THESE ARE YOURS: tauta gar humin huparchonta (PAPNPN):
(in you: Jn 5:42 2Co 9:14 13:5 Php 2:5 Col 3:16 Philemon 1:6)
2 Peter 1-8 - Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary -
Christian ever wishes to be barren or unfruitful? Is it not the
aspiration of every branch in the true vine to bring forth much fruit?
For (1063) (gar) is
term of explanation,
a marker showing the cause for something, which should always prompt a
pause to ponder what the author is explaining.
For is at the beginning of each of these verses and introduces a positive and
a negative incentive to grow spiritually. Note that NASB adds "if" to
the translation which suggests that some might not have the qualities
mentioned in (see notes
2 Peter 1:5;
but in fact that is not at all what the word "are"
(see below) indicates as this verb clearly indicates that there is no
doubt about the the reader's possession of these qualities at least in
refers to the possession and progress in the Christian virtues just
delineated. What would you say about a person who evidences
none of these qualities?
John Calvin - "you
will at length prove that Christ is really known by you, if ye be endued
with virtue, temperance, and the other endowments. For the knowledge of
Christ is an efficacious thing and a living root, which brings forth
(huparcho from hupo - under + archê
- a beginning) means to be, to be in existence, involving an
existence or condition both previous to the circumstances mentioned and
continuing after it. Huparcho emphasizes that these
spiritual qualities (2Pe 1:5, 6, 7-see
2 Peter 1:5;
1:7) “belong to”
all Christians at least to some degree and are "at their disposal"
so to speak. The phrase "are
yours" (humin huparchonta)
is a strong expression denoting that which actually exists as one's
Huparcho for example was used of
a property, indicating one owned it and could dispose of it as he
desired (cf of Barnabas' tract of
land Acts 4:37).
The NIV picks us
this truth better than most of the other translations using the word "possess"
would more literally be "continually possessing" ~ their continual
possession whether you feel like it or not). Phillip's paraphrase
also conveys this truth --"If
you have these qualities
These wonderful characteristics of the "divine
nature" (2Pe 1:5, 6, 7-see notes
have become a rightful part of the new creation you are in Christ, not a
mere fleeting manifestation. Maybe you don't feel very "godly" as you
read these words and the enemy is bombarding your mind (that's
where the real "spiritual war" is waged in every saint and that battle
is over truth versus lies, falsehood and error)
with "fiery missiles" saying things like "Who do you think you are?
You're not acting very godly". You need to take those thoughts
captive (2Cor 10:5-note)
and instead let your mind dwell on the truth about you (Php 4:8-note)
- you dearly beloved are a possessor of "godliness".
Now live out the truth you know, for as a man or woman thinks within
themselves so they are (Pr 23:7).
To reiterate, since you have become partakers of the divine nature, all of the qualities
(2Pe 1:5, 6, 7-see notes
2 Peter 1:5;
1:7) and more
reside in you right now no matter how you "feel" (remember
"feelings" can often be deceiving). The truth about you is that the resurrected Christ
now lives in you in the form of the Holy Spirit (Col 1:27-note,
1Co 3:16, 6:19-note).
Peter is exhorting every saint to choose now to allow Him to express
Himself through you. And it is a voluntary choice we must each make and
make each day...many times during the day. God won't force us to deny
ourselves and to set our mind on the things of the Spirit rather than
the things of the flesh. We each must do that. But oh the rewards for
letting the Spirit fill us and control us (Eph 5:18-note,
Gal 5:16-note). The more
we choose as His bondservants to allow Jesus to be the Lord and Master of every area of our life
(see notes on
12:2) the more these qualities will
increase and superabound, bearing much fruit, fruit that remains for
eternity. Why are we so stubborn, hard headed, rebellious and resistant
to the Word and the Spirit when all God wants to do is pour forth
blessing upon our life?!
Wuest adds that huparcho
"refers to an antecedent condition protracted into the present. It
speaks of possession." (Wuest goes on to quote Marvin Vincent)
“In the sense of 'being' the verb is stronger than the simple
einai ‘to be’; denoting 'being' which is from the beginning, and
therefore attaching to a person as a proper characteristic, something
belonging to him, and so running into the idea of rightful possession as
Thus, the possession of the Christian virtues by the believer is a
natural, expected thing by reason of the fact that he has become a
partaker of the divine nature. And they are not a spasmodic possession
either, present one day and absent the next. Indeed, if they were not
present in the life, one could well discount the person’s claim of being
a child of God." (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
If these qualities are not 'yours'' then
be circumspect and consider Paul's serious warning to...
yourselves to see
if you are in the
Or do you not
recognize this about
Christ is in
you--unless indeed you
In this preceding verse ''yourselves'' is
emphatic! How does one assess whether he "fails the test"? There is no
power of Christ in their life over sin, no progressive sanctification,
none of the virtues listed above, no spiritual fruit, etc.
