Never Barren or Unfruitful – II Peter 1:5-9

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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We have Christian friends in Canada who own a fruit orchard.  A few years ago, they had an unusually warm and early spring. All of the trees grew beautiful new blooms in preparation to produce a hefty harvest. Then a severe cold snap with snow swept in, killing all those new blooms and any hope for a good harvest. It didn’t matter how deeply rooted the trees were, or how beautiful the trees looked in summer. Those trees were going to remain barren and unfruitful for one whole year.

In Peter’s second epistle, he gave a meaningful promise to his fellow Kingdom saints about spiritual growth. After discussing their “precious faith” (II Peter 1:1) unto salvation, and their “precious promises” (vs. 4) of a new nature and eternal hope, he told them to give “all diligence” to add six things to their faith. First, he told them to add “virtue,” which means manliness, valor, or excellence (vs. 5). Believers needed courage and toughness to face trials, rather than being too soft. Paul urged the same mindset when he told us to “quit you like men, be strong” (I Corinthians 16:13). Second, they needed to add “knowledge,” which refers to an assimilation of basic doctrinal facts to know what the Lord expected of them. Third was “temperance,” meaning self-control. They would never be spiritually stable if they exercised no restraint in sinful tendencies. Fourth was “patience,” referring to endurance. They must not establish a pattern of crumbling every time hardship came. Instead they must draw on God’s grace, endure, and remember this victory for future strength. Fifth was “brotherly kindness,” or brotherly love. Just as one is incomplete without being loved, one is incomplete without demonstrating a kind love for other saints. Sixth was “charity,” which refers to an unconditional love for others. This quality is the needed icing on the cake of Christianity. Peter promised “if these things be in you, and abound…ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful.” To be barren of spiritual fruit would indicate a barrenness, emptiness, and lack of spiritual life within the soul. Instead, allowing the Lord to produce these qualities would bring real spiritual life and inner joy.

Peter’s list is mirrored by two references from Paul. Romans 5:3-4 refers to maturing through tribulation, patience, experience, and hope. Then, in Galatians 5:22-26, he specifies the fruit of the Spirit. If you want to never be barren or unfruitful, allow God to grow these qualities in you.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."