For the last few posts we’ve been talking about our calling to salvation from the Lord. We’ve noted that God’s calling to eternal life is both generous and inclusive of everyone, but we’ve also noted that as Jesus put it, (Matthew 22:14) “…many are called, but few are chosen.” Staying called and chosen is something that we should be giving focus to, because baptism isn’t a “one and done” kind of thing; and salvation, despite the fact that it is by grace, does take some effort on our part (2 Pet. 1:10 & Php. 2:12). Last week we focused on moral excellence, this week “knowledge” (2 Pet. 1:5).
2 Peter 1:5 “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,”
“Knowledge” can be understood in a number of ways in the Bible, but in the New Testament the word is always referring to head knowledge (as opposed to a “Adam knew Eve”, a personal relationship). So, part of our making our calling and election sure (KJV) is supplying knowledge of God’s word to our Christian walk.
Knowledge is sometimes minimized even by religious people. They have faith in what their leaders say it says, or they find the Bible lengthy and sometimes hard to understand, or they read the Bible once and they got everything out of it that they think they’ll ever need. So even though the Bible remains a perpetual best seller on book lists, it is probably one of the least read proportionally.
What a shame. Jesus criticized the Sadducees in midst of a discussion on the resurrection saying, “…You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). And lack of knowledge is usually the root of much false teaching (2 Peter 3:16). God’s truth isn’t something that you can make up as you go, like a story-teller “spins a yarn”. The Bible’s teachings are truths inspired from God Himself and they are important for us to know.
Why? Biblical teachings, taken as the inspired word of God, form and inform our perceptions about the spiritual world beyond our ability to see with the eye. They teach us what is solidly true in the spiritual reality, which we can then believe with confidence. Confidently believing these truths, we then behave accordingly; our beliefs naturally will issue forth in what we do, how we worship, whether or not we persevere, how we will live, what our priorities will be, whether we stay encouraged, and how serious we get about full, committed discipleship.
Worldly knowledge or false knowledge will also work this way. For instance, if we believe (like many in the world) that there is no God, we’ll live sinfully with little or no conscience. If we believe that saints will intercede for us, we’ll ignore Jesus the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). If we believe that God is like a doting grandfather, we’ll take sinful advantage of God’s grace (and find ourselves unforgiven in the end). If we believe that God likes everything that we like, we’ll offer Him all kinds of inappropriate things as “worship”.
So, yeah, supplying knowledge is pretty crucial to making our “calling and election sure” (to quote the KJV). And that is done through reading His word, certainly; but let me also suggest meditating on it, discussing it with others, and asking important questions of ourselves about how the Scriptures teach me, reprove me, correct me, and train me for righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16,17).