Peter concludes his introduction to his second letter by commending the qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love as of great value in leading a fruitful Christian life. He then makes an interesting observation in verse 9 regarding those who lack these qualities. What does Peter conclude? Are they not working hard enough? Do the slackers need more teaching, more education, more knowledge in regard to what God expects in the fruit department?
Peter attributes their lack to spiritual amnesia. Look with me at II Peter 1:9, “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” Our number one problem with sin is not the power of the flesh, not the still resident but mortally wounded sin nature, and not our lack of effort. Our number one problem, the sin that underlies all others, is forgetting the precious and magnificent promises of God regarding all that became new at our new birth, especially our new found freedom from the power of sin in our life.
Forgetfulness in daily life has been an increasing challenge for me, usually attributed to my current stage of life (think theater discounts, junk mail from AARP, and a closer parking space at church). I don’t like it and have not been adapting well to it. My young wife has already increased her penchant for lists. She is the queen of lists. She has lists of lists. As for me, I just keep it all in my head, a stubborn attempt to live in the past. Whenever I forget something, Rhonda gently asks, “Where is your list?” I tap my temple and reply, “Right in here, Baby, with all the other lists. Right here in this steel trap brain.” She sighs, “That’s what I was afraid of.”
I know what she is thinking but is too nice to say it. “That steel trap has been left out in the rain a few times too often and is starting to rust. It might also have a loose spring.” We can laugh about our forgetfulness after failed trips to the grocery or hardware store. But in the spiritual life, forgetfulness drains us of our spiritual power and energy.
Remembering is so important that Peter returns to this theme further down the page in verse 12. “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present in you. And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.” (II Pet 1:12-13)
We cannot be reminded too often that “God’s divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” May we never forget the promises of God regarding our new birth. May we always find our spiritual energy in the resurrection power God has bestowed upon us. May we embrace and live into all that God has promised when He literally “created us anew.”