must spur one another onward towards our goal and our prize. Above all, this philadelphia love is shown by the body of Christ, because Christ is our brother born for adversity; He carried the burden of travelling this way, enables us to travel this way, and gives us the gift of brother’s in the faith to both bolster our waning strength and to be an opportunity for us to be Christians (i.e. little-Christs) by bearing each others’ burdens.
Finally, we arrive at what might be called our destination . . . agape. The Christian’s pilgrimage is both bringing nigh the Kingdom of God (which is marked by agape) and journeying to that Heavenly City where all is pure love and loveliness.