“. . . And in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness” (2 Peter 1:6).
Commentator Michael Green has this to say about the believer who displays biblical perseverance: “The mature Christian does not give up. His Christianity is like the steady burning of a star rather than the ephemeral brilliance (and speedy eclipse) of a meteor.” The Greek word translated “perseverance” in today’s verse (hupomone) refers to consistent endurance in righteousness and faithfulness in resisting temptation.
Godly perseverance is a sure evidence of true salvation.
The precise meaning for hupomone is hard to pinpoint. There is no exact English equivalent, and it’s not common in classical Greek; but the Bible often uses it in reference to the toils and troubles that are unwelcome in life and produce inconvenience and harm. This word even includes the idea of death, as in the Jewish writings in which hupomone speaks of spiritual stamina that empowers people to die for their faith in God.
Despite its scriptural associations with painful difficulties and death, hupomone has a positive meaning. William Barclay notes, “Hupomone does not simply accept and endure; there is always a forward look in it. It is said of Jesus . . . that for the joy set before him, he endured the Cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). That is hupomone, Christian steadfastness. It is the courageous acceptance of everything that life can do to us and the transmuting of even the worst event into another step on the upward way.”
Godliness is at the heart of scriptural perseverance. The Greek for “godliness” (eusebeia) denotes a practical awareness of God in every area of life—a God-consciousness. The word could also be translated “true religion” or “true worship.” It gives God His rightful place by worshiping Him properly, something that is not often done in the contemporary church. Genuine public worship is more than “relevant” programs, new rituals, or catchy music—it contains much reverence for God.
If you are truly a Christian, you will also revere God in your devotional life and obediently persevere in His will daily. You will rejoice and be aware of God in every detail of life.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask the Lord to increase both your perseverance and godly worship.
For Further Study
Read Revelation 2:8-11; 3:7-13. What are the results and benefits of faithful perseverance?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.