Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Faith and Goodness (2 Peter 1:1-11)

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness" (2 Peter 1:5).

One goal of the Christian life is to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4). Peter tells us that if we want to accomplish this goal, we must make every effort to add to our faith goodness. His extensive list provides more than sufficient means to battle our sinful desires, but we will focus on the first two today.

The first thing we notice about this passage is that faith comes first and goodness second. We learn from this, and from other passages, that faith is the foundation on which all other virtues are built. Without faith, good works and good fruit have no benefit. Many people try to live a “good” life, thinking they will enter heaven because of their own efforts, but Paul tells us this is foolish because no one on earth is good. Our “goodness” is nothing but filthy rags before the holy throne of God. The only thing that merits eternal life is the good work of Christ, which is obtained through the gift of faith.

Good deeds must be characterized by external conformity to the demands of the law and inward motivation to please God. While an unbeliever can perform external deeds in conformity with God’s law, he cannot conform inwardly. The natural man hates God and is motivated to good works only for selfish reasons, not by a love for the holiness and excellency of Christ. Only when God changes the heart and gives fallen people the ability to embrace Christ can they truly perform good works with an inward desire to please God.

True faith not only believes in Christ, but also embraces Him and submits to His will. It brings the will of the creature in bondage to the will of Christ, thus setting him free from the bondage of sin. Faith trusts in Christ for eternal life and for the capacity to obey His commands. A Christian walks by faith when he obeys Christ’s commands. As the Christian grows in goodness, he does not look to his works as the basis for his entry into heaven, but he continues to look to Christ with faith, trusting Him for all things. As you grow in faith, you will grow in goodness and conformity to God’s law, externally and inwardly.

How can you make every effort to add to your faith goodness? Do not fall into the trap of trying to earn your salvation. Ask God to increase your faith, to look to Christ in everything you do. Do you skimp on adding to your faith goodness? If so, ask God to help you bear good fruit and honor Him.