Life and Death

Bible Book: 2 Peter  1 : 8-15
Subject: Christian Living; Authentic Christianity; Growth
Series: Our Precious Faith

Believers have precious and wonderful promises from God for our life and future, but believer also have responsibilities to God. Each Christian is responsible for his or her growth in Christ-likeness (CIT). Peter urges his fellow-Christians to demonstrate the reality of their own standing with God by growing in the areas outlined in the previous paragraph (in verses 5-7). In this way they will be kept from failure in this life and be welcomed enthusiastically into the Lord’s eternal kingdom (Mt. 25:21–23).

Genuine Christlike character is the only proof (to ourselves as well as to others) of our salvation [Mt. 7:16–21, James 3:2, 1 John 1:7–10; 3:10; Gal. 5:16–25], even though at times we fail miserably. If you aren’t developing the character qualities listed in verses 5-7 maybe you don’t have salvation either. Those who bear evidence to their growing faith will persevere and be assured of their eternal salvation even as their death approaches.

I. Spiritual Sight, 8-9

We have just been instructed to cultivate a vital faith in Jesus Christ and then add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to it. If we make these characteristics increasingly ours we will be fruitful instead of being barren as verse 8 promises. “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [See the message “Precious Promises” by Dennis Davidson on 2 Peter 1: 3-8.]

If these characteristics are not ours, Peter says in verse 9 that we will reap two negative results. “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

The biblical principle is if you don’t sow you don’t reap. The person who does not make spiritual processes in their life faces two dilemmas. First, a non-growing or fleshly Christian is blind or has spiritual myopia [Gk. myōpazōn]. Shortsighted is a kind of blindness which prevents us from seeing ahead into our future. Such blindness is one of the expressions of the deceitfulness of Satan and sin (2 Cor. 4:4). Sin and Satan blind us and prevent us from seeing eternal realities. Sin leads us astray and makes us blind to the glorious possibilities of spiritual development that exist in Christ. [Since one’s life is not evidencing the qualities cited in verses 5–7, he seems to be just like a spiritually blind or unsaved person (2 Cor. 4:4; John 9:39).]

Second, he “has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” How tragic it is to have our sins forgiven by our Lord and then to forget that cleansing forgiveness and live once again in our trespasses and sins. Such people are short-sighted because they cannot look back far enough to remember the sins from which they were cleansed and delivered.

Several years ago a YOUNG HUSBAND forgot that he was married. According to the newspaper account, the day after the newly-weds returned from their honeymoon, the husband was three hours late getting home from the office. Dinner was burned - and his bride was burning mad. He had absentmindedly gone to his mother's house!

That's a humorous story. But when people who belong to the Savior suffer from a similar memory problem, it's not very funny. The apostle Peter reminded those of us who have entered into a relationship with Jesus that we are not what we used to be. God's people have been cleansed from our old sins (2 Pet. 1:9) by the blood of Jesus and we have a new purpose in life.

We who are united to Christ need to remind ourselves continually that we belong to Him, and we are to choose to live for His glory. By studying the Scriptures, communing with the Father, and fellow-shipping with His children, we can avoid losing our spiritual identity.

Believer, you have been spiritually reborn into God's family. Failing to daily remember this new life will result in something far more serious than a burned dinner. Christians who fail to make progress in the Christian qualities just listed are spiritually blind and forgetful of God and the reality of eternity.

As we live there is a great deal of worldly dust that gets into our spiritual eyes of faith. There is no way of clearing out that dust, and gaining eternal insight or developing a sight that can see into heaven, except by growing in that spiritual life which manifests itself in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.


Verse 10 is a call for diligence in seeking to grow in Christian graces. “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

We are to be zealously diligent about the certainty of our spiritual growth. The verb tense stresses urgency. If God has called and chosen you for salvation, He has also called and chosen you to grow in Christ. Man needs to cooperate with the sovereign initiative of God. A believer shows by his godly life and his growth in the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5–7 that he is one of God’s chosen. [Tēn klēsin kaì èklogēn both nouns are introduced by only one definite article. The nouns in such a construction are considered synonyms. Kistemaker, Simon. N.T. Commentary. Peter and Jude. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids. 1987. P. 259.]

