"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:8)
In this first chapter of Peter's last epistle, he refers to "these things" (one word in the Greek) no less than six times. That they are extremely important things is evident from our text, but if these things are lacking, one is spiritually blind and has forgotten what Christ did for him in salvation (v. 9). However, if he does "these things," he will never fall (v. 10).
What then are the things which Peter stresses so urgently? Verse 8 makes it obvious that they constitute simply the hierarchical catalog of Christian attributes listed in verses 6 and 7--that is, faith, virtue (strength of character), knowledge, temperance (self control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (unselfish love).
The same word is used in verse 4, where it explains how we are enabled to acquire these traits of Christian character. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these |'by these things'| ye might be partakers of the divine nature."
When these things characterize our lives, we become nothing less than Christlike. He, in His humanity, was all these things as He shared our nature, and we have become partakers of His divine nature when we manifest them.
The wonderful thing is that they are all mediated to us through the gracious promises of the Word of God. God promises, we believe, and then receive! There is an effectual promise for the achievement of each stage in the growth of a Christlike character. Indeed, as Peter had already said by way of introduction, "his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). HMM