Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-11)
Faith Needs Some Additions
Everyone knows that faith is the essential part of a believer’s life. Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord and from faith comes the foundation of hope in eternal life. There is nothing more basic to the life of a Christian than the element of faith that fills the soul with the glory of the Father facing trials and temptations with joy. Faith cannot stand alone. Having faith does not save but adding to faith is a necessary part of the growth of the child of God. In the physical body, proper nutrients are added to the blood system to keep the body healthy. Just having blood will not guarantee long life. There is a design in the physical body requiring nutrients to strengthen what is already there. The more vitamins and proper foods are added to the body the stronger a person will be. Faith is like the blood stream of the Christian’s life. Without it there would be no life. Having faith alone will not save as Peter points out that many things need to be added to faith securing eternal life. The diligence of character sees that faith by itself will die but adding the graces of God to faith will bring about security and hope for the promises of the Lord.
Adding the graces of the Lord to faith takes energy and time. Virtue is not a common part of faith. Believing in Jesus Christ is the beginning journey toward greater faith but this will be challenged severely in the trials of life. Satan will attack faith seeking to crumble its pillars with immorality and wickedness. Adding virtue to faith will bolster faith with greater courage. What is most important is to realize that virtue must be added to faith. The other graces of the Christian must be added also. Knowledge must be added along with self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. All of these graces are not inherent in faith alone. They require the effort of adding to faith the elements found in God’s word that teach the graces of the Lord.
Virtue is not easily learned. Adding this grace to faith knows the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness. Moral courage comes from the word of God. Faith fortified with virtue will be able to overcome the temptations of life with the virtue of truth. Knowledge will not come by faith alone. It requires study, examination, discerning and the exercise of the mind to learn the will of God. Too many Christians believe that knowledge comes just by having faith. Self-control is added to faith by learning how to overcome the lusts of the flesh. It must be added to faith to have greater courage to face the temptations of life. Learning to persevere will greatly enhance the character of faith. Again, this does not come by simply believing in Jesus Christ. When trials come the courage of faith will only show itself when the heart has learned to bear patiently under hardship. Godliness is a character of molding the heart in the image of the Father. Faith will be the seed that brings this to the forefront of the Christian’s life and like the other graces; godliness must be added to faith. The word of God is the blueprint for godliness.
Love is more than an emotion that tickles the heart. The essence of love is rooted in the knowledge of what true loves does and how it shows itself. Faith alone does not have brotherly love or the deeper meanings of love because it is a learned grace. Love must be added to faith. Reading the word of God will first show the love God had for all men. It is then that true brotherly love and expressive love is found in our relationship with one another. The more we spend time in the word of God the more we love Him and the more we learn how to love others. Adding love to faith will create a greater bond with the Lord and with the body of Christ.
The Christian graces are an important part of the life of God’s children. Faith is the foundation but without building an edifice of the graces given by the Holy Spirit, faith will be weak and ineffective. The key to all the graces is the knowledge that faith needs a lot of additions. Faith alone cannot save a man. It requires adding all of these graces to the character of faith so that the Christian will not stumble. Having these graces in the blood stream of faith will give assurance that eternal life is real and Heaven is not a maybe; it is a reality. Weakened faith comes from failing to add these graces. Strong faith will come from the nutrients of God’s grace being added to faith. Add to your faith.