How to see God – 7 qualities listed in 2 Peter 1:4-11
4For 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. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
10Therefore, 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; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
I’m going through a study of II Peter, and I spent a few hours on 1:4-11. While considering some of the thoughts my friends had as we discussed the verses I constructed the following, and thought it worth sharing with you.
I created this illustration to encapsulate my view of the whole process of these 7 qualities – not going too far into how the individual qualities interact themselves – though I’d love to get around to that later. Each one of the qualities mentioned leads to and enables the next quality, while the exercise of the next one strengthens and makes more perfect the previous ones. These qualities are progressive, consecutive, and concurrent.
I’m not sure if everyone is aware of how a telescope works, but the idea is that the:
<———> (how long the telescope is) determines how wide a view it can see. So if these qualities are yours and are increasing you will be able to see more and more of the whole picture of God. So the more they increase in you (the greater the focal length) the bigger picture you can take in.
(the clarity of the picture) is determined by the width of the lens on the far end. So the farther away from the eyepiece, and the wider the lens (love) the clearer the picture of what you’re looking at. It’s like the difference between a blurry polaroid and professional portrait or watching Lord of the Rings on your iPod instead of at the theater. Details come into focus that were invisible before when the Angular resolution is increased. The greater your Angular resolution, the clearer, more accurate, and detail-rich your picture of God.
is the third consideration of a telescope primarily determined by the diameter of the aperture (the opening on the far end). It doesn’t matter what resolution or focal length you have if you can’t gather enough light to see what you’re looking at. It’s not a linear relationship either – a telescope that has an aperture 3 times larger will have 9 times more light-gathering power. So the larger the opening on the end gets, the more it multiplies your ability to gather light.
Even a slightly increased capacity to love multiplies all of the other qualities, and allows more and more of the divine nature to get to you on the narrow end. How beautiful that Paul talks about only seeing things dimly in I Cor 13 as he’s talking about Love. He states that when the perfect love comes we will see things clearly – not dimly or in silhouette. Love is the aperture that allows us to gather in the divine light. It’s almost as if he is talking about a telescope. The more you increase the aperture, the more you can see of God – the more you can experience of the divine nature.
…if you don’t have an eyepiece, a telescope is worthless. That’s why the series of attributes starts with arete (moral excellence). It is that divine energy placed into man that opens us up to the rest of the qualities. Without the same spirit and energy placed within us, the rest is simply words that can never take on substance in our lives. Gnosis (knowledge) defines those concepts as we diligently explore them, but we must master our impatience and fleshly desires to have self-control in working out what our knowledge reveals about arete. Hupomone (perseverance) means we must do this as a continual effort – what Nietzsche would call a long obedience in the same direction. Through this we gain a spiritual maturity, and dare I say, a fear of the Lord and a beginning of wisdom, which brings us to philadelphia (affection) as we recognize our responsibility in relating to our fellow humans, and finally to agape (love), the fulfillment of the law – the greatest expression of divine character, and the foremost effort of the follower of Christ.
How beautiful is His word.