2 Peter: Spiritually Nearsighted.

“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).

The year was 1962. It was a time in which my life was forever changed. I was in second grade at the George R. Hamilton Elementary School in Lincoln Park, MI. and a problem arose. I began having difficulty seeing the blackboard. The solution: glasses.

To this day I am extremely nearsighted. Clear vision without any glasses, or contact lenses, is about a couple of inches from my face. No exaggeration. I am fortunate that I am able to wear daily, disposable contact lenses which provide greater convenience and vision ability.

I cannot begin to count the number of glasses I have broken over the years. It always seemed that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. My parents were most patient regarding this. Well, most of the time anyway.

You may be wondering what my reminiscing has to do with today’s text. Simple! There is a work in 2 Peter 1:9 that truly resonates with me. Have you guessed what the word is? It is the word nearsighted.

Nearsighted (μυωπάζω; myopazo) is a present active verb which means to fail to understand, to lack understanding, or to be shortsighted. What applies to me physically can apply to any Christian spiritually. Any believer can develop spiritual myopia. How? By lacking the spiritual qualities found in 2 Peter 1:5-7.

The believer in Christ who fails to consciously and actively add to their faith the qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love, lack clear vision of what it means to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, Peter said that the believers in question were so nearsighted, they are blind (τυφλός; typhlos) or unable to see the spiritual realities of the unseen world.

Take all of the political disharmony and acrimony which is occurring within the United States for example. The tenor of the times reflect a spiritual degeneration within this country paralleling what the Apostle Paul stated in Romans 1:18-32. Unless there is true repentance it will only get worse.

Tragically, this degeneration is not limited to the halls of government, business or secular college campuses and universities. It is also occurring within many evangelical denominations and local churches where the Word of God, and the expository preaching of the same, is dismissed as old fashioned and out of date. It can become so bad, Peter claimed, that people may forget that they were ever forgiven of their sins by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “The failure to diligently pursue spiritual virtues produces spiritual amnesia. Such a person, unable to discern his spiritual condition, will have no confidence about his profession of faith. He may be saved and possess all the blessings of vv. 3–4, but without the excellencies of vv. 5–7, he will live in doubt and fear.”

Does this describe you and your walk with Christ at this moment? Are you becoming spiritually nearsighted and blind to the Word of God and the ravages of the temptations from the fallen world, the devil and even your sinful flesh? Repent immediately and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness and resolve to begin adding to your faith the qualities of a clear seeing believer in Christ.

20/20 vision is so good to have. Life is no longer a blur.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

2 Peter: Effectiveness and Fruitfulness.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8)

2 Peter 1:8 introduces a purpose clause directly related to the previous section of vs. 5-7. What is the purpose of the believer in Christ adding to their faith in Christ?

Peter indicated that if the qualities of virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love are indeed our possession and are increasing, they will presently and actively keep (καθίστημι; kathistemi) or cause the believer in question from being ineffective or unfruitful.

To be ineffective (ἀργός; argos) means to be idle, lazy and useless. It is an individual who accomplishes nothing and is indifferent about it. To be unfruitful (ἄκαρπος; akarpos) means to be unproductive. Ineffectiveness and unfruitfulness are both used with respect to the believer’s knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes that, “The qualities of God that believers are to reflect are understood to be fruits resulting from knowing “our Lord Jesus Christ.” They are the inevitable result of faith, not things added to faith in order to achieve a right standing before God (Romans 3:21-26; James 2:14-26).”

Dr. John MacArthur adds that, “To be ineffective is to be inactive, indolent, and empty (cf. Titus 1:12James 2:20–22). With these virtues increasing in one’s life (2 Pet. 1:5–7), a Christian will not be useless or ineffective. or unfruitful. I.e., unproductive (cf. Matt. 13:22Eph. 5:112 Thess. 3:14Jude 12). When these Christian qualities are not present in a believer’s life (2 Pet. 1:5–7), he will be indistinguishable from an evildoer or a superficial believer. But when these qualities are increasing in a Christian’s life, there is the manifestation of the “divine nature” within the believer.”

