In the preceding verse we have been welcomed to become partakers of the divine nature. This is an invitation to koinonia (fellowship) with the Trinity, bound together by holy love. Then the conversation turns to our response.
For this reason...
We are to become active participants in the work of God and this means that we have certain practices that help us to develop spiritually. Some would call these the practices of virtue.
Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. (Yes, this definition is brought to you by Wikipedia)
In other words, because we are called into fellowship with God, we are called to moral excellence. And this, says Peter, begins by adding to our faith. Faith is the foundation on which everything is to be built. We are to have a life that steps out in faith, believing and trusting in that which we cannot see. At the same time, it is the cultivation of a relationship that is very real.
For this reason we are to begin with faith, but we must add to this the virtue of goodness. Christians are called to be good people. The world should know Christians by their goodness — the ways in which they interact with others. This should include a spirit of generosity and goodwill toward others in the world.
Once this virtue is developed, we are to add the virtue of knowledge. Far too often I have heard knowledge and education condemned in Christian circles. Some have come to believe that too much education will destroy people and therefore it’s better to go without. Now, there is a difference between education and knowledge, knowledge being the result of the application of one’s education. Education does not always have to be formal, but can be informal, as we embrace becoming life-long learners.
Having a self-discipline of study will help cultivate the virtue of knowledge. In the early days of the holiness movement the lay leaders of the church were voracious readers. Nearly every one was a theologian as they were willing to wrestle with the deep truths of the faith. We have traded this for a lighter version of Christianity that we can pick up on the fly. We are losing the virtue of knowledge and this will be damaging to the church.
For this reason — because I am a partaker of the Divine Nature — I must give of myself to practice the virtues, and to practice becoming more like Jesus Christ. At the same time, grace poured out by the holy love found in the Trinity is at work on me. Something synergistic happens and God’s children are continually transformed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Christlike disciples are those who practice the virtues.
Lord, please help me to give of myself for the life you have placed before me. Amen.
This post was written by Rev Carla Sunberg. You can find her original post here: reflectingtheimage.blogspot.com/2018/07/for-this-reason.html