ADDING TO YOUR FAITH (Part 2)

    We are continuing our discussion and study concerning the question, “What does God expect of me after baptism?” Seeking the answer to this question in the Bible, we began looking at some specific and necessary life components, such as those presented in 2 Peter 1:5-11. These are needed in order to build up one’s faith. We’ve previously discussed the first two attributes Virtue and Knowledge. Let’s now continue with the next item in the list.
    SELF-CONTROL. It is interesting that this quality is mentioned often in the Bible. It was one of the topics we considered earlier when looking at the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (in a past article – July 28, 2019). It is a word intended to promotes moderation and sobriety. Self-control implies restraint of actions, controlling outbursts of emotions, constraining our temper, bridling the tongue, and curbing or desire for money and power. Consider the order of words presented here and how we are to keep “adding” these qualities to our faith. Looking at it from that perspective, this passage teaches us that knowledge is useless if we don’t link it to, or associate it with self-control. Through knowledge, we learn to control our character and resist temptation. Linking knowledge and self control helps us more quickly recognize that it is always right to do right, and it’s always wrong to do wrong. It is never right to do wrong, and it is never wrong to do right. Learn more about the Biblical concept of self-control by reading these passages: 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Timothy 1:7; and Proverbs 29:11.
    Peter goes on to teach that we need to add PERSEVERANCE also. (The KJV, ASV says patience and ESV has steadfastness). What is perseverance? It is a word that means, “steadfastness, constancy, endurance.” Thayer’s Dictionary says, “In the New Testament, it is the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” This does not mean that it is a passive resignation regarding current circumstances, but an active resistance under the weight of affliction, sorrow, and grief. We must keep the focus of our service to God despite the difficulties we will face (2 Timothy 2:3; James 1:2-3). We need to recognize that perseverance is built through God’s word! That is how Jesus was able to withstand the devil! He combated him with “It is written!” (Luke 4:4,8; Ephesians 6:17)
    GODLINESS. This is a reverence, respect, and piety towards God. It is a religious fervor and compassion for the spiritual. But, it means that we must take ourselves off the throne of our own heart and place the Lord upon it – making Him the center of our lives in submission to Him. Read 1 Timothy 4:7-8 and discern what the Bible instructs about the importance of godliness.
    BROTHERLY KINDNESS (love). The Anglicized, transliteration of this word is philadelphia(just like the city with the same name). It is a compound word meaning “fraternal affection.” It has to do with the genuine concern for fellow Christians. It is not the strongest word in the Bible for “love”, but it is very close. Think about how can we demonstrate brotherly love in our lives. What does Romans 12:9-10 expect of us in regard to this attribute?
    LOVE. This is the final “ingredient” to add to our faith. The word “love” in this verse is the Greek word agape. It certainly differs from brotherly love because it is a stronger and deeper love! It is that love we have discussed before which is something we do with our mind and will, not just with our emotions. This love desires the good for others and is not obtained because someone has done something good for us or treated us with kindness. Have you noticed that the Bible speaks a lot about love? Even in this passage here, notice that Peter begins with faith and ends with love! That teaches us that faith and love are connected, necessary, and essential in being a true disciple of Jesus.
    Now, in conclusion, why is it important to develop these virtues in our lives? Look at the answer Peter gives us in verses 10 and 11. We will not be judged according to how much money we have, by the degree we’ve obtained, nor any other measure of human success. We will be judged according to obedience, love, and compassion. These attributes are another form of godly, spiritual fruit. Since this is the will of God, then shouldn’t we make this a priority to do as Peter instructs and add these to our faith? Why don’t you sit down and pray that God will help you develop these qualities in your life today? You’ll be glad you did! – TS