Category Archives: additions to our faith

Steps of Knowledge to Get to Christ’s New Commandments

How can I pen mere words that will serve as a key that unlocks the vault where knowledge of the Creator’s holy things are stored? What audacity! To think that we can access the treasures of the Almighty.

And yet, our Creator has already moved on holy men of old with words—words that plainly map out directions to the vault, and instructions for the treasures of wisdom found there. They expound on God’s purpose and plan. It is already written in plain English (or your mother tongue) in the Holy Bible.

But the Bible is in riddles and much mystery. You can look right at the words, yet its true meaning eludes the reader. You can stand right over the vault and not be aware of His treasures hidden inside. For most, it remains a sealed book that collects dust on a lonely shelf. Isaiah put it beautifully: “The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed” (29: 11; Rev. 5: 1). The hubris of mankind brings spiritual blindness and confusion. Consequently, the book of truth remains sadly closed to most. But now is the time for those seals to come off the book.

So, help me, Father, to explain clearly how and why your Spirit of love grows within us to full fruit production.

First: God’s purpose in creating us is to reproduce Himself. It is not about us, per se. Life is about Him using us to reproduce Himself. That is why the earth and everything in and on it exists.

Second: “God is love” (I John 4: 8). Agape love. His purpose is to grow this divine Spirit of love to its fullest extent in human beings.

Third: He is sovereign. He is in complete control of the operation of the production of His nature of love in us. He chooses whomsoever He desires to use, to fulfill His purpose. It is all Him and for Him.

Fourth: Humans are the garden that He plants His seed of love in. It is planted in us through faith when we believe the testimony of the Father’s Seed/Son. Belief in His resurrection springs to life a new seed of love inside us. As we are touched by the love that Christ showed, we receive a new life of love that begins to grow within our hearts. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4: 10).

Fifth: This little light of love wants to grow. But it is fed nutrients that stunt its growth. Christ, His apostles, and His prophets warn us of false teachings fed by false teachers (Mt. 24: 11; Jude 1; II Peter 2: 1-22). We will know them by the fruit in their followers’ lives. If the flock is still floundering in sin, then that is bad fruit, stunted fruit.

Six: Young Christians begin bearing the fruit of love, and then the Father begins to purge or prune them so that they can bear “more fruit” (John 15: 1-2). These purging can be severe. Many are taken aback with the sufferings they go through, the worst of which are the betrayals endured. Many cannot understand why God would let “bad things” happen to them. This knowledge is crucial: God is the Giver of “good things’ in our lives; He is also the Instigator of the “bad things” that happen to us [Just think of Job]. Without this knowledge, many walk away and stop trying. Most do not know that all sufferings are a part of God’s plan for our perfection/maturity. Our perfection fulfills His purpose of reproducing full blown agape love within us.

Seven: Our perfection is the maturity of God’s divine nature with us. I.e., it is full grown agape love in us and manifested out to others. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is His goal for those chosen for this honor: To fully house LOVE. To be just like the Son of God Himself. Nothing less. He calls this bearing “much fruit.”

Eight: To accomplish this high growth in human beings, God showed Peter that we need to add seven aspects of God’s divine nature to our faith. Hence, the title of this new book is The Additions to the Faith (II Peter 1). The first six additions lay a foundation for the seventh, which is agape love.

Nine: When we bear “much fruit,” agape love will be fully reproduced in us.

Ten: Abiding in Him, and Him in us, produces “much fruit” (John 15: 5).

Eleven: Obeying Christ’s New Commandments leads to the Abiding. Christ said, “If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love…This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15: 10, 12).

Summary: God’s purpose is to fully manifest Himself (agape love) in us. He has a plan to accomplish this goal. To get there we must add seven aspects of His divine nature to the faith. The seventh is agape love, God’s divine nature. To add agape love, we must obey Christ’s New Commandments; this leads to the abiding. And the abiding produces much fruit. [Note: Nine through Eleven above sound so simple, yet they are so profound. It takes a quiet mind through much study to grasp their meaning.]

What are these New Commandments? Here’s two of them: “Love one another as I have loved you” and “Continue in my love” (John 15: 9, 12).     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

To be continued…

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Faith Is Believing What God Believes

We have been sent into this world by Christ to bear witness to the truth (John 17: 18). A group of young Christians asks us to speak truth to them. What would we tell them? We should be speaking to them the exact same message that Christ spoke, not a message about Christ. Big difference. In fact, Christ’s very Spirit should be speaking through us to that group of young hungry seekers of God. But what would Christ say? Rather, what should He tell them through us?

  1. Christ spoke of God’s eternal purpose, which is this: God is reproducing Himself. He is agape love, and He intends to multiply Himself throughout all eternity.
  2. He spoke of His plan to accomplish this purpose. He created human beings to be the medium by which He would accomplish this magnificent purpose. God plants His Seed/Son in our hearts, and that seed of Love grows into His Kingdom of Love and Righteousness, till “God be all in all.”
  3. His plan is laid out in the Christ’s teachings.
  4. His teachings are His doctrine (Heb. 6: 1-2)
  5. The early apostles made it their doctrine.
  6. And the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine
  7. Repentance from dead works is the first teaching. Sin is the breaking of the 10 Com. law (I John 3: 4). To repent one reckons their old self dead on the cross with Christ, buried with Christ. Then belief in His resurrection in us raises us up in a newness of life (Rom. 6: 1-12).
  8. The rest of the apostles’ doctrine is faith toward God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgement, and perfection.
  9. We receive the faith of the Son of God when we believe.

