Typically, when we consider “adding,” we think in terms of adding sums. But, Scripturally, to “add” is a stronger spiritual concept. It is in II Peter 1:3 where the term “add” is encountered, and it has more spiritual potency than randomly considered.
For Apostle Peter, “add” refers to “costly cooperation.” The term is drawn from Athenian drama festivals in which a rich patron paid part of the expenses of a play that was being put on. As a consequence, the patron got to have a part in the play. This was an expensive enterprise, because the bidding sometimes became fierce from the interests of other patrons. They wanted to be added on.
So, Peter tells us that we should do some adding. We should add to our faith. It should always be in front of those associated with the Church that we should be in the process of becoming all that we can be in Jesus Christ. While it is right and good to be saved through faith in Christ, the divine expectation is that we add on all the Christian qualities to our spiritual life that we can. This involves cooperation with God.
From Apostle Peter’s perspective, there are seven graces we should be in the process of adding to our spiritual lives and practicing for God’s honor and glory. He first says that we should add to our faith “virtue,” which refers to moral excellence manifested in vigorous Christian living.
Second, we should add to virtue “knowledge.” Each of us should continually be adding spiritual knowledge so that our understanding of what spiritual virtue entails does not become misdirected. This knowledge certainly comes from reading the Bible and from the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
“Temperance” (= self-control) is a factor, as is “patience.” Patience in the Christian life is important to be added because each of us needs to possess the quality of spiritual steadfastness that enables us to endure heavy loads. Adding “Godliness” helps us to sustain moral character.
Number six has to do with adding “brotherly kindness.” It is important that we reflect warm affections in the name of Christ to others, which leads to “love.” This has to do with self-giving love, the highest quality of love there is. God loved us with such love that He willingly gave Himself in the Person of His Son for our salvation.
There are reasons why doing this type of adding is expected. Peter says if we are not proactively adding these spiritual qualities to our lives we countermand the specialness of our salvation experience. We should consider the specialness of salvation in terms of the change of eternity, for sure. But, we should also consider the specialness of salvation in terms of personal change. Jesus Christ changes lives!
If we are not endeavoring to manifest what Christ has done for us by adding and practicing these graces, we actually diminish what the importance of salvation means for our selves. That becomes a failure on our part.
Furthermore, the Apostle says we become “barren,” which means that we yield no return. You see, if we want God’s salvation, then He has every expectation that we become something for His honor and glory for what He has done for us. What is the use of planting a garden if it is not going to produce for us? The truth of the matter is that God expects some return from the seed of salvation He plants in our lives.
But, where the water meets the wheel is this: if God wants us to have these spiritual qualities added to our lives, how do we get them properly incorporated?
I tend to think that there must first be prayerful consideration as to whether or not these exist in our spiritual lives according to the level of God’s expectations. Making an accounting presupposes making an adding.
Furthermore, if we identify what may be lacking, confession to God is the first step, followed up by making request that the Lord instill it in your life according to His will. Certainly, we should express commitment to the purposes of God for it.
We are called to be specialized Christians. As it is needed, lets do some adding.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.