“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8, ESV).
The Apostle Peter indicates in these verses that Christians can be ineffective! I’m sure you’ve heard of an ineffective employee or an ineffective manager, but an ineffective Christian?
“Ineffective” simply means not producing results, not productive–or as Peter defines it for Christians, not fruitful.
An ineffective employee doesn’t produce results. An ineffective Christian doesn’t bear fruit.
Ineffective employees become effective by doing their jobs better. And, to do a better job, employees must practice skills that help them be more productive in their jobs.
Peter says the same is true for Christians. Christians must practice the qualities mentioned in these verses in order to help them be fruitful as Christians: to faith add moral excellence, to moral excellence add knowledge, to knowledge add self-control, to self-control add patient endurance, to patient endurance add godliness, to godliness add brotherly affection, and to brotherly affection add love for all people.
To continue to be a fruitful Christian, you must continually practice these qualities. Because if these qualities are not increasing in your Christian life, then you are at risk of becoming ineffective, unproductive, unfruitful: “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (vs. 9).
But, if you practice these qualities you will never fall away (vs. 10). And, just like the effective employee who receives a raise and a promotion, the effective Christian will be also receive a reward and a promotion: “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (vs. 11).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV)