This series is an examination of 2 Peter 1:5-8. In these verses we are provided with divine guidance through the teaching of the apostle concerning how we are to not only survive but thrive at the very end of the end times. Last time we looked at the opening phrase in v. 5, “Now for this very reason…”. This phrase roots what Peter is going to say in these verses in the work of Jesus which, through the exercise of faith alone, provides the believer with everything needed for life and godliness (v. 3).
Verse 5 continues “…make every effort to supplement your faith…”. The word “supplement” (ESV), “supply” (NASB), “add” (KJV, NIV) is a command. Clearly, the exercise of simple faith in Jesus is just the beginning. Having been called and saved Peter commanded His readers to build on this foundation. Some might object that this was a call to add works to faith. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Peter’s command to add to their faith was firmly rooted in the facts that they had received everything they need now (v. 3), and that they also possessed incredible promises for the future (v. 4). This is not a call to add works to faith for salvation but rather a call to engage in sanctification. They are to build on the foundation of faith that they have already received.
Dangerous times demand swift and decisive action. Therefore, Peter urged that they “make every effort”. This means spiritual growth, especially at the end of the end times, is going to be hard work. The Greek word spoude behind this phrasecarries the sense of speed, haste, or zeal in carrying this out the command to build on their faith. Peter therefore told his readers that now was the time of action. Furthermore, the call to action means that they needed to take responsibility for building on their faith. It was up to them to move from the spiritual infant (1 Cor. 3:1) or spiritually dull (Heb. 6:11-12) stage. God had, as verses 1-4 made clear, provided them with everything they needed to grow. So, their only excuse for not building on their foundation of faith they had was their own disinterest or lethargy.
The first item in the apostolic end-times survival guide was to reflect on the reality and riches our our salvation. The second item is to resolve to give energy and resources to pursuing spiritual growth. I have found that this means that I have had to find and set apart time for spiritual growth. My future, eternal rewards (1 Cor. 3:14-15, 2 Cor. 5:10) depend upon how I use time today. Since eternity is at stake getting up early, staying up late, forgoing excessive time on social media, or wasting time on excessive entertainment have been small sacrifices for me that have yielded a rich harvest of spiritually productive time.
This has also meant that I have had to learn how to more actively engage scripture. Bible reading is a great habit. Listening to podcasts or Youtube videos of trusted teachers can be edifying. But these are essentially passive activities. Learning requires an active engagement with truth. I find that I need to get a pencil, a notebook, a bible and actively engage with scripture. This means asking questions and searching out answers; writing down what I think a verse, paragraph, chapter, or book means; figuring out how to discipline myself to life by its truth; then passing it on to others.
Besides reprioritizing my time and actively engaging in scripture I have also found that in order to “make every effort” I need a group of trusted friends who can encourage me, spur me on when I need it, and provide me other perspectives and ideas concerning the Christian life.
What does “make every effort” look like in your life?