God has a plan for every Christian to grow continually through our lives. In the parable of the sower, we find that if we do not bear fruit, we are not good soil and we will not go to heaven. We must grow and produce fruit. How can we do that?
We have everything related to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-4)
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (NASB)
But how can we get this true knowledge of Christ? Verse 8 tells us that it is by practicing certain things.
What is God’s plan? First we need faith. We all have to start with faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6). We do not have to know everything, but we have to be diligent in seeking out the knowledge God wants us to have. We must have faith that leads us to do whatever we find Christ wants us to do.
Next, we must add virtue (moral excellence). Because of our faith, we should want to please God in how we live. We cannot continue living like we did before. We have to press on to a life that is free from sin, in which we are doing good things — after all, God has given us all things that relate to life and godliness. We should be busy doing those things.
Then we need knowledge. He does not specify what knowledge here, but it is obvious that it is knowledge about God and what He wants. While we are busy trying to live morally excellent lives, we have to build our knowledge of how to do that. (Philippians 3:8)
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (NASB)
We also need self-control. This is very much connected to moral excellence. If we do not have self-control, we cannot live good lives. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit that comes as we continue living lives trying to please God (Galatians 5:22-23).
In all of these things, we need perseverance. If we start on these things, we need to continue in them for it to do any good.
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. (NASB)
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (NASB)
As we are working on the previous items, we must add godliness.
1 Timothy 4:7-8:
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (NASB)
Godliness is basically the idea of living for God — thinking about God in what we do. Remember, God has given us everything related to life and godliness. That means that when we are really living for God, we will be following what He says.
Add to godliness, brotherly kindness (love).
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (NASB)
We must have an attitude of love toward one another. This is not just the kind of love where you make yourself help someone even though you don’t like them. This is the kind of love where you actually feel friendly towards someone like your own brother. (Hopefully, you are friendly with your brothers.)
We also need the kind of love that is talked about in 1 Corinthians 13. This kind of love is for everyone, not just brethren. This is the kind of love where you do good for even your enemies — just like God did for us. Do not be unfruitful.
2 Peter 1:8-11:
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (NASB)
We have a responsibility to bear fruit in kingdom of God. Here we have a promise that if we follow this plan, we will bear fruit. If we do not follow this plan, we have forgotten that were cleansed from our former sins — we will fall back into them because we are not growing the way God wants us to grow. Let us be continually growing as children of God, making Him happy with us as we bear fruit for Him.