“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.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Faith That is Seen
If faith stands alone, it is entirely invisible. If I say, “I believe this ladder will support my weight,” but then don’t ever climb it, my faith is veiled by my own dormancy. The reality is that someone else will have to come along and scale the ladder in order to prove its worth. At this juncture the amount of faith I possess is of no consequence if I fail to act upon its smallest portion. Neutral or idle faith is transparent and serves no purpose.
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)
The Apostle Peter is essentially saying the same thing as James, therefore we can conclude that invisible faith and dead faith are the same beast to be avoided. Those who exhibit invisible or dead faith are in fact obstacles towards both personal sanctification and societital evangelism. To that end, James would later proclaim in his epistle…
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)
Adding to Faith
My mom was clever. She tied a ribbon atop her antenna so she could easily spot her car as she exited the grocery store. My wife does a similar thing with our luggage. Since by itself there’s not much to distinguish it from the other baggage, she ties colorful ribbons to the handles. Peter is asserting that if we want others to see our faith (and we should), we need to apply something more than *bumper stickers, t-shirts, or refrigerator magnets.
Peter counsels us to add to our faith:
- Virtue: the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from sin. Virtue also lends itself to strength, valor, and bravery.
- Knowledge: a clear and certain perception of truth and facts. The lighting of the mind that aids discernment.
- Temperance: a habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions of our flesh. Simply put: self-control.
- Patience: to persevere through afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, with a calm, unruffled temper, without murmuring or complaining.
- Godliness: a purposeful and obedient observance of the laws of God and performance of religious duties, in love and reverence for our Father in Heaven.
- Kindness: the attitude and disposition of good will exercised cheerfully; that which delights in contributing to the happiness or basic needs of others.
- Charity: that disposition of the heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men. In a general sense, love.
These items should look vaguely familiar to us, for at least in part, they comprise the fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s beneficial for us to meditate on the Galatians text in conjunction with Peter’s letter, for in so doing we learn that these attributes are given by the Holy Spirit and received by the faithful, not contrived in our minds or achieved in our flesh. Working at these traits in our own strength is an act of futility that will only serve to make us weary and discouraged.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Galatians 5:16-17)
Can your faith be seen?
Is there evidence to support your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? If not, first make sure you are on the narrow path, and if so, make sure you are walking forward. In order to exercise your faith, there must be some degree of movement. Remember it’s okay (and even recommended) that your first step be upon your knees.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, your walk can begin today! If you’re not sure where to start, leave a comment and I’d be blessed to share with you.
(*Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets are wonderful things. I employ all three!)
These articles may or may not be related:
- Galatians 3…Justification Through Faith! (simplyjuliana.com)
- Today’s Message: Be Free From Curse! (kzlam36.wordpress.com)
- Galatians 5…Freedom of the Christian (simplyjuliana.com)
- Galatians 6:6-10 (briancoatney.com)
- Galatians 5:22 Gentleness (briancoatney.com)
- Stick With the Basics! (vineoflife.net)
- The Choice Is Up to You! (work4christ.wordpress.com)
- Do You Know Any Wandering Sheep? (underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com)
- What if i Claim Healing over Someone and They die…. (37stories.wordpress.com)
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