Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Part III

Jack Davis

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful…But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” II Pet. 2-11

ENDOWED TO BE ENDURED: the word “given” here carries the thought of being furnished with an estate. But are there any coming into it? “The exceeding great and precious promises” and “all things that pertain to life and godliness” are given that we might be made partakers in full measure of the divine nature. Therefore we are challenged to go after by the diligence of faith’s appropriation, to lay claim to these stabilizing characteristics and their glorious benefits. We are strongly urged to come into the realization of this estate by adhering to the following instructions. These (vs. 5-7), are facets of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. These traits of the divine nature are essential characteristics of bridehood which develop in an experimental knowledge of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…” I have often referred to these: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity, as spiritual building blocks on a sure foundation, as elements of successful Christian living. They may also be seen as layers of grace.

In making sure, our faith is supplemented with virtue. To para phrase: In your life of faith lay claim to an ample supply of Christ-life excellence. This, of course, must be realized in a knowledge of Him. He is teaching us of growth in intimate awareness. This is far deeper than theory, for it is enjoyed when study is coupled with experience. We do well to follow Paul in such wise investment. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” – Phil. 3:7-8.

To our Apostle Paul this knowledge was worth everything, may it also be true with us. Temperance may teach us of Spirit-enabled discipline. Some have translated this as “self-control,” but let us not be misled into thinking that temperance means more than wholehearted submission to the Holy Spirit’s control daily, moment by moment. Patience is generally thought, of as, “steadfast endurance under hardship,” but I am impressed that this trait is a development that comes from spiritual insight. We may enjoy the God-given ability to see beyond current pressures, and yet face them in view of present resources and future benefits. As Paul wrote; “we glory in tribulations … knowing that tribulation worketh patience…” Rom. 5:3. And “knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” – James 1:3,12.

Godliness: some have translated this “piety” or “godlikeness.” We are told to be holy for He is holy, and to be merciful for our Father in heaven is merciful. Divine likeness only develops in us by the working of His almighty power. I feel certain that this word well expresses the attitude or spirit of reverence and deference to God in all matters. The Scriptures plainly teach us of the rich and sure reward of being partakers of godliness. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” – I Tim. 6:5. “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” – I Tim. 4:8. Therefore we are told to “exercise” ourselves “rather unto godliness” – I Tim. 4:7.

Brotherly kindness (Phileo) the love (Agape) of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost and as we yield to the Holy Spirit we find that “agape” and phileo” flow in the same veins. As we revere and defer to God in all things, also brotherly kindness is produced in us. Consider Ephesians 4:30 – 5:2. Charity (Agape) which is shed abroad also grows, develops in us as we come to know the love of Christ in everyday circumstances - Heb. 13:1. “If these things (Christ-life qualities) be in you…” The Greek word for “in” expresses that which is under one as a foundation or basis. These are in us by regeneration and presence and power of the Holy Spirit. “And abound” manifesting a growth in the Spirit’s fulness and control. Thus securing and preserving us from being barren or unfruitful.

A child of God that “hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” is prone to going back to living like he did before he was saved. “Wherefore the rather” than being blind, forgetful, barren and unfruitful; lacking in all these things, let us give diligence in making sure. In these God has provided that we get and use our “hinds’ feet,” being sure-footed. By these “ye shall never fall” (stumble). We need not run uncertainly as we “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling.” By partaking fully of these characteristics of the divine nature, our steps are secured. In “giving diligence” to seek realization and fulfillment of these exceeding great and precious promises, we are brought into the enjoyment of winning a sure reward (II Jn. 8). Thus we also are claiming an “abundant entrance.” This is another clear and ample indication that the eternal estate will not be classless, “every man in his own order” (I Cor. 15:23). Let us be sure, be very sure.
Jack Davis