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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, July 12, 2013

Add to Your Faith: 2Peter 1

Every grace is founded upon faith. Peter says to "add" [as a tree adds branches and
leaves-the addition of growth] virtue to our faith. Virtue is being real and right, true to
God's creation. You must have faith to add virtue, but faith is matured by virtue. To put
it another way, faith without works is dead. 2Peter 1:4. This comes from the
knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord. vs. 2. These promises enable us to
escape the corruption in the world through evil desire.

Add Virtue to Faith.

True faith include virtue as the tree is in the seed.  Virtue, in both the Greek and
English, means "manly." Being what a man ought to be; or what a woman ought to be.
According to God's creation, not as defiled and deformed by sin. Faith is restorative
and healing. We need to get on with it and seek virtue and genuineness in Godliness.

Because this virtue is of faith and by faith, no merit attaches to it of the flesh.  It is the
work of the Holy Spirit who has begun a good work in us through faith.

Add Knowledge to Virtue  2 Peter 1:5

Knowledge is also to be added, but it is added to Virtue.  Ignorant virtue can be deadly.
Israel had a zeal toward God, but not with knowledge.  Young Christians fall into
this trap often, and zealous seek what is "right" without the study and information
needed to understand the right.

Hebrews 5:13,14 says that babes without knowledge are unskillful in the word of
righteousness, their senses must be exercised to know good and evil.    Evil done in
ignorance may have the same result as evil done on purpose.  Jesus was killed because
of ignorance [Acts 3].The church becomes filled with empty moralism, pious
exercises, and strife and division when Christians do not study the way of
righteousness and grow up to know good and evil.  The result is bondage to the
conscience and lording over others.

Certainly virtue is incomplete without knowledge, but knowledge grows out of virtue,
for men do not really began to know until they try to honor God by godly work.  But
all is included in faith, and these "additions" simply indicate that faith is coming into
its own.

Add Temperance [Self-Control] to Knowledge 2 Peter 1:6

Knowledge is power. Temperance is required to remain balanced and effective.  You
must have the power of knowledge to be effective, but you must have temperance to
perfect the use of power.  Knowledge must not be allowed to get out of control.  God
has the greatest knowledge and the greatest self-control, for He never loses sight of His
eternal plan and purpose.

Temperance does not go to extreme.  Eating is necessary, but temperance demands that
I do not over eat, or become unbalanced in consumption.  So it is with knowledge. 
Sound knowledge is balanced, recognizing that truth is very wide and "truth" in
isolation can be deadly.  Young Christians, intoxicated with forgiveness of sins, may
become careless in their obedience to God.  In their desire for holiness they may
become extreme and overbearing.

This is the reason that Scripture must be interpreted by Scripture, and we must not fall
into proof-texting, which leads to intemperance in interpretation.  God elects, so it is
not necessary to pray or witness," is intemperate knowledge, not balanced and mature. 
See my article at http://tinyurl.com/m7n8y6d

The power that knowledge brings is necessary for self-control or temperance, but
without temperance, knowledge is useless and deadly.  But all grow out of faith, the
foundation of everything for it give us access to Christ, the fountain of every good.

Add Patience to Temperance

Being self-controlled for a moment is of no value.  What good is holding your temper
for three minutes and then blowing up and scattering everything in sight?  What good
is holding to your diet for one day and then binge eating for three.

Temperance must be perfected by patience and long-suffering.  Of course, patience
grows out of temperance, for if we do not learn to control ourselves, we have no
opportunity to be patient.

God is not only self-controlled but He controls Himself until all His purposes are
fulfilled.  He is patient with His people until they come to the perfection of Christ and
His purposes for them are realized.  He is even patient with the ungodly until His
purpose for them is fulfilled.  Many an ungodly man or woman has been patiently
endured by God because He determined that their children or grandchildren would
come to Christ and glorify His Name.

This patience that grows up out of and perfects temperance also has its seed in faith,
for only faith in Christ provides the strength to subdue the flesh and experience the
patience and longsuffering that brings glory to God.

Add Godliness to Patience

Without godliness, patience is just stubbornness and rebellion.  Refusing to change an ungodly habit or persisting in a false doctrine is wicked.  Of course if you do not continue in the faith, godliness will escape you, so it is founded upon patience.  But godliness completes and perfects patience.

The end of all things for the child of God is to be like God, and stubbornness and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and ends in darkness.   It is not a sign of great character to persevere in a wrong way, a wrong idea, or a wrong feeling.  Old things are to be put off and new things are to be put on.

Goodness for goodness sake is idolatry.  We are to do all things for the glory of God, not for personal goals or the praise of men.

But both godliness and patience are contained in true faith as the tree is in the acorn.  But we are to give diligence to "add" these things that we be no more children, foolish and self-centered.
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