~~Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, August 15, 1782
I read this yesterday, and wanted to share it with you all, as I participate in Jean's meme, Word for Wednesday.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.I put the phrase "for this very reason" in bold, to bring out a fact that can be so easily missed as we read this verse. Peter charges us to add to our faith virtue, and so on and so forth. It is the human tendency to suddenly take such charges as some sort of legalistic charge, to work something up that we don't have, that we may gain something from God. But according to the context -- specifically, the first portion of the chapter, Jesus Christ, by His glory and power has already given these things to those who have put their faith in Him (after all, don't virtue, knowledge, self-control, etc. pertain to "life and godliness"?). This fact makes sense when we also notice that Peter says to add to our faith.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, these things must be exercised diligently, as this passage exhorts us. We do not simply wait for a lightning bolt from the sky, and *BANG!* we are filled with everything from virtue to brotherly love.
One of the interesting things about God is that He always wants the submission of the will of man. He is not satisfied with outward works, with grudging concessions; rather, he wants the will and the heart of man. It is even more interesting to think along this line, keeping in mind that God created man as a "free-will creature." The original purpose, it seems, for the creation of man, was the voluntary service and willing worship of beings fully capable of reason, of choice, and of love.
And as we see in this passage, love is the end and aim of all things.
"Love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10
"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8
Well, there is your Word for Wednesday!