At first glance, this does not seem to help us very much in answering this question: how do I walk face-to-face with the Lord? The very first thing that you must do is to be absolutely convinced that He desires to walk in an in-depth relationship with you. You have to know that He wants you, loves you, and wants to be around you.
Peter says that you have been given great and precious promises so that you might be a partaker of the Divine nature. The word partaker in Greek actually refers to partner. You have been given great and precious promises so that you may be a partner in the divine nature.
Does this not speak of relationship? Not only does it speak of relationship, but relationship on a very intimate basis. It speaks of a relationship that has the force to change what you are.
We spend so much time not liking or accepting ourselves, yet we are powerless to change who and what we are. Our personality is virtually set by the time we are four. Change should be, and is brought, by the hand of God. We cannot change what or who we are. We can modify our behavior, and we can even help to change such things as environment and circumstances, but we are not strong enough to produce lasting personality change. The good news is that He is. Can you imagine what it would actually be like to be a partner in His nature? Then Peter makes a remarkable statement, “Add to your faith virtue.” Virtue is a very abstract word. In Greek it means, to have high moral thought, to be pure in thought, and to be positive. How can you add to your faith high moral thought? Just how are we going to do that?
I am not saying that we shouldn’t try to have a higher thought process. We know that we should, but can that alone build an in-depth relationship with the Lord?
Let’s consider this word from its Hebraic equivalent. The word translated virtue in Hebrew (טוב) means courtship of love.
Peter is saying that if you want to be a partaker of the divine nature, add to your faith a courtship of love. We know that when we received Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our life that we were given a measure of faith. To that faith, we should now add a courtship of love. What in the world is he telling us to do? He is saying that you build a relationship with the Lord the same way that you build a relationship with anyone else.
Consider your spouse. When you first met him/her, you were totally captivated. You were madly in love. What was important to him/her became important to you. You did those things that he/she wanted to do, even if you did not want to do them. His/her goals began to be your goals. Ensuring that his/her needs were provided became an important priority in your life. You even began to view things the way that he/she viewed them. These are examples of adding a courtship of love to the relationship.
It produced change in you in ways that you could not bring about yourself. The relationship itself began to change you because it had the force and power to do so. Self-centeredness began to be broken as you concentrated on your spouse. You began to line up as one person. As the force of this relationship continued throughout the years, you began to think alike, act alike, and some would even say look alike.
Do we see this idea in other passages of Scripture? In Galatians 4:19, Paul says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Let us consider the word formed. In Greek, it is the word μορφόω morpoo and it means to form or change into a specific image.
Paul is talking about a change that comes into a life because of the relationship with Jesus. He is being formed in you. You are becoming a partner in the Divine nature, His nature. In this way, Jesus comes to full growth and maturity in the life of the believer. This is the same thing that Peter is talking about when he says to add a courtship of love to your faith. As you began the relationship with Jesus, you were madly in love with Him. You were concerned with what He thought. You wanted to think like He thinks. What is important to Him began to be important to you. His goals became your goals. You even began to see others as He sees them. As you did this, you began to change. You began to be conformed into His image. Jesus was beginning to come to maturity in your life. You were becoming a partaker of His nature. Here is where we can have problems with this if we don’t keep it practical. For example, in our earthly relationships, when the new begins to wear off, we go right back into our shell of selfishness. Even in the relationships that we have with our spouses, we can adopt the attitude of, “I told you that I loved you when I married you, and if it changes, I will let you know.”
Change comes with involvement. Involvement takes our eyes off of ourselves and places them on the one that we are in relationship with. This is why works are important, but only if they proceed from the relationship and not to replace the relationship. Peter says to always have that courtship of love with the Lord.
Peter also says, "Not only do you add virtue (courtship of love) to your faith but also add knowledge." Have you ever wondered why Peter said first virtue and then knowledge? Hebraically, it makes total sense.
If we were to define knowledge in English or Greek it would be along the lines of an accumulation of facts, or the ability to work with and use facts or information. Hebraically, however, the word knowledge is the word יָדַ֖ע (yadah), and it means to experience, to touch with the hands, to be acquainted with, to be intimate with and to get to know by experience. If you have yadah with the Lord, you are also allowing Him to have the responsibility for your life. Peter is saying that as you add to your faith a courtship of love, then you will be able to grow in your experience with God. You will get to know Him on a more intimate level. Your relationship will take on a more personal, experiential character. Through the courtship of love comes intimacy. Through this intimacy also comes faith and trust as you see Him assume the total responsibility for your life. In Matthew 7:21-23 we read:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” Continue