Why should we study these qualities in detail? If we don't
know what they mean how can we even discern whether they are present and
increasing? Also if these character traits reflect the "real thing"
(genuine Christianity being lived out), then we must know
them in order to be able to detect the counterfeit described in the next
AND ARE INCREASING: kai pleonazonta (PAPNPN):
(1Co 15:58; 2Co 8:2; 2Co 8:7 Php 1:9; Col 2:7; 3:16; 1Th 3:12; 4:1; 2Th
from pleion = more) means to
bring forth in abundance, to become more and more so as to be in
abundance and finally to even superabound. The
pictures them as ideally continually increasing. Don't read over this
section too quickly without asking yourself, "Are these qualities truly
increasing in my life or am I in a spiritual rut?" Dearly beloved, life
is too short and eternity too long to not be soberly circumspect and
"brutally" honest with ourselves!
J. Vernon McGee quips
starts multiplying again. Peter is great with mathematics." (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Peter desires that the qualities
(2Pe 1:5, 6, 7-see notes
ought not to be static but to be continually increasing in every
Some believers may feel good that these qualities are seen in themselves
from time to time. But Peter says they should continually (pleonazo is in the present tense =
continuous action) superabound
There are degrees of ownership of these qualities, implying degrees of
productivity in one’s intimacy with Christ. To keep growing in these
qualities, one must practice them in the real life classroom of life.
Lack of spiritual growth in these areas is a sign of spiritual
deterioration. We need to apply all diligence for this is a serious
issue for our spiritual health.
MacArthur explains that increasing means "to have more than is necessary" or "to bring forth in
abundance." There ought to be enough fruit in your life to prove beyond
a shadow of a doubt whom you belong to. God is not interested in a
marginal manifestation. Some Christians will manifest some productivity,
then manifest nothing. However, there should be more fruit in a
believer's life than necessary to prove he is a believer. Many
unbelievers have difficulty understanding Christianity because so many
Christians manifest no fruit. Many people claim to be Christians, but
there's nothing in their life to support their claim."
taught that a disciple should bring forth ''much fruit"
(see discussion below
on "What is fruit according to the Word of God?) for as we bring in a bountiful
crop, we bring glory to our heavenly Father and also prove ourselves to
be His disciples (Mt 5:16-note,
Jn 15:8). If you are
becoming more and more like Jesus Christ (Christ is increasing & you are
decreasing Jn 3:30-note) you have the kind of character and conduct that God
can trust with blessing and are fruitful because you are faithful.
Although these character qualities exist in a seed state in every
believer (we're all complete in Christ and are possessors of His divine
nature), one must continually cultivate them (pull
out the weeds of defilement 2Cor 7:1-note,Jas
water with the Word Eph 5:26-note,
etc) so that they increase and produce fruit that remains (Jn 15:16)
Wuest comments on saints "increasing"
in the fruit of the virtues just mentioned
"The Spirit-filled life
is the overflowing life. It is like an artesian well (click
Artesian Well diagram
to help visualize this great illustration of the "Spirit controlled
Christ life") whose source is higher than its outflow, the outflow being
spontaneous by reason of that fact. The source of the Christian life is
God; the outflow, through the believer. But the Christian life that does
not run over, or overflow with spiritual blessings to others, is never a
source of spiritual refreshment to others. A farmer once said to his
helper who always filled the buckets of grain only three fourths full
when they should have been full, “the buckets are never full until they
are running over.” So a Christian is never filled with the Spirit and
spiritual blessings until his life is running over with the good things
of God, refreshing the lives of others."
YOU: kathistesin (3SPAI):
(they: Jn 15:7,8 2Co 5:13, 14, 15, 17)
When the qualities are increasing the "make you not idle nor
[word study] from katá = down + histemi
= to stand) (Click
word study on ) means literally “to stand
or set down". Most NT uses refer to "setting someone in office" or
appointing or assigning a person to a position of authority, to put in
charge, to appoint one to administer an office or to constitute.
A saint's superabounding
possession of the qualities in constitutes them as "neither useless nor
unfruitful". The tense is
which indicates an continually rendering them useful and fruitful.