Which of the seven virtues listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7 are strongest in your walk with Christ? What virtues are the weakest and need strengthening? Ask the Lord right at this moment to show you what qualities are lacking in your walk of faith and to give you the desire to be disciplined in adding to your faith.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

2 Peter: Brotherly Affection with Love.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge. To knowledge, believers in Christ are to add self-control. To self-control believers in Christ are to add steadfastness. To steadfastness, believers in Christ are to add godliness. To            godliness, believers are to add brotherly affection. To brotherly affection, believers are to add love.

There is a wonderful balance in the last two attributes of sanctification. Brotherly affection is what believers in Christ are to specifically display towards fellow believers in Christ. Love (ἀγάπη; agape) is the self-sacrificial love of the will that believers in Christ are to not only display towards fellow believers in Christ (John 13:34; I Corinthians 13; I Peter 4:8; I John 4:7-11), but also to one’s enemies and unbelievers (Matthew 5:43-48). I Thessalonians 3:12 says, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” The word the Apostle Paul used in I Thessalonians 3:12 is also agape. It is also the word for love found in John 3:16.

What does agape love look like when practiced by believers in Christ? Again, let’s briefly examine I Corinthians 13:1-8a which says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Agape love is patient and kind. It is not envious or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing. It practices the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endure all things. Finally, agape love never ends.

The qualities of agape love which the Apostle Peter instructed believers to add to their sanctification in Christ are practical and applicable towards not only the church but also to those outside of the fellowship of Christ. In other words, agape love ought to be displayed to both believers and unbelievers.

God calls believers in Christ to love both people groups: those who love Christ and those who do not. Therefore, there is no excuse for unloving thoughts, attitudes, speech and behavior by the follower of Christ.

One Christian author writes, “As Christians, how we treat other people speaks louder to the world regarding the authenticity and validity of our beliefs than the doctrines we teach, the creeds we confess, or even the moral and good lives we try to live. If we are self-serving, self-promoting, unforgiving, and arrogant in our relationships, that will drown out what we have to say. When we hold grudges against fellow Christians, cling to pride, and refuse to forgive each other, we may affirm the skeptic’s suspicion that Christianity is a facade of moralism with no real supernatural power to change people’s hearts.”

Jesus said if we only love those who love us, we are in accord with the way the world operates, and there is no benefit for us (Luke 6:32). Jesus said we are to love people who hate us and wrong us. We are to pray for them and meet their needs and endure their scorn. The apostle Paul exhorts us to bear “with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col. 3:12–13). These things are impossible apart from God, and so when they are present in our lives, the unbelieving world sees something unfamiliar to them, something divine, and something they know they need. They see the Spirit of Jesus Christ at work in us.”

May we be obedient to add to our faith, agape love.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

2 Peter: Godliness with Brotherly Kindness.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge. To knowledge, believers in Christ are to add self-control. To self-control believers in Christ are to add steadfastness. To steadfastness, believers in Christ are to add godliness. To            godliness, believers are to add brotherly affection.

Brotherly affection is one word in the New Testament Greek language: φιλαδελφίᾳ. We derive our English word Philadelphia which means brotherly love or kindness as translated from today’s text. What does it mean to possess brotherly kindness?

Brotherly kindness is love and affection for a fellow believer. Throughout the New Testament, brotherly kindness is primarily restricted within the sphere of and in reference to fellow believers in Christ. While agape love is to be shown by believers to not only fellow believers, but also to unbelievers, brotherly kindness is spoken of within the realms of the covenant community of the church. It is love of and for the brethren.

Puritan Matthew Henry writes, “Brotherly kindness is a tender affection to all our fellow-Christians, who are children of the same Father, servants of the same Master, members of the same family, travelers to the same country, and heirs of the same inheritance, and therefore are to be loved with a pure heart fervently, with a love of complacency, as those who are peculiarly near and dear to us, in whom we take particular delight.”

You would think that such an attribute as brotherly kindness would not even have to be mentioned by the apostle. And yet how often are Christians unkind and unloving to their fellow believers in Christ. It is a sad commentary that often pagans treat believers in Christ better and with more respect than other believers in Christ. If this were not so, then the Holy Spirit would not have let Peter to write that it is necessary for the saints to add to their lives such a virtue.

