But the Christian life is not just faith, goodness, moral self-control, steadfastness and affection. All of this leads us to its fullness, that is, love. Love is more than all of these things. Love is the fullness of the Christian life.
Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian life. But faith is to be a dynamic, active reality in our lives. It is through faith that we come to know and to desire goodness, that is, the desire to live morally good lives in accord with God’s law. Goodness added on to our faith causes us to develop self-control. As we grow in our capacity for self-control, we develop the habit of steadfastness, or perseverance. We are more able to face life’s challenges then with more patience and enduring strength.
As we develop these virtues we grow in godliness, that is, in holiness. We become more like Christ. As we become more like Christ, we begin to look at each other with new eyes. We begin to treasure one another. Our affection for one another becomes more enduring and more sincere. When this happens, we are truly growing in the Christ life.
But the Christian life is not just faith, goodness, moral self-control, steadfastness and affection. All of this leads us to its fullness, that is, love. Love is more than all of these things. Love is the fullness of the Christian life, because only when we love as Jesus loved will we be able to forgive one another, to heal one another, according to the will of God. What is love? Paul gives us an answer to that question: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8) This, then, is the fullness of the Christian life. Because we have faith, and in that faith we are working on goodness, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, and our mutual affection for one another, we are coming to know God and to participate in his love. When we learn to live in and through the love of Christ, we will be living the Christian life that Jesus has called us to live.
Lord, increase our faith. Help us to desire and to practice all of the virtues that Peter, through your Holy Spirit, has shown us here in this passage. It is our deepest desire to know you, to love you, and to serve you in this world, and to live with you forever in the next. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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