Only one life
Twill soon be past
Only what's done
For (in) Christ will last!
comments that the primary meaning of kathistemi is to set down, it is used in classical
Greek of bringing to a place, as a ship to the land, or a man to a place
or person; hence to bring before a magistrate...From this comes the
meaning to set down as, i.e., to declare or show to be; or to
constitute, make to be. (Word studies in the New Testament: Vol. 3, Page
Kathistemi - 21x in 20v- Matt 24:45, 47;
25:21, 23; Luke 12:14, 42, 44; Acts 6:3; 7:10, 27, 35; 17:15; Rom 5:19;
Titus 1:5; Heb 5:1; 7:28; 8:3; Jas 3:6; 4:4; 2 Pet 1:8
As you read this note the truth is that if you are a believer, you are
either in one of two states -- advancing or regressing on the highway of
holiness -- "Onward ho!" should be the believer's byword. No standing
still. And oh to yearn for the fruit borne by running the course with
endurance and pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call. The one who runs the race, fights the fight and keeps the faith is
the one who realizes strength in their spirit and security in their
salvation. Failure to persevere in the development of this Christian
character leads to barrenness, unfruitfulness, blindness,
shortsightedness, and forgetfulness. So let your light shine and
press on so that you are not trampled on like
"tasteless salt" thrown out under the feet of men. (Mt
NEITHER USELESS: ouk argous:
(Pr 19:15; Mt 20:3,6; 25:26; Ro 12:11; 1Ti 5:13; Heb 6:12)
is ouk conveying absolute negation in the Greek. This
negative combined with the two adjectives that follow gives the force of
a strong positive assertion.
from a = without + érgon
= work) literally means without work, without labor, doing nothing, as
one not working the ground and so living without labor. As employed in
the New Testament, argos always describes something inoperative or
unserviceable. Argos describes that which is not working,
ineffective, barren, yielding no return or worthless, not accomplishing
Argos was used to describe money that was yielding no interest or
of a field lying fallow.
Argos conveys several ideas
depending on the context - (1) unemployed - without anything to
do (Mt 20:3,6, 1Ti 5:13); (2) being unwilling to work,
wanting nothing to do, shunning the labor which one ought to perform -
idle, neglectful or lazy (as used in Titus 1:12) and (3)
unproductive - useless, unprofitable or worthless (Jas 2:20, 2Pe 1:8-note; Mt
Argos is used
7 times in the NT (see uses below) and is translated in the NASB as:
careless, 1; idle, 4; lazy, 1; useless, 2. KJV translates it as: barren,
1; idle, 6; slow, 1. Argos is found once in the
(1 Ki 6:7)
Matthew 12:36 "And I say to
you, that every careless (literally "not working", barren,
unproductive) word that men shall speak, they shall render account for
it in the day of judgment. (Comment: Re-read this verse and think
about the implications of what comes out of our mouths. Are our words
"working" - ergon - words, words that are productive and which edify?
"Not working" words include those that are flippant, irresponsible,
hypocritical or in any way inappropriate. cf Eph 4:29)
Matthew 20:3 "And he went out
about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market
Matthew 20:6 "And about the
eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he said to
them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?'
1 Timothy 5:13 And at the same
time they (younger widows) also learn to be idle, as they go
around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips
and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.
James 2:20 (see below also)
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without
works is useless (unprofitable, worthless - carries the idea of
fruitlessness - see parallel thought in Mt 7:19-note)?
(Comment: What does a fruitless life demonstrate?)
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always
liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
Argos can pertain to
being without anything to do, unemployed or idle. In this sense it does
not necessarily connote laziness but merely points up the fact that they
were unemployed at the time. For example in Jesus' parable of the
vineyard He related how the landowner went to hire laborers "And he
went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market
place." (Mt 20:3).
is not a picture of one who is unavoidably unemployed but of one who
avoids labor for which he or she should assume responsibility ("we
are His workmanship" Eph 2:10-note).
James (Jas 2:20) uses argos
to describe a faith that fails to show itself in works.
Jesus warned that
that does not bear good fruit, is cut down and thrown into the fire”
A fruitless life is proof that one does not belong to God and is
unacceptable to God, because this life does not have His divine life within.
Faith apart from works is head belief, and therefore dead
money gaining no interest and fertile land yielding no crops.
Argos describes that which does not fulfill its purpose. In a
spiritual sense argos means "to produce no good for God."
With the virtues mentioned above increasing in one’s life (see notes
2 Peter 1:5;
Christian will not be useless or effective.