Consider how you may consciously add the characteristic of brotherly kindness in your life and how you may display it towards your fellow believers today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

2 Peter: Steadfastness with Godliness.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge. To knowledge, believers in Christ are to add self-control. To self-control believers in Christ are to add steadfastness. To steadfastness, believers in Christ are to add godliness.

What exactly is godliness? Godliness (εὐσέβεια; eusebeia) means to not only have biblical beliefs but to also practice those biblical beliefs devoutly. It is putting one’s faith in Christ into the practice and experiences of everyday living.

Unfortunately, it seems many professing believers in Christ do not see the need or responsibility for godliness. The growing perspective appears to be “I can do anything I want and other people, including God, have no right to judge me.”

I Timothy 4:8 says, “While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Godliness, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:8, brings eternal benefits. We have been given everything that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and as we make an effort to supplement our faith with virtue, love, self-control, and a host of other virtues, we will grow in our full assurance of salvation and even find ourselves with a greater reward in the life to come (vv. 4–11; see also Matt. 25:14–30). All of this is possible only through the grace of God who is the one who granted us the ability to have faith in the first place (Eph. 2:8–9).    

Dr. Sproul concludes by also saying, “Godliness and holiness, mature saints will tell you, are virtues that reinforce themselves. As we grow in holiness we become more aware of our own sin and, consequently, our own need for His empowering to defeat sin and become even more holy. Where does the development of a life that pleases God rank in your scale of priorities? What can you do this very day to expand your knowledge and practice of that which pleases God?

Soli deo Gloria!

2 Peter: Self-Control with Steadfastness.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge. To knowledge, believers in Christ are to add self-control. To self-control believers in Christ are to add steadfastness.

Steadfastness (ὑπομονή; hypomone) means endurance or the ability to endure. It is the capacity to bear up under difficult circumstances.

In 1959, Alfred Lansing wrote the bestselling biography entitled Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage.

The book recounts the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton in its attempt to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914 and the subsequent struggle for survival endured by the twenty-eight man crew for almost two years. The book’s title refers to the ship Shackleton used for the expedition, the Endurance.

The ship was beset and eventually crushed by ice floes in the Weddell Sea leaving the men stranded on the pack ice. All in all the crew drifted on the ice for just over a year. They were able to launch their boats and somehow managed to land them safely on Elephant Island. Shackleton then led a crew of five aboard the James Caird through the Drake Passage and miraculously reached South Georgia Island 650 nautical miles away. He then took two of those men on the first successful overland crossing of the island. Three months later he was finally able to rescue the remaining crew members they had left behind on Elephant Island.

Virtually every diary kept during the expedition was made available to the author and almost all the surviving members at the time of Lansing’s writing submitted to lengthy interviews. The most significant contribution came from Dr. Alexander Macklin, one of the ship’s surgeons, who provided Lansing with many diaries, a detailed account of the perilous journey the crew made to Elephant Island, and the months of adversity.

I think it is safe to say the few of us will ever experience the difficulties faced by the captain and crew of the Endurance. However, what about the difficulties we do face on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis? These may include ill health, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the task of finding and keeping a new job, a betrayal by a trusted friend, temptation and spiritual adversity, etc.

God calls believers in Christ to persevere and to endure ((Luke 8:15; 21:19; Romans 2:7; 5:3; 8:25; 15:4; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:10; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:3; 5:11; 2 Peter 1:6; Revelation 2:2, 19; Galatians 5:23).

Dr. John Walvoord writes, Believers living in the latter days, especially when surrounded by scoffers and false teachers, also need perseverance. This word hypomenēn means “staying under.” It is frequently used in the New Testament to refer to constancy or steadfast endurance under adversity, without giving in or giving up (cf. Rom. 5:3–4; 15:4–5; 2 Cor. 1:6; 6:4; Col. 1:11; 1 Thes. 1:3; 2 Thes. 1:4; James 1:3).”

