According as 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:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be piLrtakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
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.
For he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. -- II Peter 1: 3-11
"All things that pertain unto life and godliness" are fruits of the Spirit, that divine spark within every man which links him to his divine Creator. The unfolding of the latent capacities of this individualized Spirit into dynamic powers is the purpose of our repeated embodiments upon the earth, and througout the universe the law of service operates so that the more evolved assist those of lesser strength to ascend the spiral ladder of evolution toward God.
Such an act of assistance -- the supreme Sacrifice -- was performed by the Christ, for His becoming the indwelling planetary Spirit of the earth was indeed that which "called us to glory and virtue." Motivated only by the unselfish will to serve, this mighty Ray of Cosmic Love began at the time of the Crucifixion its purpose of cleansing the Desire World about the earth, and impelling mankind from within to unfold the heart qualities and build purer and better bodies. This gave us "exceeding great and precious promises," for it provided the urge to master the lower nature engendered by the Lucifer Spirits, and thus to escape "the corruption that is in the world through lust." The attainment of these "exceeding great and precious promises" is the high hope of every true disciple of Christ.
The acceptance of the divinity of the Christ may be regarded as the first step on the Path, but unless His precepts form the basic pattern of our everyday activities, we are not really Christians. We must, indeed, believe in and have faith in Christ as the Son of God, but we must do more than have faith. We are admonished to live so that virtue, or strength, is added to faith, and to those, knowledge. The acquiring of knowledge is a part of the process of unfolding the powers of the Spirit, hence essential to the highest development. Virtue and innocence (or ignorance) are not synonymous. True virtue is the result of knowing the difference between right and wrong and consciously using the will to do that which we know is right.
The other qualities which Peter mentions: temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, are all of the heart, and "he that lacketh these things . . . . cannot see afar off." He who diligently cultivates these fruits of,the Spirit earns for himself the highest of rewards: entrance into "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord."
--Rays from the Rose Cross Magazine, January, 1950