Peter's point is that in contrast to
being barren, inactive, indolent, and useless, if these virtues are
increasing in one’s life, this Christian's life will not be useless or
Paul in a parallel passage
"So then, while we have
opportunity (see in depth study of this word
kairos), let us do good (not only being useful or profitable to
them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage; see
to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the
faith (the first test of our love for God is our love for His other
children, our brothers and sisters in Christ)." (Gal 6:10)
gives an example to illustrate "useless" - "People have said to me, "I have a friend who received Christ and
came to church and Bible study for awhile. But now he never comes. He
just doesn't seem interested. I can't figure out if he's a Christian or
not." I have had the same problem. There was a man who used to come to
Grace Church and teach in the children's department. But he has not
darkened our door for many years. People have asked me if he's a
believer. To be perfectly honest, I haven't the faintest idea because he
is indistinguishable from an unbeliever. He is argos-- dead and
We probably all know someone like
this. How eternally tragic to be a believer blessed with every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, possessing every accoutrement
necessary for life and godliness, including access to all of God's
precious and magnificent promises, and most significantly to be a sharer
in God's divine nature...and yet despite all these spiritual advantages,
to still be utterly useless
to God, spiritually bankrupt so to speak! Can you imagine what that day
will be like for these saints when they
before the judgment
one may be
recompensed for his deeds in the
what he has
bad" (2Cor 5:10)
evident; for the
because it is to be
fire, and the
which he has
built on it
remains, he will
burned up, he will
loss; but he
himself will be
fire." (1Cor 3:13, 14, 15)
adds these thoughts on the "useless" life:
the life lived in fellowship with God can be truly effective. The
guidance of the Holy Spirit eliminates barren activity and insures
maximum efficiency. Otherwise, we are shadow-boxing, or sewing without
In this section, it is clear that
Peter's desire is that believers "grow in the grace and knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2Pe 3:18-note)
as expressed in this little poem by Eliza Hewitt
Jesus would I know,
More of his grace to others show;
More of his saving fullness see,
More of his love who died for me.
NOR UNFRUITFUL: oude akarpous kathistesin (3SPAI):
(Mt 13:22; Jn 15:2;Jn 15:6; Titus 3:14)
from a = without + karpos
= fruit, produce) means barren, without fruit or unprofitable. Akarpos pictures a tree without fruit under the most favorable
Akarpos -7x in 7v - Mt
13:22; Mk 4:19; 1Cor 14:14; Ep 5:11; Titus 3:14; 2Pet 1:8; Jude 1:12
Unfruitful saints remain
“infants in Christ” (1Cor 3:1), in continual need of spiritual “milk”
rather than solid food (Heb 5:12-note,
He 5:13, 14-note)
and are "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind
of doctrine" (Ep 4:14-note).
Believers on the other hand are commanded to continually,
habitually “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ” (2Pe 3:18-note).
Writing to Titus on the Isle of Crete
inhabited by those who "are always liars, evil beasts, lazy
(Titus 1:12-note), Paul encouraged Titus to "let our people also learn (through practice) to engage (become experienced) in
to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful (akarpos)."
(Titus 3:14-note) Paul is emphasizing that genuine
are a platform for witnessing effectively. He knew also that though
grace is the root (Titus 3:7-note),
good deeds are to be the fruit (cf. Eph
of the tree of salvation.
Jude gave us an example to avoid
writing of those who had crept in and turned the grace of God into
licentiousness, adding that
"These men are those who are hidden reefs
in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for
themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees
without fruit, (akarpos) doubly dead,
uprooted. wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam;
wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever."
(Jude 1:12, 13-note)
Jude pictures an orchard in autumn, the time when the
farmer expects fruit. But these trees are fruitless! Not only are
they fruitless, but they are also rootless (“uprooted”).
Jesus helps us understand
why the word of God may not be unfruitful
(akarpos) in a person's life, teaching His disciples that "the
worries of the
world and the
riches, and the
enter in &
word & it becomes
It follows that these same
distractions can contribute to a believer's failure to bear fruit. On
the other hand you need to remember that if you don't see fruit in your
life, you cannot be sure you are a Christian. If you're a true
Christian, there should be fruit, but as most us know too well, times of
rebellion and unconfessed sin can lead us into times of barrenness in
our walk with the Lord.
In a section describing the
unregenerate Paul exhorts believers not to "participate in the
unfruitful (akarpos) deeds of darkness, but instead even expose
them." (Eph 5:11-note)
MacDonald writes that "These works of
darkness are unfruitful as far as God and men are concerned. It
was this feature of utter barrenness that once prompted Paul to ask the
Roman Christians, “What fruit did you have then in the things
of which you are now ashamed?” (see note
(MacDonald, W. Believer's Bible Commentary Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
in interpreting this section of Scripture for
Peter does not teach that a person must work to earn salvation.
We do not work to be saved but because we have been saved. Faith alone
saves but saving faith is never alone. A living faith works (Jas 2:14ff-notes), but as Peter has
taught us it is a faith has been received (2Pe 1:1-
Peter is in no way in this text implying that one can lose their
salvation. Quite to the contrary, Peter wants us to have assurance of
our salvation and fruitfulness is one of the best indicators that we
genuinely belong to the Lord (e.g.,
see study on
Good Deeds , 2Ti 2:14-note, Eph
2:10-note0, Easton on "Good
Works", Torrey's Topic "Good
Do you desire to see fruit in your life?
