Please note: This post is part 1 of several posts that will come at the beginning of each month. Although regular weekly posts will continue on various passages of scripture (after a brief summer break), the continuation of the study of II Peter 1:5-7 will be posted only on the first week of each month until this Bible study is completed. ALSO, Pastor Holloway will be taking a break from weekly blog posts from July 14 to July 27. The next blog post will be July 29.
From time to time we see relatives that we haven’t seen for awhile. The inevitable comments that come forth are something like: “the kids have grown so much!” … “They are so tall!” … “They look so mature!” Not to state the obvious, but the fact of life is we all tend to grow (in height or width) over time as we mature.
Faith will grow in a maturing believer. When we hear this statement, we are often drawn to thoughts of “how big” our faith is. Some have even approached me to say their faith just isn’t big enough! Faith needs to be only as big as a mustard seed (very small) to be useful (Matthew 17:20). However, it’s frequency of use and length of use grow over a dispensation of greater spiritual maturity. So, your spiritual maturity is connected to how long and how often you are willing to trust God (exercise your faith).
“Faith is not only illumination but character.” — expositors Greek Testament.
What does the target of growing faith look like?
“5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
Consider a believer’s growing faith described in II Peter 1. This epistle declares that this growing faith is filled with purposeful action. Such faith is not an automatic outcome of salvation! The first phrase says, “...giving all diligence...” — II Peter 1:5 tells us to add to God’s precious promises our own diligence. That is an important motivation. Stop. Rehearse some of the promises of God. Remember those very precious promises?
Philippians 1:6 - Eternal Security
Hebrews 13:5 - God’s constant presence
Philippians 4:13 - God’s strength supplied
Philippians 4:19 - God will meet our needs
John 14:1-4 - Heaven is being prepared for me
John 14:14 - God will answer my prayers
John 14:27 - God’s peace given to ME
Proverbs 3:5-7 - God’s guidance for my steps
Romans 8:28-29 - God works all things together for my good (to conform me to His image)
Keep God’s precious, powerful, and personal promises in mind — and with these in mind — add to your faith with all diligence! Spiritual Growth ought to be earnest, diligent … consistently pursued (Jeremiah 29:13). Spiritual growth is a purposeful action.
2. Be Highly Moral
The second phrase in II Peter 1:5 is “...add to your faith virtue.…” Spiritual Growth ought to be highly moral. (Ephesians 5:1-4). Profanity is not “French” that a person often asks others to pardon … living with a person in immorality is not acceptable because everyone’s doing it … dressing immodestly is not okay because it is fashionable…killing human beings (abortion) is the choice to remove the consequences of our life decisions by removing the choice of a helpless /weak human being to live. These examples of the lack of morality are signs of the lack of spiritual maturity! A growing believer allows the Word of God to determine their moral high ground...our own standard doesn’t stretch us in continued growth, nor does it liken us to our Savior’s image.
3. Be Discerning
The last phrase we will look at in II Peter 1:5 for this blog post is — “...add to your virtue knowledge.…” Spiritual growth shows discernment. It is more than mere facts or truths acquired from scripture. There must be an understanding of God’s will...of what is right and what is wrong. This discernment grows as the believer’s knowledge of the Word of God grows — AND the believer’s willing yielded heart to apply those learned truths acts on those truths.
In chapter 11 of the book of Nehemiah, the children of Israel had finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and they were now preparing for the dedication of these newly rebuilt walls. Prior to this dedication service, Nehemiah employed the casting of lots to determine who among the people of Israel would relocate to Jerusalem. 1/10th of the nation would be chosen to relocate. It would be a sacrifice to move from what they had known and also to move into an area that had been filled with rumors of wars. In addition to the casting of lots, there were actually some who volunteered to relocate to the city of Jerusalem before their name had been called. This was true patriotism. These individuals believed in their nation, loved their nation, and loved their God. It was on the sacrifices of these people that the nation of Israel continued to go forward.
On July 4 we celebrated our independence day. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom of religion. We as a nation stand on the sacrifices made from yesterday for our today. The sacrifices that we make today will be what our children stand on for their tomorrow.
The same is true for the church. The sacrifices we make as children of God… for the cause of Christ… will make a vital impact on the church’s tomorrow. Our continued spiritual growth is vital! We are not called to sit on the benches of the church. We are not called to just simply cheer others on. We are called to actively change... grow in our faith with greater discernment, greater morality, and greater consistent pursuit of our God.
We are familiar with the heroes of the faith from days gone by. Believers who added to their faith to make an impact on the world in which they lived. Men and women of the faith, like: William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Jim & Elizabeth Elliott, John & Betty Stam, William Tyndale, Darlene Diebler Rose, Corrie Ten Boom, and many more! Look around you…are you one of today’s faith heroes for tomorrow’s church?