Add to Your Faith


Dan Petty

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, Peter exhorts believers to add or “supply” certain graces or qualities to their faith. This means that faith is the beginning—not the end—of what it means to be a Christian. The things that we add to faith result in growth and development of character. This text reminds us that what we add to our faith comes ultimately from the Lord and reflects his very nature (vv. 3-4). It is the result of God’s power for those who know him. He has given many precious and magnificent promises that make possible our salvation by faith and our pursuit of holiness. As Christians, we strive to become partakers of the divine nature. The pursuit and attainment of these graces are the natural results of becoming God’s children and taking on his character. It comes from a sense of spiritual vision and focus upon our redemption in Christ. It contributes to our usefulness and spiritual stability (vv. 8-10).

Faith is the starting place for every person who wants to follow the Lord and grow spiritually. It is the substance—the under-girding principle—that motivates us and assures us of our hope (Heb. 11:1). Like the faithful of old who were victorious through their faith, we can be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37). In the panoply of God, faith is our shield to protect us from the evil one (Eph. 6:16-17).

Faith is acquired through the word of God. But continued spiritual growth depends on continuing in that word. Just as a newborn child must have nourishment in order to grow strong, we should “long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). Through this kind of spiritual nourishment, we can become good servants of Christ (1 Tim. 4:6-8). Advancement in our knowledge and application of the word of righteousness is a sign of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:12-14).

The on-going process of pursuing holiness in life strengthens faith. The apostle Paul reminded the early Christians of how God called the children of Israel to “come out from their midst and be separate…and do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.” He then issued the challenge: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1).

Faith alone is never sufficient, neither for becoming a Christian, nor for continuing to grow as a Christian. Faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:14-20). This is true from the moment the seed of the word is planted in our hearts until it bears fruit in obedience (Mark 4:20).

Our faith will be tested through the challenges and trials of life. But the end result is greater spiritual strength. Endurance, patience, and perseverance are qualities that develop in the crucible of suffering (Jas. 1:2-3; 1 Pet. 1:3-9). It takes diligent effort to grow in faith and character, but it is absolutely worth it.