What better "formula" for fruitfulness
than that given by the psalmist in Psalm 1 below. Meditate on this
passage. Memorize it so you will be able to meditate on it as you walk
about. Then live it out and experience the assurance that comes from
being a fruitful saint in "season".
walk in the
sit in the
law of the
will be like a
has some pithy comments on "unfruitfulness": "It is
possible to have considerable knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet
to be unfruitful in that
Failure to practice what we know leads inevitably to barrenness. Inflow
without outgo killed the Dead Sea, and it kills productivity in the
spiritual realm as well." (Believer's Bible Commentary)
"When these Christian qualities are not present
in a person's life (see notes
2 Peter 1:5;
he will be indistinguishable
an evildoer or a superficial believer. But when these qualities are
increasing in a Christian’s life, there is the manifestation of “the
divine nature” (v4) within the believer "
There’s no fruit on broken branches, and there’s no life without fruit.
Fruit harbors the seed, which perpetuates the life of the species. A
true disciple has life flowing from Jesus, and his own character and
power shape the disciple’s attitudes and behaviors. If one totally lacks
these qualities then he needs to meditate on Peter's exhortation in (2Pe
Bearing fruit was important to Jesus’ teaching (John 15:1-8).
Fruit growing on a tree describes genuine disciples of Jesus. True
disciples become fruitful by God’s power. Does your daily conduct result
in fruitful impact on those around you?
Spurgeon in Faith's
Checkbook (May 27): "If we desire to glorify our LORD by fruitfulness, we must have certain things within us; for
nothing can come out of us which is not first of all within us. We
must begin with faith, which is the groundwork of all the virtues;
and then diligently add to it virtue, knowledge, temperance, and
patience. With these we must have godliness and brotherly love.
All these put together will most assuredly cause us to produce, as
our life fruit, the clusters of usefulness, and we shall not be
mere idle knowers but real doers of the Word. These holy things
must not only be in us, but abound, or we shall be barren. Fruit
is the overflow of life, and we must be full before we can flow
over. We have noticed men of considerable parts and opportunities
who have never succeeded in doing real good in the conversion of
souls; and after close observation we have concluded that they
lacked certain graces which are absolutely essential to fruit
bearing. For real usefulness, graces are better than gifts. As the
man is, so is his work. If we would do better, we must be better.
Let the text be a gentle hint to unfruitful professors and to
Steven Cole - THERE IS A
DIRECT LINK BETWEEN GROWTH IN GODLINESS AND FRUITFULNESS. Peter states
his point negatively to call attention to what happens if you do not
grow in godliness: you will live a useless, unfruitful life. Nobody in
their right mind would set out at age 20 and say, “I’d like to waste my
life!” Nobody writes out a plan for a wasted life: “I think I’ll devote
three hours per day, 21 hours per week, to watching television!” (That
is the national average!) “I also plan to become addicted to alcohol and
drugs. I plan to live so selfishly and with such disregard for others
that I will shred all of my relationships. Also, I plan to spend far
more than I earn so that I will run up huge debts.” No one plans to be
useless and unfruitful! And yet, many people end up that way!
But, to put it positively, how can I be useful and fruitful in my
Christian life? How can I use the time, talents, and treasure that God
has entrusted to me so that one day I will hear, “Well done, good and
faithful servant”? It’s easy to be busy in the Lord’s work, but I don’t
want to be just busy—I want to be useful and fruitful.
As a pastor, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that
fruitfulness is measured in terms of numbers: “If I can pastor a large,
growing church, write best-selling books, and travel all over the world
to influence thousands of other Christian leaders, I will be fruitful.”
Ministering to large numbers may indicate success in human terms, but we
need to measure fruitfulness by God’s criteria. In church history, there
are a few well known men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan
Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. But there are
thousands of faithful, fruitful men and women whose names are known only
to God. What distinguished these faithful saints to God and made them
fruitful was that they devoted themselves to growing in godliness.
In 1981, I read the two-volume autobiography of C. H. Spurgeon. He was
an amazing man whom God used mightily. One day as I was jogging in the
woods, I asked the Lord one of those “far beyond all you can ask or
think” prayers. I prayed, “Lord, use me as You used Spurgeon!” I didn’t
hear any voice, but almost instantly the thought popped into my mind,
which I believe was from the Lord, “Which Spurgeon? Charles or John?”
