2 Peter 1:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Peter 1:9, NIV: But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

2 Peter 1:9, ESV: For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

2 Peter 1:9, KJV: But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2 Peter 1:9, NASB: For the one who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

2 Peter 1:9, NLT: But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

2 Peter 1:9, CSB: The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.

What does 2 Peter 1:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter's letter is written to Christian believers. He has said that in our knowing God, through faith in Jesus, God has made it possible for us to possess the qualities of goodness which Jesus Himself demonstrated. Peter listed those qualities, telling us to make every effort to add them alongside our faith. Now he makes a commentary on what it means if we do not have those qualities: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. In short, it means our whole existence as believers is an exercise in missing the point.

In truth, Peter is even more specific than that. He says that, if we fail to use these tools, we have become so nearsighted that we are as good as blind. We are living as if we were unbelievers, who really are blind, spiritually. Peter's point seems to be that a Christian preoccupied with the short-term, on what they want out of the moment immediately in front of them, has lost the ability to see life from any kind of eternal perspective.

Those who set aside the positive traits Peter listed have forgotten that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Again, the idea seems that of overlooking who we are and what our lives are for. We still see participating in sin, or less-than-Christlike behaviors, as normal. Instead, we should see those as things we we've been cleansed from, which we have the power to move on from.

Again, it's critical to remember that Peter is addressing believers: men and women who are saved by faith in Christ and will spend eternity with God. The tragic loss of abandoning these qualities, living only for ourselves, is the loss of opportunity. It's not a question of losing salvation, but of failing to become who we can be in the here and now, used as God intended to fulfill His purpose on earth.