We have seen that some Christians are called to “go on unto perfection.” These are the elect, the ones chosen by God to be “a kind of first fruits” of His glory. They are the trailblazers into that spiritual country of immortality and will serve as princes and princesses in God’s soon coming kingdom that will subdue all of man’s governments and will fill the whole earth.
We have seen that these sons and daughters of God will not be content with “playing church,” but will forge ahead in study and prayer, searching for that hidden wisdom of God. They are the ones who are searching for “a better [country], that is, an heavenly” one. They are on a quest to enter into the heavenly New Jerusalem that will come down here to earth and will be the habitation of immortals, who are those who have spiritually matured.
They will understand that to fully partake of the “divine nature,” they will have to go beyond that initial flush of faith we Christians have all experienced. These will see that the full spiritual maturity calls for additions to their faith. Just possessing in one’s heart a strong conviction that God is real and working in one’s life is not the nutrient that will foster the spiritual growth, which leads to the harvest called “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
And make no mistake, brethren, glorification is where the elect are heading. It is in the mind of God; it is already done in His books. We need to embrace this truth and make the necessary sacrifices that will bring about this maturity.
We have seen that in order to go on with Him on this path, we must add certain spiritual attributes to our faith. Peter tells us to “add to your faith virtue,” which is that quality that helps us be proactive and not passive in this walk. Virtue is that warlike energy that takes the fight to the enemy. It gets us off the couch and into the fray. It is the very strength and power of God’s Spirit [For more see these two articles https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/add-to-your-faith-virtue-gods-strength-and-power-2-peter-1-5/ https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/the-additions-to-your-faith-prerequisites-of-receiving-immortality/ ].
Adding knowledge to virtue
The second addition to the faith is adding knowledge to virtue. God does not want us running out there cutting and slashing with the “sword of the Spirit” at just any old thing that pops up. Nor does He want us to be gullible and believe everything we hear about God. We must have knowledge added to the zeal.
Many “little children” of God, energized with their new found faith, want to get out there and change the world. So they rush out and tell everyone they meet about their experiences in God. This universal reaction comes out of a heart that means well. But like Paul says, “They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10: 2).
There is a “knowledge” then that young Christians need to be in agreement with. If we strike out on our new found Christian walk without this knowledge that the apostle refers to, then we will wander off onto a path that detours us away from the road to the celestial city.
What are some of these detours? They are imaginations; they are false teachings about the plan and purpose of God. The apostles and prophets continuously warn us about not believing false teachers and preachers.
One detour takes an unsuspecting young Christian to “Neverland.” It is the mythical concept that just accepting Christ grants us a ticket to heaven and not to the bad place. They are promised by their teachers that they will go to heaven and stay in heaven forever with God. That’s about it. They are never told that Christ is coming back here to earth–what a stupendous event! And He is bringing all the dead in Christ with Him. They have never considered it. And what about those who are alive when He touches down on the Mount of Olives? What happens to His followers who are alive? And what happens to the people who survive the Great Tribulation Period? What happens to them here on earth? All this never enters their minds.
Another detour that hinders Christian growth is the false promise of a rapture. Total escapism. Not going to happen. But people rush out in their zeal and believe this because it sounds good and logical. Yet, they never study it out and prove it one way or another to themselves. It is tricky. They have a zeal for God, “but not according to knowledge” [for more on this go here https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/?s=rapture ].
So what is this knowledge Peter’s talking about?
To answer that question, we must be prepared to dig deep into the scriptures of truth. Knowledge is a noun translated from the Greek word gnosis (#1108) meaning “knowledge.” We see it in the English words “diagnosis” and “prognosis.” The verb form of this word (#1107; #1097) means “to make known.” So the noun means “that which is made known.”
But there is a lot of “knowledges” out there. Which knowledge is he talking about?
So what has been made known? What exactly is this knowledge that the apostles were so keen on? First, God has “made known” to us through Christ’s resurrection the “ways of life,” as in the path we will take to arrive at a state of immortality or everlasting life. Literally. Not “crystal blue persuasion,” “floating around heaven all day.” No. God has given us the knowledge on how to obtain immortality. That is how big this concept is. There is a true way into His kingdom/government as His elect sons and daughters. We can see this in the book of Acts where Peter is quoting David, “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life” (2: 28).
Christ’s resurrection, where His earthly body did not remain in the grave–this is our hope, that as He promised, we, too, can receive immortality. But there is so much of this knowledge to learn. True knowledge of how we will attain immortality does not come willy-nilly. If our earthly jobs require a modicum of seriousness and sobriety to master and perform, how much more does our training to be His fellow rulers in His kingdom?
After all, Christ promises this to some: “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also over came, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3: 21). You mean some of us will literally sit on the throne with Christ? Somebody will, and He said, Whosoever will may come. Kings and queens sit on thrones. But to be sitting on the one and only throne designed by and for immortals. That’s getting out there. Need more faith? Maybe we need these additions to the faith, to grow it, to feed it, to enlarge and strengthen it.
What else is God “making known” to us? “That He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” Some human beings that He calls “the vessels of mercy” He has already prepared to receive “glory.”
Nothing more glorious than everlasting life. The “glory that He has for us is immortality. He is making known this knowledge of these true spiritual riches that some will be glorified with Him at the end of this age! That is what He is making known right now (Rom. 9: 23).
He is making known the mystery of His will. “That God would make known what is the riches of the gloryof this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints (Col. 1: 27, 26).
This “glory” spoken of here is spelled out in Romans 8: 18-31. It speaks of the adoption, where we mortals shall be redeemed by God through resurrection and receive a new spiritual body that cannot die like this earthly body that is physically corruptible. God gave us a destiny unto this glorious state beforehand, that we would “be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (v. 29). And if we are, indeed, one whom He has predestinated, then He has called us, justified us, and He has also glorified us (v. 30). This “glorification” is all about receiving an immortal spiritual body. [Read more in I Cor. 15 and here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/the-high-calling-of-god/ ].
There is so much more that He has “made known” to His children. We are told to add this knowledge of His plan and purpose to the virtue/zeal and on to the faith. Adding knowledge then is all about first learning His true plan and promises and incorporating them into our thinking. This takes true teachings, much study, and much communication with our Savior. Kenneth Wayne Hancock
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