I stopped jogging and just stood there so I could think about the
implications of that question. John Spurgeon was the father of the
famous Charles. He was a faithful pastor in England for many years. He
actually outlived his famous son. If it had not been for the famous
Charles Spurgeon, no one would have ever heard of John Spurgeon. Yet, he
and thousands of others like him were godly, fruitful servants of the
Lord. It was as if the Lord was saying to me, “You focus on being as
faithful and godly as John Spurgeon and leave it to Me as to whether you
become as influential as Charles Spurgeon!” Peter is telling us, “Focus
on growing in godliness and you will be fruitful in your Christian
B. IF YOU TRULY KNOW CHRIST, YOU WILL WANT TO BE USEFUL AND FRUITFUL IN
When Peter says, “in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is he
talking about growing to know Christ more deeply as you grow in
godliness, or is he talking about coming to know Christ at the point of
conversion as the basis for growing in godliness? There could be some of
both here. Peter later talks about growing to know Christ more deeply (2
Pet. 3:18). But since Peter has talked about “the true knowledge of
Christ” in reference to conversion (1:3), I understand him here (1:8) to
be saying, “If you have truly come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, you
will be growing in godliness and seeking to be useful and fruitful in
John Calvin observes (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], on 2Peter 1:8, p.
374), “For the knowledge of Christ is an efficacious thing and a living
root, which brings forth fruit.” In other words, if God has opened your
eyes to the glory of the gospel of Christ (2Cor. 4:6), so that you have
come to know Him, your life will show it. You will be growing in the
godly character qualities that Peter lists (2Pe 1:5-7). And you will be
seeking to make your life useful and fruitful to the Master who shed His
blood to redeem you. If you’re not living with a view to how God can use
you to bear fruit for His kingdom, then you’re wasting your life.
This does not mean that you must go into so-called “full time Christian
ministry.” Rather, it means that in whatever situation you find
yourself, whether at home, at school, or at work, you have the mindset
that you want to be useful and fruitful for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Life is a vapor (James 4:14)! Don’t waste it living for selfish
pursuits or for things that will perish. Live so as to grow in godliness
so that you will be a clean vessel, “useful to the Master, prepared for
every good work” (2Ti 2:21b). (The
Benefits of Growing in Godliness 2 Peter 1:8-11)
says when we "offer
God, that is, the
thanks to His
should be the natural outflow of genuine Biblical repentance (Mt
3:8, Lk 3:8).
The quality of one's
determines the "type" of tree whether "good" or "bad" (Mt
7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20) (see notes
When the "seed" of the Word
of God falls in "an
heart", this heart will
hold the Word
fast and will "bear
perseverance", bringing forth "a
hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty" (Lk 8:15, Mt 13:8,
Mk 4:8) and the dynamic process of
fruit will glorify the
prove that an individual is truly
disciple (Jn 15:8)
which is simply saying another way what Peter teaches in this
verse in 2 Peter. Jesus taught that the seed (figuratively
referring to Himself but the principle broadly applicable to every
saint) that "falls
In (Jn 15:5)
Jesus also taught one of the most essential of all principles in
"spiritual horticulture" when He instructed His disciples: "I
vine, you are the
branches. He who
abides in Me & I in him, he
apart from Me you
nothing." Jesus goes on to
explain that disciples have been
(elected) by Himself to go and
bear fruit which
Jesus explained what "fruit which remains" means, when He taught
that disciples who are active in sowing or reaping lost souls are
eternal" when they will all "rejoice
together." (Jn 4:36)
Paul refers to "holiness"
(sanctification) & eternal life as
that are to be the natural outcome in the lives of those men and
women who have been "freed
God". (Ro 6:22-note)
Paul speaks of giving money
in support of the ministry as
profit [karpos] which
increases to your
account") (Php 4:17-note,
cf Ro 15:28-note).
Paul is probably referring to winning souls to Christ as fruit. In
Paul speaks of the house of Stephanas as "the first fruits of
Paul adds that every saint
has the potential to bear much fruit because when they were born
again they were "filled
righteousness which comes
Christ, to the
God." (Php 1:11-note)
Although all saints have the potential for "much fruit", Paul
taught that difficult labor is called for reminding Timothy (and
all disciples) that "the
ought to be the
share of the
crops (fruit). " (2Ti 2:6-note,
cf Jas 5:7)
The writer of Hebrews
reminds us that God's loving hand of discipline will yield the "fruit"
of the peace of God associated with a life that is lived in
accordance with His holy standards, writing that "All
discipline for the
seems not to be
those who have been
trained by it,
righteousness." (Heb 12:11-note,
So my brother and my sister, you have been made "adequate,
work" by the Word of God
(2Ti 3:16, 17-notes),
so go forth from this day
fruit, so that when the Son of
Man returns with power & great glory, He may say "'Well
slave. You were
faithful with a
things, I will
put you in
enter into the
joy of your
Master." (Mt 25:21)
And I love the fascinating, albeit enigmatic last mention of "fruit"
in the Word of God when John writes of our eternal home with our
Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, describing the glorious
coming from the
God and of the
Lamb, in the
middle of its
side of the
river was the
twelve kinds of
month; and the
leaves of the
tree were for the
healing of the
nations." (Rev 22:1-note;
depth of the
both of the
unsearchable are His
ways !...For from Him and
through Him and to Him are
things. To Him be the
Amen" (Ro 11:33-note,
"Spiritual "fruit" then can be winning people to
Christ and investing in His Kingdom.
