In 2 Peter 1, Peter reminds believers to be actively involved in their own sanctification. After the new birth, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit. However, each believer is also called upon to add to his faith the various virtues listed in verses 5-7. Those who heed his inspired admonition will not become spiritually blind, short-sighted, or forgetful of the cleansing God has provided through Jesus. But the end result is that “the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (NASB). What exactly does that mean?
The people to whom Peter wrote would have understood this better than us today. The abundant entrance placed an image in their minds of heroes returning from a victory. “Heroes from the Olympic games were welcomed back to their home cities in a spectacular way. They were not brought through the regular city gate, but through a special one constructed for the occasion.”1 The question is not whether each athlete was allowed back into the city, but how he would enter. All were allowed back into the city, but only the victorious heroes were given the extra special welcome. This puts Peter’s admonition into perspective. Those Christians who followed his admonition and faithfully added these virtues to their lives would become useful to the Lord. Someday, they will be given a special welcome into the kingdom of our Savior, Jesus Christ. What could be better than hearing the Lord himself greeting us with “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
The Christian who has responded to Peter’s appeal and who has been giving all diligence to living a full Christian life, does not die full of regrets at his failures and shortcomings; he is rather one who can say with Paul, as he views the end, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown.’ That is the way the true Christian dies. He has been giving this diligence, he has been living the life, so he does not feel guilty; he does not feel that he has been wasting his time. He does not say, ‘If only I could go back, I would go back, I would be better.’ There are no bitter regrets, he is sure of ‘the abundant entrance.’ He is not just saved ‘as by fire.’2
But those believers who do not add these virtues to their faith will have a miserable time here on earth. Their spiritual laziness will lead to spiritually blindness where they cannot discern what is right. They will become so short-sighted that they live only for the moment, not thinking toward the future joy of Jesus welcome in heaven. And the worst result will be that they will forget what Jesus has done for them. What a terrible thought! It is no surprise that this type of Christian is described as useless. Sadly, if that believer does not repent and follow Peter’s admonition here, he will miss out on the abundant entrance prepared for those who have faithfully co-operated with the Holy Spirit in adding these spiritual virtues. When the useless Christian enters the kingdom, his head will be bowed in shame.
Be faithful, dear Christian brothers and sisters, and keep your eyes on the reward that lies ahead for all faithful Christians both now and in the future.
1 Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., First & Second Peter, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1977), 100.
2D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), 51.