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The Eight Graces of 2 Peter

October 20, 2012

“… grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:4.

Part of Christian living is growth, both in body and spirit. It is a lifelong process, the pursuit of grace and virtue. But for some, it may be confusing as to HOW to go about growing in this manner and what is implied in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. What do we gain, what makes it worth the struggle? For those answers, we need look only to the book of 2 Peter.

In the book of John, we are told that knowledge of God and of His son, Jesus, will bring us to eternal life with Him. But what is this knowledge, and how do we use it to “grow in grace” as Peter tells us in his Epistle? “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” – 2 Peter 1:2. As you can see, grace will be upon us if we take the time to know God and Jesus as He told us in John 14: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” – v6. We get to know God through the study of His word, through prayer and worship, and through growth in body and spirit. So, how do we grow?

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” – 2 Peter 1:5-7.

So what’s our first step? Peter kindly laid it out for us in exact order. Faith is our first step toward God. “He that cometh to God must believe.” – Hebrews 11:6. However, a faith that is inoperative is useless. “Faith without works is dead.” – James 2:20. For your faith to have purpose it must be coupled with virtue or courage. Virtue will inspire you to action! There then needs to be knowledge added to your courage. Action without knowledge is fanaticism. A healthy zeal is great, but without knowledge, the results can be disastrous. The Pharisees, for instance, are a great example of zeal without knowledge. They claimed full knowledge and understanding of the law without truly understanding it at all. However, their fanatical zeal of upholding these sacred laws prohibited Jesus from teaching them the truth.  Temperance, or self-control, must then be added to knowledge. To know to do good, and then not do it, is as useless as faith without works. I struggle with this myself. I am a smoker, something that I know that God doesn’t want for me, and yet I struggle to give it up. I try and fail constantly. I have yet to go through with the promises to myself that I will quit and never pick it up again. Self-control is an important step on the path to God. Patience is a natural follow through from temperance. An intemperate person could not possibly be patient. Again, I struggle with patience as well. I’m impatient with my kids, with my job. I haven’t learned temperance yet, so I can’t possibly be patient. Once you learn temperance and patience you are then in the perfect condition to manifest godliness or God-likeness. Having become so, kindness toward your brother, or kindness toward others naturally follows. Charity, or love for all, including your enemies is the crowning grace, the highest step, the final stop in your journey.

As you can see, the arrangement of these steps is not accidental. It is logical and conclusive, clearly inspired knowledge given to us by Peter. And the result of cultivating these 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. And “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” – 2 Peter 1:10. Children learn by doing, and they soon learn that to keep a bike standing up they must keep it moving, otherwise it will fall over unless propped up. A little girl said that there were two words in “good“. They are “go” and “do“. “Let us go on into perfection.” – Hebrews 6:1.

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2012
  1. Thanks for this post. I saw your blog from Blogging for God community in Facebook. Remember all things are possible with God. We must put total 100% trust in God to accomplish anything. Having faith in God will provide and see us through. (

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