fruit can be praying and
praising. It is every righteous act. Behind the act is the attitude, for
"the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control" (Gal 5:22, 23-note). You begin with the fruit of the Spirit and follow that with the act.
If you act without the right attitude, that's legalism. I pray we might
be a sacrificial, productive, and fruitful people. Fruit is not the
result of standing around and doing nothing. It doesn't come from
signing on a dotted line to be involved in a ministry. Fruit results
when the things of (2Pe 1:5, 6, 7) are manifest in your life. Only
then will God produce fruit in you."
Our Daily Bread has a devotional
entitled "Holy Fruit" that illustrates the truth in Peter's
Billy Graham told about the conversion of H. C.
Morrison, the founder of Asbury Theological Seminary. He said that
Morrison, a farm worker at the time, was plowing in a field one day when
he saw an old Methodist preacher coming by on his horse.
Morrison knew the elderly gentleman to be a gracious, godly man. As he
watched the old saint go by, a great sense of conviction of sin came
over Morrison and he dropped to his knees. There between the furrows in
his field, alone, he gave his life to God.
When he concluded the story, Billy Graham earnestly prayed, "Oh, God,
make me a holy man."
Augustine said, "Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being." True and
lasting greatness stems from what we are. Though we may seem to be doing
nothing at all, we can be doing everything worthwhile if our lives are
being styled by God's grace. Even if we are set aside through old age,
sickness, or seclusion, we can still be productive. Are you bedridden or
house-bound? Your holy life can still bear fruit.
This can happen only as we stay in close relationship with Jesus (John
15:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Only then will we have the fruit that "remains" (Jn
15:16). —D H R
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
I lived so that all whom I met
His Holy Spirit shining through me;
O friend, is this what our hearts can say
As we sit and think at the close of day? —Nicholson
The most powerful testimony is a holy life.
><> ><> ><>
In growing a
healthy, fruit-bearing church, try this plan.
Plant three rows of squash:
• Squash gossip.
• Squash criticism.
• Squash indifference.
Plant seven rows of peas:
Plant seven heads of lettuce:
• Let us be unselfish and loyal.
• Let us be faithful to duty.
• Let us search the Scriptures.
• Let us not be weary in well-doing.
• Let us be obedient in all things.
• Let us be truthful.
• Let us love one another.
No garden is complete without
• Turn up for church.
• Turn up for meetings, in prayer, and Bible study.
• Turn up with a smile, even when things are difficult.
• Turn up with determination to do your best in God’s service.
may you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ (2 Peter 3:18). And may you reap rich results. (Morgan, R. J.
Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations,
122. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
IN THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE: eis ten tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou epignosin:
is eis the preposition indicating "into" and
has the idea of penetrating. Here the object is epignosis
implying an intimate and growing knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
from epí = upon +
= to know) conveys the thought of a more full,
larger and thorough knowledge. It also conveys the idea of an intimate
and personal relationship than the simple term.
Epignosis is knowledge "of" Him, not just "about" Him And thus Peter with this
simple choice of the preposition "eis" conveys the idea that we are
continually to advance into an ever greater measure of the full
knowledge of Christ. Knowledge of Christ is the goal toward which a
saint's spiritual growth aims and toward which we are to be continually
advancing. This goal is reminiscent of Paul's desire in (Php 3:10-note)
Him and the
power of His
resurrection & the
fellowship of His
sufferings, being conformed
Cultivation of the virtues
(2Pe 1:5, 6, 7-notes
7) will cause
Peter's reader's knowledge of Christ to be
productive in practical ways and prevent believers from becoming
spiritually nearsighted and blind so that they forget that they are new
creatures in Christ with a new divine nature.
It is interesting that
Greek philosophers saw philosophical knowledge as the key
to changing people’s behavior, whereas Peter sees a true knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ as
the goal of our spiritual growth (2Pe 3:18-note).
