1. HOW does the apostle Peter close his second epistle?
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18.
4. By what may we be partakers of the divine nature?
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4.
5. What graces are we to add in our character building?
“Add to your faith virtue [courage]; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance [self-control]; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” Verses 5-7.
NOTES.-Faith is the first round in the Christian ladder, the first step Godward. ” He that cometh to God must believe.” Heb. 11:6.
But an inoperative faith is useless. “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:20. To be of value, there must be coupled with faith that virtue, or courage of conviction, which impels to action.
To courage there needs to be added knowledge; otherwise, like the stumbling Jews, one may have a zeal, “but not according to knowledge.” Rom. 10:2. Fanaticism is the result of such courage, or zeal. Knowledge, therefore, is an essential to healthy Christian growth.
To knowledge there needs to be added temperance, or self-control– self-government. See Acts 24:25, American Standard Version, and margin of Revised Version. To know to do good, and not do it, is as useless as is faith without works. See James 4:17. Instead of temperance, the Twentieth Century New Testament invariably says self-control.
Patience naturally follows temperance. It is well-nigh impossible for an intemperate person to be patient.
Having gained control of oneself, and become patient, one is in a condition to manifest godliness, or God-likeness.
Having become godly, kindness toward the brethren, or brotherly kindness, naturally follows.
Charity, or love for all, even our enemies, is the crowning grace, the highest step, the eighth round, in the Christian ladder.
The arrangement in this enumeration of graces is by no means accidental or haphazard, but logical and sequential, each following the other in natural, necessary order. The finger of Inspiration is seen here.
6. What is said of charity in the Scriptures?
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; . . . thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8. “Love covereth all sins.” Prov. 10:12.
7. What is charity called?
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:14.
8. What is the result of cultivating these eight graces?
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8.
9. What is the condition of one who lacks these graces?
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” Verse 9.
10. What is promised those who add grace to grace?
“If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Verse 10.