Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. – 2 Peter 1:12-18 ESV
Peter wrote with a sense of urgency. He somehow knew that his days were numbered, so he wanted to make sure his audience got his message loud and clear. Essentially, Peter was going to use every moment he had to “stir up” those to whom he was writing. The Greek word Peter used is διεγείρω (diegeirō) and it means “to wake up, awaken, arouse (from sleep)” (“G1326 – diegeirō (KJV) :: Strong’s Greek Lexicon.” Blue Letter Bible. http://www.blueletterbible.org). It could also be used metaphorically to refer to arousing or stirring up the mind. He wanted them to think about and constantly consider the qualities he had just mentioned: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. He wanted them to “practice these qualities” so that they would not fall (2 Peter 1:10). Peter knew that they were going to face difficult times. He was well aware that, after his departure, they would be on their own. His letter was intended to be a lasting reminder and source of constant encouragement for them to persevere. He wanted them to be able to “recall these things” long after he was gone, so that they would not become “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8 ESV). He knew that “whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:9 ESV). Failing to think about and to supplement these qualities to one’s faith would eventually lead to spiritual apathy and regression rather than transformation.
So as long as Peter had life and breath, he was going to harp on the need for his brothers and sisters in Christ to live their lives in such a way that the “divine power” granted to them by God would show up in these ever-increasing qualities. He fully expected them to “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 ESV). And what he had been writing to them was not something he had made up. They were not the teachings of a man, but the divinely inspired words of God. One of Peter’s greatest concerns for his audience was that there were already those who were teaching them “destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1 ESV). They were claiming to be prophets of God and teachers sent from God. So it was essential that Peter establish his credentials and defend his credibility. He had been a disciple of Jesus Christ. He had been an eye-witness to His miracles, a partner in His ministry, and a recipient of Christ’s great commission. Not only that, Peter had been given a personal directive from Jesus Himself to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:18 ESV). Peter reminded his readers that it was he, James and John who had been “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16 ESV). The three of them had been with Jesus on the mountain top when He underwent His transfiguration.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. – Matthew 17:1-3 ESV
It was at that time when God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5 ESV). Peter says, “we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:18 ESV). He wasn’t some self-appointed prophet spouting his personal opinions. He was a hand-picked disciple of Jesus Christ who had been received the following commission from Him after His resurrection: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV). And that is exactly what Peter had been doing. He had been teaching them what he had learned from Jesus. He had been passing on what he had received from his three years with the Savior. He wanted his readers to enjoy the abundant life Jesus had promised (John 10:10). He desired for them to experience the rest Jesus had offered (Matthew 11:28 ESV). He so wanted them to know the fullness of joy Jesus had talked about (John 15:11) and the powerful presence of the Spirit Jesus had told them about (John 14:26).
Peter’s call to add to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love was not some kind of motivational talk designed to bolster his readers’ flagging faith. It was a divinely inspired word of God. Peter knew that saving faith was transformative in nature. God has “called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 ESV). He has “granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 ESV). Our salvation is intended to result in our sanctification. We have “escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4 ESV), so we should live like it. Our lives should reflect our new nature. Our character should be increasingly more like that of Christ. What Paul told the believers in Corinth should also be true of us. “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT). There is no place for complacency in the life of a follower of Christ.