The challenge is to make our calling and choosing “certain.” Sure or certain [bebaios] is a legal term for something guaranteed. Bebaian is rendered “secure” (Heb. 6:19), “guaranteed” (Rom. 4:16), “firm” (2 Cor. 1:7), “courage” (Heb. 3:6), “confidence” (Heb. 3:14), and “in force” (Heb. 9:17). [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 865.]

Christians who confirm their calling and choosing [election, KJV] by their Spirit-filled conduct will experience two results. They will spiritually grow “as long as” they pursue or “practice” these characteristics. This growth is the proof that they have been chosen by God [Mt. 7:16–21, Jas 3:2, 1 Jn 1:7–10; 3:10; Gal. 5:16–25]. The next result is that we will “never [oὐ mē] stumble” or fall [ptaísēté]. When we cooperate with God’s sovereign purpose for our life we will never fall away.

We do not stumble when we are giving attention to where we are stepping. We stumble when we become preoccupied with other things and do not pay attention to where we are going.

And so it is with our Christian walk. When we keep our eyes upon Jesus, following Him and practicing diligently the basics of the faith, we need not fear going astray or stumbling. We will not fall away from our relationship with Him [or His church].

Verse 11 teaches that God abundantly responses to man’s diligent faithfulness. “for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

If you do these things, you’ll not only be fruitful in this life, but you will be abundantly rewarded. The believer who follows God’s steps for spiritual growth will find God abundantly supplying [epichorēgeō,] him all he needs to grow. Not only will God supply His faithful pilgrims with abundant spiritual empowering on earth, they will be astonished at the lavish reward awaiting them in heaven at their journey's end (Mt. 25:46).

Newspaper copy editor Robert Manry piloted the SMALLEST SHIP ever to sail the Atlantic Ocean. The voyage aboard the Tinkerbelle was long and difficult. The small craft on a big ocean was so hard to see that he could not afford to sleep in the shipping lanes. The rudder broke several times. He was washed overboard often, saved by the rope he had tied to himself and his 13-foot vessel.

Finally, after 78 days, Manry approached Falmouth, England. He thought only of tying up to some dock, finding a hotel room, and getting some sleep. But an enthusiastic crowd had other ideas. A fleet of about 300 small boats came out to greet him, all blowing their horns in salute. Forty thousand well-wishers lined the docks, cheering him on. What a welcome he received!

Something like that awaits the faithful Christian who has weathered life's storms and has remained true to the Savior. Through all their hardships and trials they have continued to grow in Christlikeness by adding to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (verses 5-7). When these believers finally reach heaven's shore, they will be given an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom where they will come into the Presence of Christ Himself.

Let us hold true to Him through all of life's adversities. The gains of heaven will more than compensate for the losses of earth. [D.C.E. Our Daily Bread.]

What wonders await us in yonder fair land!

The face of our Savior, the touch of His hand,

No tears and no crying, no sighs or despair,

For Jesus is waiting to welcome us there. - Kerr


In spite of the rewards that await, self, sin and Satan conspire to lead us astray from our journey home. Believers therefore need constant reminders of the importance of spiritual progress. In verse 12 Peter exhorts them to remember and obey what he has taught them. “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.

Therefore links this paragraph with what has just been said. Peter is committed to reminding them “of these things,” even though he acknowledges that they “already know them.” These things are the building blocks of Christian character. We have a tendency to fall away from developing them and lose the eternal reward which spiritual growth brings.

Our faith was established when we believed the truth and received Jesus Christ as our Savior. All of these things or characteristics grow out of our relationship with Jesus Christ. God has called and chosen us to walk daily with Christ and develop our relationship with Him. For we are all dependent upon a vital, present-tense relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. We too need to “always be ready to remind” each other of these basic and vital truths. Christian truth needs to be continually taught to safeguard believers in their earthly pilgrimage.

Verse 13 teaches the leaders duty to stir up believers with these truths. “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, Peter was conscious of his lifelong responsibility to urge his friends to grow spiritually. He personally knew the lack of attentiveness common among follower of Christ [when he could not watch and pray for an hour (Mk. 14:37-42)].

Thus Peter’s intent in proclaiming the Word was to refresh (lit., “keep on refreshing,” pres. tense) or stir up their memories as long as he was allowed by the Lord of life to live in the tent of his body [“the earthly tent” and “this tent,” 2 Cor. 5:1, 4].