A lazy indifference to or disparagement of a growing knowledge of our
Lord Jesus is fundamentally opposed to the very nature of the Christian
life, for as Paul says "Christ [is] our life"
and in "are
knowledge." (Col 2:3-
It follows that we will never fully apprehend all of Who Christ is in
this life, but there can be no greater, more worthy goal for one's
passions and desires to be aimed toward.
Vincent writes that the
not idleness in the knowledge, but idleness in pressing on and
developing toward and finally reaching
the knowledge." (Vincent, M.
R. Word studies in the New Testament. Vol. 1, Page 3-681).
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou:
Compare Paul's prayer in
where he is interceding for the saints in Colossae
asking that they
filled with (controlled
knowledge (epignosis) of His
understanding, so that (marks
walk in a
worthy of the
please Him in
the same verb used by Peter in 2Pe 3:18-note) in the
knowledge (epignosis) of
God...." (Col 1:9, 10, 11, 12-see note
Col 1:9; 10; 11; 12)
So Paul is praying for the saints to live out (walk)
the spiritual wisdom & understanding that fills them, and that the
natural outflow of their obedient lifestyle would be usefulness
heavenly Father in all respects) and fruitfulness (continuously
and that in turn they would be growing in intimacy (increasing
in the knowledge)
with their Lord Jesus Christ.
Failure to practice what we know ("walk
in a manner worthy of the Lord")
leads inevitably to barrenness. Inflow without outgo killed the Dead
Sea, and it kills productivity in the spiritual realm as well.
fruitful and useful? If not consider praying Paul's great prayer that
God will make you fruitful and useful in His kingdom work and instead of
being like the Dead Sea, from your "innermost
water." (Jn 7:38)
from kuros = might or power)
has a variety of meanings/uses in the NT and therefore one must
carefully examine the context in order to discern which sense is
intended by the NT author. For example, some passages use kurios only as
a common form of polite address with no religious/spiritual meaning. The
reader should also be aware that in view of the fact that kurios
is used over 9000 times in the
and over 700 times in the NT, this discussion of kurios at best only
"skims the surface" of this prodigious, precious word.
At the outset should be noted that in
the NT Jesus is referred to as Lord (Kurios) more
frequently than by any other title. Therefore it behooves us to
understand the truth concerning Jesus as Lord and not allow
ourselves to become side tracked in debate over so-called "Lordship
salvation". The indisputable Biblical facts are that faith in Jesus
saves and Jesus is Lord. This confession of "Jesus is Lord"
became a direct affront to the practice of emperor worship. Certain
cities even built temples for Caesar-worship as was the case in Smyrna
where the command was to honor the emperor by confessing "Caesar is
Lord". To declare "Jesus is Lord" became a crime punishable
by death, resulting in the martyrdom. I think the first century
believers understood "Lordship" in a way modern believers would find it
difficult to comprehend! (cp Jesus' "prophetic" warning in Mt 10:22, 23,
24, 25 where "master" is kurios)
Lord is not merely a name
that composes a title, but signifies a call to action so that every
saint should willingly, reverently bow down to Jesus Christ. If Christ
is our Lord, we are to live under Him, consciously, continually
submitting our wills to him as His loyal, loving bondservants ("love
slaves"), always seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Mt
According to this practical working "definition" beloved we all need to
ask ourselves "Is Jesus Christ my Lord?". "Do I arise each day,
acknowledges this is the day the Lord hath made?" (Ps 118:24-note)
"Do I surrender my will to His will as I begin each day?" (cp Ro 12:1-note,
Beloved, don't misunderstand. None of us have "arrived" in this area of
Jesus as Lord of our lives. And it is precisely for that reason that
Peter commands us to continually "grow
in the grace (unmerited favor, power to live the supernatural, abundant
life in Christ) and knowledge (not just intellectual but
transformational) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be
the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." (2Pe 3:18-note)
So do not be discouraged. Don't "throw in the towel" as they say. Keep
on keeping on, pressing (continually =
"on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
Jesus." (Php 3:14-note)
Boice adds that "Citizens of the empire were required
to burn a pinch of incense to the reigning Caesar and utter the words
Kyrios Kaisar (“Caesar is Lord!”). It is this that the early
Christians refused to do and for which they were themselves thrown to
the wild lions or crucified. It was not that Christians were forbidden
to worship God. They were free to worship any god they chose so long as
they also acknowledged Caesar. Romans were tolerant. But when Christians
denied to Caesar the allegiance that they believed belonged to the true
God only, they were executed." (Daniel: An Expositional Commentary)
The main sense of kurios is
that of a supreme one, one who is sovereign and possesses absolute
authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power.
Kurios is used of the one to
whom a person or thing belonged, about which he has the power of
deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing