After listing the characteristics that must characterize every Christian, Peter described why this process is so important. If we diligently add these characteristics and make them grow, we will not be lacking in the knowledge of Christ. Through this life, we come to know Jesus. As we sacrifice, we can appreciate His greater sacrifice. When we are persecuted or despised, we can understand the one who was the “Man of Sorrows.” When we truly develop brotherly love, we can see how God loves men even when they are unlovable.
By integrating these characteristics in our lives, we will also be useful in God’s service. Imagine the power of a church where each member is diligently building moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love and is abounding in its development. When we integrate these qualities in our lives, we are truly ready for every good work.
Peter contrasts the man who actively seeks to develop these qualities with one who lacks them. The one who lacks these characteristics has lost perspective. Peter says that he is shortsighted, or near sighted. I am near sighted; without glasses or contacts, I can see things up close, but cannot see far away. The spiritually near sighted person has lost his vision of what is of ultimate importance, he cannot see heaven in the distance nor the direction in which his earthly life should lead. He is too concerned with what is in his immediate vision.
Peter further describes the one who lacks these qualities as one who has forgotten that Christ has purged, or cleansed, his old sins. As a Christian, he should be growing, not becoming useless. This person reminds me of the man in Hebrews 10:26 who has turned his back on God and has treated the precious blood of Jesus like something common. He is like the man of Hebrews 6:6 who has turned back on Jesus and has crucified Christ afresh; His sacrifice means nothing. When we remember the price of our salvation, it will encourage us to be diligent to add the qualities of 2 Peter 1.
Peter further encourages his readers to make their calling and election sure. Some consider salvation a sure thing; once saved, always saved. However, this passage, the two from Hebrews cited earlier, and other passages teach that the child of God can be lost. How can we make our calling and election sure if it is, by nature, a sure thing? Why does Peter urge us to add these qualities so we will not stumble if it is impossible to fall? Our calling and election is not sure and we can stumble, therefore we must add these characteristics. It is neither the work itself nor the perfected man that brings salvation, for we are saved by grace. However, we are commanded to grow in Christ and if we draw back we will be lost, Hebrews 10:38-39.
For the diligent Christian this is not a problem for by drawing close to God he assures his home in heaven, v.11. An entrance is abundantly supplied, which conveys the idea of one who is heading to heaven under full power. He is not making it to the finish line in a slow trot but is busting through the tape at full speed. If we are diligent to add these qualities and to make them abound, we will be what God created us to be and travel our set course at maximum speed.