For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
Becoming a Christian is a free gift of grace. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We were dead in our sins and God breathed spiritual life into us. Salvation is of the Lord. But growing as a believer involves the power of the Holy Spirit in us and our personal commitment, desire, and discipline to grow.
Peter's challenge in these verses is to "add" Christian virtues to the gift of faith. As an infant grows and develops into maturity, so must the believer grow and develop spiritually. Peter lists the characteristics and actions that should be a part of the spiritual maturation process.
The Christian is not to simply "let go and let God." We are to be active partners in the work of God in the world and in the work of God in our lives. Jerry Bridges, using the analogy of a farmer, explains this "joint venture" well:
"Farming is a joint venture between God and the farmer. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.
"We can say just as accurately that the pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us."
Father, thank You for making it possible to walk in holiness. Remind me every day of my responsibility to do the walking. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (NavPress, 1996), 9.