Summary: Developing character qualities that have to do with my relationship with the God above me.
Christian Character Development:
"The Particulars Of Christian Character Development"
God’s people get in trouble when they fail to act like they are God’s people! That’s why Peter wrote in our passage for today about Christian character development.
Two Sundays ago, we began looking to this passage to see what Peter had to say to us about developing Christ-like character. We first considered what he had to say about the priority of Christian character development. We discovered five reason listed by Peter as to why developing Christ-like character should be a priority for the Child of God. When I make Christian character development my daily pursuit . . .
it will insure that my life is not wasted (v. 8);
it will insure my proper appreciation of salvation (v. 9);
it will present a positive witness to others (v. 10a);
it will prevent me from bringing reproach to the name of Christ (v. 10b);
and it will guarantee a rich welcome upon entering heaven (v. 11).
We next looked at the path of Christian character development. We found that Peter tells us . . .
it begins with a personal and growing knowledge of Christ (vs. 1-3);
it continues through reliance on God’s power and promises (vs. 3-4);
and it leads to real life change from the inside out (v. 4).
Now today, I want us to move on to consider the particulars of Christian Character development. Peter is very specific concerning what character qualities we should seek to develop as a Christian if we are going to progress toward Christ-likeness (vs.. 5-7).
We note that as Peter gives us this list of Christian character qualities, he seems to list them in a particular order. Faith comes first, followed by goodness, then knowledge, to which we add self-control, then perseverance, then godliness, then brotherly kindness, and finally, love.
While we are told that we are to "possess these qualities in increasing measure" (v. 8), it would seem that Peter is specific about what character qualities we are to pursue and in what order.
Upon careful consideration, we see that the first three character qualities (faith, goodness, and knowledge) have to do with my relationship with the God above me. The second three (self-control, perseverance, and godliness) have to do with my relationship with the world about me. The last two character qualities (brotherly kindness and love) have to with my relationship with the people around me.
As we consider each of the Christian character qualities Peter mentions here, we will also look at how they are linked to one another. Today, let’s look at the first three which have to do with my relationship with the God above me - faith , goodness, and knowledge.
1. Faith - v. 5
The first characteristic of the growing Christian has a uniqueness to it - because the Christian is not instructed to supply faith. Faith is a given, something upon which the Christian builds. According to Peter, the readers of this epistle are those who "have received a faith as precious as ours" (v. 1). Faith is something we have received, not something we are to supply - because faith is a gift from God.