Salvation Requires Growth #2
Welcome back readers to this discussion. We are reading of the growth God requires for the Christian to receive His promises, 2 Peter 1:3-11. Last week, we noted it takes for than “just faith” to have the hope of salvation and home in heaven. “To be sure” this text says we must “add to your faith” other things, and we looked at “virtue” and “knowledge”, from verse 5. Let’s continue to examine the text starting with verse 6.
Verse 6 says, “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;” Having now faith in our life, and then virtue- the moral quality of God in me, as seen by others, and the knowledge- knowing all that God reveals about Himself and what is expected of man to be, we must add these traits: Temperance, Patience, and Godliness! Temperance is not your typical, everyday word. Temperance, according to Vines Bible Dictionary, means “self-control”. “The various powers bestowed by God upon man re capable of abuse; the right use demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God.” Simply put, the knowledge of God’s word in my life, now controls my life and actions. The Spirit reveals God’s mind in the Bible. Many passages relate to our spirit must rule over our flesh. Thus it controls the flesh. With the knowledge of God instructing my spirit through His Word, I have the ability to control my desires, my actions, my life.
PATIENCE is to be added to this self-control. Patience is strengthened by trials, James 1:3,12. Sometimes the word is translated as “longsuffering”. It is the ability to abide under hard times, conflicts, temptations. Personally I liken this to when I was learning to ride a bike. I was determined to do so, so I jumped onto the bycicle, ready to ride of into the sunset. But I was upset, to fall right on over and off the bike! My mother said “get up and try again”, and I did. That time, knowing what to expect, I pushed the pedal and working the handle bars, I traversed several feet before falling over again. I repeated this action many times, until I finally realized I was able to ride the bike successfully. It is frustrating at best as you start out, but eventually the burden is behind and we go forward without much effort and with ease. Overcoming sin in our life is much the same. We know we must do so, but often are falling off, to sin again. I get up, with the idea, I will beat this temptation to sin, and with determination and God’s word and instruction in righteousness, the joy of the sin, is replaced with the joy of righteousness. And I conquer the sin. Then it is on to the next temptation to overcome.
Next we must add GODLINESS! This term means of sound doctrine and its effects on my life. Thus it depicts a life of righteousness, like God, and our conduct being like God’s. This is exactly the opposite of what we see in the lives of those who are worldly. It is somewhat the pivotal point, where I and others see in my life Christ’s life. I don’t want to be like “everybody else”, but like Christ and the Father. With temperance and patience, I have yielded control of my life and body to God’s Spirit and the Word’s direction over my life. When I fail, I get up and go at that sin that has beset me, and go after that temptation until it is conquered. “I AM COMMITED TO GOD!”