In previous posts we have seen that in order to secure “an entrance…into the everlasting kingdom of our…Savior,” we must add certain spiritual attributes to the faith that God has endowed us with . In so doing, we “give diligence” in making “our calling and election sure” .
We are told by the apostle Peter to add “temperance” to the knowledge of God and His plan for our perfection.
Since our very spiritual growth in Christ is in the balance here, a bit deeper examination of this word “temperance” is fruitful. It is translated from the Greek word egkrateia (#G1466). Thayer’s Lexicon states that it is “the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.”
It is derived from a Greek adjective egkrates (#G1468), meaning “strong, robust; having power over; mastering, controling, curbing, restraining.” So “temperance” is from Greek words meaning “to have control over.”
So How Does the Holy Spirit Help Us Get Control Over Bodily Appetites?
Knowing the truth will make us free, Christ said–of whatever ails us . “Ye shall know the truth…” Know. There’s that “knowledge” spoken by Peter again, as in “add to you faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge…” What knowledge? The knowledge of truth, which is the mind of Christ, simply put. Yes, the mind of Christ–His thoughts, plans, and purposes. He did say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” . So, first knowing Christ’s thoughts, plans, purposes and His word, and then doing them–this will make us free of and give us control over sensual appetites.
There is another “knowing,” and this one is huge. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6: 6). Our old sinful self, in God’s eyes, was crucified with Christ on the cross. And our old sin-soaked heart, which was enslaved to sin, is now free from all fleshly pulls. This knowledge, straight out of the plan and purpose and mind of our Savior, is the truth that makes us free from unrighteous haunts. Period.
Now. The ball is in our court. We are forced by Him to either believe this truth, which is His word and plan written down in plain English, and thereby be freed from the slavery of sin and sinning, or we continue on in unbelief. That is the choice. Chosing to believe this truth opens up the way to add these spiritual qualities like temperance, that He has admonished us to add to our faith, thus enabling us to “go on unto perfection.”
Temperance, then, is an integral part of the character of one who is an elder of the body of Christ, one who is mature . This is a description of a temperate man, one who has his earthly body under control, leading him to be able to “hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught.” After adding temperance, the man of God will have the power to not soon be shaken through any temptations of the devil. He will be able to walk in the power of the word of God.
The elect of God will begin to realize that gaining control over the earthly body is a necessary pre-requisite in fully becoming the manifested sons and daughters of God. And because temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit, the stronger the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the more temperance we will exhibit (Gal. 5: 22-23). More Spirit in us, more self-control.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts.” This last sentence is the very next verse, v. 24. Isn’t it astounding that the word goes right back to being crucified with Christ? In another translation we read, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (NIV).
Here it is in plain black and white: There is a direct correlation of having the “fruit of the Spirit” operating in our lives and being crucified with Christ. In fact, the crucifixion with Christ of our old nature is the very key in receiving His Spirit, which in turn yields the fruit of the Spirit in our lives–one of which is temperance or self-control. It is much easier to control one’s self after knowing and then believing that it is dead.
Earlier in his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (2: 20). And there it is. Our bodies live on now, but it is not our old selves anymore living in them. But rather it is Christ’s Spirit that lives now in us. And this life that we live is because of His faith in His own plan, now believed on by us, that by believing that He is raised from the dead, we too are now risen “to walk in a newness of life.”
It is this Rock that we are building up each other as the temple of God in the earth. This is the solid Rock foundation that we must build upon. Because the weather coming soon to this earth is going to shake and crumble all houses not built on the right understanding of His word, plan, purpose, and thoughts. If it is built on a faulty foundation, then the house will come crashing down. Tribulation is coming upon the earth, and it will touch us all. Only He is our safety net–not some imagination of a rapture that someone dreamed up in the 19th century.
The Great Tribulation is coming. We must prepare by first “knowing the truth.” For Satan is going to deceive many in these latter days. “Let no man deceive you,” Christ warned. For the “falling away” or apostacy is already in full odious bloom. The churches have been duped and lied to by false teachers and false prophets. Many pastors are ignorant of this deception and yet, they continue to pollute the flock and inoculate them with poisonous doctrines and concepts. But “the wise will understand” (Dan 12; 10).
 II Peter 1: 10
 John 8: 32
 John 14: 6
 Titus 1: 7-9