2 Peter 1:5–9 (NKJV)
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Our Lord Jesus has called us to faith, has brought us to Himself, that we might be fruitful servants. He has poured out His Spirit upon us that our lives might manifest the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. These graces of the Spirit Peter catalogues as faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to bear fruit in our lives. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter borrowed this fruitfulness imagery from Jesus. In John 15 Jesus spoke to the disciples and said:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
What Jesus declares and Peter reasserts is that fruitfulness is not optional but mandatory. The one who is savingly connected to Jesus, connected to Him not merely formally but by a living and active faith, will bear fruit to the glory of His Name. And he will do so precisely because God gives His Spirit to produce such fruit in our lives. The Spirit grants us faith in Jesus that we might abide in Him and bear fruit. Thus, if we do not abide in Jesus, if we are without fruit, if we are barren and unfruitful, then we bear evidence that we have no living connection with the vine.
So Peter would remind us again today, even as our Lord Jesus told Peter himself, to give all diligence to our pursuit of virtue. By living in obedience to the Lord Jesus we reveal the reality of our faith and give witness to all men that Jesus has risen from the dead.
Reminded of our calling to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus, let us kneel and confess our sins as one fruit of His work in our lives.