If pressured to answer, “What’s the most important thing to God?”, many Christians would answer correctly by saying, “His glory.” Where the answers get more difficult is when asked, “How do people carry out what’s most important to God?” In other words, how do people glorify God?
While the answers may vary, one thing is certain. We glorify God when our character is like the character of Jesus. That’s the point Peter is making in his second letter. After telling his readers that they have received and possess a precious faith, they need to nourish and strengthen that faith by pursuing Christ-like character. That work starts with the pursuit of virtue, or “moral excellence.” The process continues by nourishing virtue with knowledge and continues in an ascent of character traits which culminate in love. If believers work at supplementing their faith by pursuing these character traits, it will keep them from being ineffective and unproductive as they grow in their knowledge of Christ.
There are so many things we are pursuing these days: more customers, higher profits, better employees, better health, and even a little more wealth…and the list goes on and on. There’s nothing inherently wrong with pursuing these things. Where we go wrong is when we pursue them at the cost of our character. When we compromise what’s important to God, namely His glory through our character, by prioritizing what’s more important to us, namely our glory at the expense of our character, we leave the path of “participating in the divine nature” and return to the path of “corruption caused by evil desires.” The only way we can truly get the glory we seek is to fulfill what we were meant to do. We are to mature into the image of our Creator.
In the beginning, God created man in His image, and he was declared “good.” Then sin entered the picture and man’s goodness was corrupted, his godly image marred, and shame overcame his being. His glory was lost. So how can glory be restored? We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that our glory can only be found by reversing the process in which it was lost. Shame is cast away when we place our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:11). Through faith, we are “recreated” (2 Cor 5:17) and, once again declared good, or righteous by our Creator (Romans 5:1). All of this occurs by the will of God, who brings all things to pass for our good, which results in our being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
Glory isn’t found in the pursuit of more stuff or more prestige. Our glory is found in the pursuit of what God wants for us. What is that? It’s our conformance into the image of Christ. What’s our role in that? We must…
…make every effort to supplement [our] faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Peter 1:5-8).