True Christian Character
2 Peter 1:5-7
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;…

This notable passage, growing very evidently out of what precedes and into what follows, has a wealth of instruction.

I. True Christian character CONSISTS OF MANIFOLD ELEMENTS. Here is a chain no link of which may be omitted, a structure no stone in which may be lacking, a body no member of which may be wanting.

1. Whether the general order is to be insisted on or not, it is certain that faith is the primary essential of the whole character. It is the root out of which all grows, the foundation on which all rests. To aim at the rest first, and this afterwards, is to stand a pyramid on its apex instead of its base. Belief is great, is life-giving.

2. Each of the other elements of character demands careful contemplation. "Virtue," - manly vigour, making it impossible for the charge to be sustained that the devotional man is not necessarily a virtuous man. It is an element of character that will save a man from being a chameleon, catching the hue of every surrounding, or a moral mollusk with no backbone. "Knowledge," - discernment, intelligence. "Thou shalt love... with thy... mind." "Temperance," - all self-restraint; as Jeremy Taylor says, "reason's girdle as well as passion's bridle: "Patience," - the silver side of the shield whose iron side is temperance, - endurance, meekness, continuance in well-doing. "Godliness," - not the whole of piety, but fellowship with God, walking with God, being the "friend of God." "Brotherly kindness," - the duty of equals to equals - simple, constant kindness. "Charity," - better the great king-word, the dear home-word, "love;" the sunshine on the whole landscape of character, the Shechinah in the temple of character.

II. THE CULTIVATION of these manifold elements of character is AN URGENT CHRISTIAN DUTY. "Giving all diligence... add," etc.

1. They will not come as a matter of course.

2. They may be attained.

3. The methods of attaining them.

(1) Study of models.

(2) Exercise.

(3) Fellowship with those that possess them, especially with the Christ. - U.R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

WEB: Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge;

The Power of Diligence
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