His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
There’s no excuse for a Christian not to live a consistently godly life. Oh there are plenty of reasons that can help explain why I don’t always speak, act and think in godly ways. And I won’t, of course, attain sinless perfection this side of heaven. But there really is no excuse for my ungodly behaviour. Not if I take the Apostle’s words seriously.
Peter writes to “those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” (v 1) and declares that Almighty God’s divine power has (already) given us “everything we need” for godly living. Absolutely everything.
Or let’s put it another way. God’s power has not withheld a single thing from us that we might need in order to live in ways that please him. Absolutely nothing.
But this inevitably leads to a question. If we’re so thoroughly equipped, why in practice are we often so powerless to live good and godly lives? Why, for example, do we give in so easily to the temptation to lust, or gossip, or envy, or fly off the handle in anger? The sad reality is that in the lives of many who profess the name of Christ, evidence of consistent, practical godliness is severely lacking.
Well, one thing is clear. The blame must be laid squarely at our feet. If we’re struggling to live a godly life, the root cause is not some deficiency in God’s power. No, God is omnipotent (all-powerful). If God were not omnipotent, then it follows that his power would not be able to give us everything we need. But he has given us everything we need, through his indwelling and all-powerful Holy Spirit.
The logical conclusion, therefore, is that either we’re not truly understanding everything that God’s power has given us. Or we’re not relying on everything his power has given us. Or both.
I suggest that it’s both. So perhaps one route to increased godliness is to pray that we’ll grow in our “knowledge of him who called us” and in our understanding of “everything” that his “divine power has given us.”
But as our knowledge and understanding increase, let’s also pray for grace to actually rely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Godly behaviour, godly words, godly thoughts, godly attitudes, godly desires – ultimately these will all be the fruit of God’s awesome power at work in us and through us.