Stir (Gk deigeirō) is the word that was used for “wake up” or arouse from sleep. Peter’s purpose is to refresh them by reminding them and waking remind them up. He wanted to wake up his friends so that they would be spiritually alert.

Peter is also aware of the faultiness of human memory, of the siren lure of worldly voices and of the constant necessity to be brought back to God’s straight and narrow path. So the preacher must continually stir believers by reminding them of God’s truth.

In verse 14 Peter expresses the transitory nature of our earthly life. “knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.”

Christ made Peter’s death “clear” some say in the conversation recorded in John 21:18-19 or in a subsequent one. It seems more likely that it was a revelation he recently received because he uses the expression that the laying aside is “imminent.” Peter now knew [oída] that his previously predicted death was quickly approaching.

In verse 15 Peter states that he wrote to provide a permanent reminder of Jesus’ teachings. “And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

Peter’s love and concern for these spiritual children goes beyond his earthly life. So here the apostle declares his determination to remind his readers of gospel truth. Knowing that he must soon die, the Holy Spirit moves Peter to finish up some work first.

Death is moving from this earthly life into another life. Departure is the Greek word exodos [used in Luke 9:31 of Jesus’ impending death]. This “exodus” (lit., “going out,” i.e., from this body) contrasts with a believer’s “entrance” into (eisodos, “going into”) God’s kingdom used in verse 11.

The word is reminiscent of the exodus of the children of Israel when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. Peter knew he’d soon leave earth for the ultimate Promised Land- heaven. But before he does, he reminds us of important truths concerning the Word in the next paragraph which we will look at next week in verses 16-21. There he reminds us that men die, but the Word lives eternally.

For now let me just say that Peter wanted those under his pastoral care to be well equipped to continue in the Christian faith without his presence or supervision. He wanted them and us to “be able to call these things” he is teaching “to mind.” He was laboring to complete this second epistle which, when joined with the first, would provide ongoing written testimony of the truths so close to his heart. Peter would also leave behind the gospel of Mark. But not only was Peter leaving behind the eternal Word of God, he was leaving behind eternal sons of God. He was discipling believers like John Mark who would carry on the task of reminding believers of God’s Word long after he went home to be with his beloved Lord Jesus.

Our own personal history or life teaches us the need for being continually reminded, doesn’t it? Have you noticed that often people who experienced the same event have radically different recollections of what happened. An Associated Press article summarized the results of dozens of studies on human memory: “Far from being an indelible recording, human memory is fragile, incomplete, malleable and highly subject to suggestion.”

Memories can change with time. In some cases, people may slightly alter their version of an event with each retelling, much like a fisherman's exaggerated account of "the one that got away." But an objective, factual record can correct the mental wanderings to which we're all susceptible.

Peter wrote a gospel and two letters to give us an accurate, enduring record of God's truth. Our fragile memories need constant refreshing through the unchanging record of God's Word, the Bible. Through this reliable reminder, we can guard our thinking against the subtle drift toward a merely human perspective on life. The Lord's uses His Word to stir up our hearts and minds so that we don't forget His truth.

No matter what kind of memory we have, we need to be reminded of biblical principles. Daily Bible reading, small group studies and involvement in our church will help us to remember God’s vital truths. Then God’s Word will fill your memory, rule your heart and guide your steps. The best way to renew our minds is to read God's Word daily.


Please notice as we close the two words used to convey our earthly departure and our entrance into heaven. The words departure and entrance are the two sides of the same event. Normally we think of departing to enter but that is not the order our text gives. The entering into our heavenly inheritance occurs according to verse 11 before our departure in verse 15. Before we depart this life our heavenly inheritance has already be established. For those who grow in the seven representative Christ-like characteristics of verses 5-7, their entrance into the kingdom has been abundantly supplied.

I pray that your present growth in Christ Jesus is being abundantly supplied to you here and now. Growth not supplied to you here and now cannot be given to you there and then. If you don’t enter into Christ here and now it will not become yours there and then. Seek entrance into the kingdom now as you live life. After you depart it will be too late to seek entrance, and it will also be too late to seek your inheritance. You inheritance is laid up before you depart from this life as you entering into the life of Christ [Christ-likeness] here and now. Fight the good fight of faith so that all Christ desire to give you will be eternally yours.