2 Peter 1:5:
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (excellence); and to virtue knowledge.”
So far, we’ve established that we have received all we need to live in The Spirit, through an intimate knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit makes this possible, but, like any relationship, we have a responsibility to nurture it. And what an amazing ride that is! So, the foundation of this knowledge is faith, which is grown by action.
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
To our faith, we must add God’s excellence.
1 Peter 1:16:
For it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’
Paul tells us how to achieve this in Philippians 4:8-9.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Now we are to add to our excellence knowledge. If you recall, the knowledge of God mentioned in verses 2 and 3 was the Greek, “epignosis,” which is a thorough acquaintance with. It is a gift of grace in the form of The Holy Spirit. But the knowledge here is “gnosis,” meaning knowledge acquired by learning, effort, or experience.
So while this is something we attain through practicing holiness and putting our faith into action, it is also acquired by spending time in The Word.
Of course, King Solomon tells us, “The fear (reverence) of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge: But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”—Proverbs 1:7, but that is just the beginning.
He also says, “For The Lord gives wisdom: Out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”—Proverbs 2:6. And what comes out of The Lord’s mouth, but The Word?
As Paul tells Timothy,
2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
But studying is not enough, as David knew.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. “
Satan knows the Bible better than most of us. He is an expert at twisting God’s words and making them sound so right. This is how he caused the fall of man in Eden.
But, when he tried the same trick on Jesus in the wilderness, it didn’t work so well. Why? Not because Jesus used His supernatural powers, or even His natural powers for that matter. He hadn’t had a bite to eat for forty days and forty nights! I have a hard time fasting for one day!
At that point, the only things Jesus had to fight with were The Holy Spirit, and The Word. That is how He defeated Satan, and He did it to show us the way. It is so important that we not only ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance and understanding when we read The Word, but that we memorize scripture, so that, even when we don’t have a Bible in front of us, we can defend ourselves against all attacks. That is why Paul says,
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
This is especially vital in these end times, when so many false doctrines abound. Perhaps the most dangerous of which are the feel good gospel and do-it-yourself salvation. Dangerous because they sound so good. How do you know if what you are hearing is truth?
2 Timothy 2:15:
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Don’t let any man (or woman) tell you what scripture means. Search the scripture in The Spirit for yourself. Test everything against The Word. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:32.
Next time we’ll be adding self-control—oh boy, I can hardly wait! You are all in my prayers. And I truly value your prayers and messages.
God’s grace and peace be yours,