Dr. R. C. Sproul once recalled a visitation he made as a pastor. He writes, “Years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the home of a former Miami Dolphins quarterback and meeting his wife, who was dying of cancer. It was a privilege because she was a deeply committed Christian woman. I sat next to her, she looked at me, a single tear flowing from her eyes, and she said, “R.C., I just don’t know how much more I can take. It’s gotten to the place where it seems unbearable.”

“She wasn’t complaining or bitter. She was simply tired. We prayed together. I left, and several days later I got the report that she had died. She had fought the good fight for the faith, she had finished the race, and she had kept the faith. And her pain was over—forever. I look at her life, and I ask myself whether I could endure that kind of prolonged, protracted suffering without becoming absolutely impossible to be around, without becoming bitter and angry. But this is where the rubber meets the road. Will we love God when we’re hurting, when the pain of our experience is so intense?”

What has God called you to endure? What circumstances have entered into your life which have required you to remain steadfast in your faith? There are those who would say that God never wills pain and suffering. Obviously, they have never read the New Testament. Obviously, they have never read John 16:33 which says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 May we add to our faith the quality of steadfastness.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Belgic Confession: LORD’S DAY 2, 2020.

On each Lord’s Day this year, we will reproduce devotional articles taken from The Belgic Confession. The Belgic Confession, written in 1561, owes its origin to the need for a clear and comprehensive statement of Reformed Theology during the time of the Spanish inquisition in the Lowlands. Guido de Brès, its primary author, was pleading for understanding and toleration from King Philip II of Spain who was determined to root out all Protestant factions in his jurisdiction. Hence, this confession takes pains to point out the continuity of Reformed Theology with that of the ancient Christian creeds.

The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.

During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to King Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.

Along with The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort, The Belgic Confession comprise what is collectively referred to as the Thee Forms of Unity. Article #2 of the Belgic Confession is as follows.

Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God.

We know God by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government
of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God:

God’s eternal power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All these things are enough to convict humans and to leave them without excuse. Second, God makes himself known to us more clearly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for God’s glory and for our salvation.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

2 Peter: Knowledge with Self-Control.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge. To knowledge, believers in Christ are to add self-control.

Self-control (ἐγκράτεια; enkrateia) means to have control over one’s desires and actions. It is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “Self-control literally means “holding oneself in.” In Peter’s day, self-control was used of athletes, who were to be self-restrained and self-disciplined. Thus, a Christian is to control the flesh, the passions, and the bodily desires, rather than allowing himself to be controlled by them (cf. 1 Cor. 9:27Gal. 5:23). Moral excellence, guided by knowledge, disciplines desire and makes it the servant, not the master, of one’s life. 

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Basically, to have self-control means that we behave in a manner appropriate to the given situation. It means we defer when it is appropriate to defer. It means we speak when we need to speak. It means that we control our tempers and do not blow up every time things do not go our way. It means that we ignore the minor mistakes of others instead of trying to prove that we are always right.”

“Exercising self-control often means that we put other people before ourselves. It often involves putting the good of a group ahead of the good of an individual. We see this when we look at sports teams. To be sure, good teams have athletes who stand out from all of the others on the team. But if every athlete is always trying to get his time in the limelight, the entire team will suffer. Successful teams always have players that defer to one another when necessary in order to win the victory.”

Dr. Sproul concludes by saying, “When we seek to practice self-control in our lives, we must take care that we do not become wimps. Jonathan Edwards offers helpful advice by saying that when it comes to matters of truth and integrity, we cannot yield to other people. If someone is teaching rank heresy, for example, exercising self-control and behaving in a manner appropriate to the situation means that we call attention to the matter and stand up for the truth.”

Ask God today to give you the strength by the Holy Spirit to exercise self-control in your thinking, feelings and decision making.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

2 Peter: Virtue with Knowledge.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Pastor Burk Parsons explains that, “Even though a certain degree of mystery may exist with respect to how we are sanctified in holiness, without which no one will see the Lord, we do know this: Our sanctification is established on Him who knew no sin but became sin for us and died for us that we might die in Him and live for Him in order that we might reign with Him without the power or presence of sin within us. It is only then that our countenances will reveal our genuine and uninterrupted contentment in the One who has bid us to come and die and live in Him.”

Believers are to add to their faith virtue or godly character and moral excellence. To virtue, believers in Christ are to add knowledge.

