Our Spiritual Growth – Progressive Sanctification

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2 Peter 1:3–11 – Our Sanctification – Growing into the likeness of Christ

Progressive Sanctification – A lifelong journey of putting off sinful attitudes and actions and putting on Godliness and righteousness.

  • With the goal of growing closer to the Lord (intimacy with Him) and maturing daily toward Christlikeness (living it out).
  • This is accomplished through the active effort and discipline of the believer as they grow in the spiritual disciplines that have been provided by God and His wonderful grace.
    • Taking in the Word, worship, prayer, fellowship, serving, witnessing and etc.
  • We have all we need to DO IT.
    • Word of God, Spirit of God, the people of God.
  • This wonderful process will only become complete when we eventually come into the presence of our Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-11

[3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

 [5] For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, [6] and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, [7] and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. [8] 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. [9] For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. [10] Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. [11] For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (ESV)



Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, no matter how you feel, because God promises a good result.

  • We need faith both for salvation (Ro 1:16,17) and for obedient living (Heb 11).
  • Faith is foundational to a godly life—without faith, it is impossible to please God.
  • Faith is a commitment to obey Christ, no matter what.

Virtue is moral excellence.

  • A desire to be moral excellent (Christlikeness)
  • Virtue is the desire to please Christ, no matter what.

Knowledge completes the foundation, for without knowing the Word of God, we wouldn’t know how to obey Christ even if we had the desire to obey!

  • Reading, meditating, applying, obeying the Word of God

These first three qualities must work together to provide a strong foundation for our growth and maturity in Christ.


Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that results from obedience to Christ.

  • It requires a lot of hard work to build on the foundation, but the Holy Spirit assists us in developing self-control, which is really submitting ourselves to Him to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it alone – it requires cooperation!

Perseverance is a steadfastness that allows us to develop that self-control (1 Co 15:58).

  • Clinging to Jesus with all our might and continuing to hang on as long as it takes to be victorious.
  • KEEP GOING.  It is not a sprint it is a journey.
  • No one will ever be perfect, that is why we have JESUS…HE WAS!

Self-control and perseverance are the “Hard Work” of the sanctification process.  They must work together to produce results.

OUR MATURITY (The fruit we bear as we grow)

Godliness in habitually responding in a Christlike way (1Ti 4:7-16).

  • It is the fruit of laying the strong foundation of faith, virtue, and knowledge and then doing the hard work of self-control and perseverance.
  • As we learn and grow in the Lord, and persist in forming new and godly habits, we respond more consistently in reflecting God’s character.
  • Godliness is acting like Jesus as He lives in and through us.

Brotherly affection is being kind one to another.

  • Christlike character and godly habits always affect the way we treat each other; we should be characterized by brotherly affection.
  • Kind, tenderhearted and forgiving.

Love is the agape motivation that is our ultimate goal as believers (Jn 15:12-13).

  • We are to love God and one another as God loves us (1 Jn 3:14-18).
  • This proves God’s love is really in us and that we have truly become like He is, for He is love (1 Jn 4:8).

If we lay the right foundation (faith, virtue, and knowledge)

Continue in the hard work required to become godly (self-control and perseverance)

The payoff (godliness, brotherly affection, and love) will surely come.

We are to not become weary in doing what is right (Gal 6:9).  He promises us in 2 Peter 1:10 that if we diligently live out these eight qualities we will never stumble!  Let us be diligent to make progress on this stairway for sanctification.

I have added additional thoughts and comments, but the outline and much of the information was obtained at www.bibicalcounselingcenter.org