Knowledge (γνῶσις; gnosis) in this context refers to biblical knowledge. It is knowledge by the Holy Spirit which is focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ and which is found in the Scriptures. In other words, a follower of Christ is not to be biblically ignorant: either of the truth of God’s Word or the application of said truth.

However, we must be on our guard that our pursuit of knowledge does not become a snare of arrogance. If knowledge for knowledge sake becomes our goal, then even the study of the Bible can become an idol replacing knowing God with a knowledge of God. This can never be. 

As one pastor wisely wrote, “Theology can become a game, a power game to see who can display the most erudition. When it is such a game it proceeds from an unholy passion. A holy passion is a passion inflamed by a godly motive. To pursue knowledge of God to further our understanding of Him and deepen our love for Him is to embark on a quest which delights Him. Knowing the truth is the most liberating power in the world. Not the power to dominate; not the power to impress: These are not the powers we seek. But the power to set free—to give true liberty—is tied to a knowledge of the truth.”

Another pastor writes, “Knowledge means understanding, correct insight, truth properly comprehended and applied. This virtue involves a diligent study and pursuit of truth in the word of God.”

Pastor Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with Him. I must know Him myself; I must know Him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge–I must know Him not as in the visionary dreams of Him, but as the Word reveals Him. I must know His natures, divine and human. I must know His offices (Prophet, Priest and King)–His attributes–His works–His shame–His glory. I must meditate upon Him until I “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. It will be an affectionate knowledge of Him; indeed, if I know Him at all, I must love Him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of Him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Savior, my mind will be full to the brim–I will feel that I have that which my spirit longs for. This is the bread that satisfies all hunger.

Spurgeon continues by saying, “At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I will want to know. The higher I climb, the loftier will be the summits that invite my eager footsteps. I shall want more as I get more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude, this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating that sometimes it will completely lift me above all trials and doubts and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man . . . born of a woman . . . few of days and full of trouble,” for it will throw about me the immortality of the ever-living Savior and cover me with the golden cloak of His eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’ feet, and learn of Him all this day.” 

Are you actively pursuing the truth of God and striving to add biblical knowledge to your moral excellence? They go hand in hand.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

2 Peter: Virtue.

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.“ (2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV).

The Holy Spirit commands believers, through the Apostle Peter, to supplement, or add, to their saving faith. This supplementation is not contributing to their justification but rather it is a necessary component of each believer’s sanctification. Sanctification is the believer’s growth in holiness.

Pastor Burk Parsons writes, “Sanctification is a most simple biblical doctrine, yet it is perhaps the most difficult doctrine to understand. In one sense, sanctification is as simple as understanding the biblical language of being set apart, consecrated, or holy. And in another sense, it is as comprehensive as the application of sacred Scripture to all of life and worship. The Westminster Assembly provided us with one of the more helpful and succinct explanations of sanctification (WSC 35), still questions remain as to the precise nature of God’s work and our work in the Spirit-wrought work of sanctification. By grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone we are positionally sanctified, yet in some mysterious way, God has chosen to sovereignly work in us, through us, and with us to sanctify us progressively by His free grace through repentance, faith, and obedience that we might die more and more unto sin and live unto righteousness.”

How do believers in Christ die more and more unto sin and live more and more unto righteousness? This is what today’s text explains to each of us who are in union with Christ as our Savior and Lord. For the next several days, we are going to examine each of these attributes of which we are to add to our spiritual life and worship of God. Today, we examine the attribute of virtue.

Virtue (ἀρετή; areten) refers to having excellence of character. It is demonstrating outstanding goodness. It is the believer’s quality of moral excellence.

Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “First in Peter’s list of virtues is a word that, in classical Greek, meant the God-given ability to perform heroic deeds. It also came to mean that quality of life that made someone stand out as excellent. It never meant cloistered excellence, or excellence of attitude, but excellence that is demonstrated in life. Peter is here writing of moral energy, the power that performs deeds of excellence.

Are you an individual who seeks to perform deeds of excellence which bring glory to God alone. Ask God today to show you to become a person of virtue and moral excellence.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!