Faith, the Second Apostles’ Doctrine

The early church were of one mind and one accord. And one faith. God’s faith. Like Paul said, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God…”

It is all about belief—“faith” and “belief” are translated from the same Greek word. They both mean believing having not seen. But when we think of “faith” we immediately think about our faith in God. What we need to see is that we are dead and our life now is His life; our faith now is His faith, His belief in Himself, and His belief that we are in a right state with Him.

For it is God’s faith in Himself that moves mountains. “With God all things are possible.” His faith in His own intelligence and power is the foundation of His divine nature that He has imparted to us. We are to add to this faith other facets of His nature that now resides in us. God believed in His own abilities and power before He saw the fruit produced in us according to His plan of Sonship.

It Is All About the Seed

Like every spring, we get the urge to plant a seed in the garden. We take a seed and place it in the broken earth. We do this by faith, by believing that it will spring to life and shoot up and grow and finally bear fruit. We believe that this tiny seed will bear fruit before we ever plant it.

This is like God’s faith. He believes in His Seed, His Son. He has faith that His plan will work; He knows that it will, for He has spoken it, and His word is that Seed, and it always comes up and grows comes to pass.

That’s the faith we now walk in! It is not our puny faith that we have to muster up out of our depleted reserves. It is His faith! It is all about believing what He believes! Hey, He believes in His Spirit that He has placed now in us. Now we can say, “It is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.” It is the Son’s faith that we live by now! (Gal. 2: 20).

I believe that this is what those young Christians need to hear. Not some tired, old, worn out platitudes about Christ, used in the 19th  and 20th Centuries. Yesterday’s light was a needed candle back then. But now Christ has arisen in our hearts with a new powerful light that illuminates our path to the entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our” God (II Pet. 1: 4-11). Remember that yesterday’s manna is of no use today. Christ is now giving “the hidden manna” to the over comers (Ex. 16: 14-21; Rev. 2: 17).

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Faults Are Not Sins

At this point, some may be asking, Why the emphasis on the repentance doctrine? Let’s get on to the resurrection of the dead and healings and miracles.

This we will do, but to get to the growth where God would entrust us with His power to heal and raise the dead like the early apostles, we must do what they did, study what they studied, learn what they learned, and suffer what they suffered. To get to the 100 fold growth, we must “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine,” the first of which is “repentance from dead works.” Then we will have fellowship like they had, and the breaking of the bread of life, and prayers, and fear, “and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” The miracles came after they continued in the doctrine of  Christ.  (Acts 2: 42-47). This is after they repented and were baptized (v. 38-41).

Repentance is the cornerstone of Christ’s doctrine. He came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” He also said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” No getting around it. His remnant/elect, the sons and daughters of God, His princes and princesses—they will know these doctrines backwards and forwards. They must know them and do them, for they are pre-destined to sit on thrones with Christ, judging the nations. If you and I want this, if we really desire to go all the way with Christ, then we must pay the price of admission and completion. And it costs a lot—like everything. Law school’s a must for lawyers. Medical school’s a must for physicians. And the school of the prophets is a must for God’s future apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And a part of our basic education is understanding the difference between sins and faults.

Back to the Greek

“Sin” and “fault” are two different words in the Greek. The word “sin” is translated from the word harmatia (G266), 172 times. The word paraptoma (G3900) is translated “fault, trespass, offense, fall.” We see here two distinct words for two different kinds of offenses.

We begin our new spiritual growth cycle after receiving Christ’s Spirit in our hearts. This germination and growth begins by faith. We begin as little children with the new nature from God. And as in the natural, even though little children are sincere and delightful at times, they lack maturity. They mimic the spirit around them, be it good or bad. They are not perfect, and neither are we in our new spiritual walk with God. Our old sin nature is gone, thanks be unto God, but we are left with the task of repenting of our shortcomings. Our minds must be renewed and re-programmed through study of His word.

Repentance from Sins and Faults—There Is a Huge Difference

Not knowing the difference between sins and faults breeds doubts and fears in a Christian’s mind. Some will wonder and ask themselves, “Did I just sin? I feel bad about what I did. Was it  a sin?” The problem is that many followers of Christ mistake their faults for sins. This lack of knowledge causes them to forever keep themselves in chains of self-condemnation, and this stunts their growth in Christ. Many become discouraged. But to grow into the “fullness of Christ,” we must understand what faults are and how they differ from sins.

Sins are the fruit of our original sin nature we are born with. A sin is an action that breaks the Ten Commandments. As stated above, when we surrender our old nature to the death on the cross with Christ, our old sin nature dies along with the sin it produced. We become free because “he that is dead is free from sin.” Sin does not control us anymore In God’s eyes we are His sinless little children; He imputes His new righteous nature to us as we reckon it done by faith. Simply amazing faith and power (Rom. 6: 1-12)!

Delineating the Difference between Sins and Faults

Through belief in His resurrection, we receive a new nature, a law-abiding one of love. However, many imperfections in our character and make-up remain. God waves no magic wand for us. There is no “Poof!” that instantly transforms us into being perfect Christians.

We have many habits of thought and actions that are not pleasing to God. Before coming to Christ and His cross, we had our own thoughts that were programmed by the world and its thought-giver, the devil. Our old life was filled with habits of thinking and actions that still exist after our initial repentance from sin. And most of these thoughts and beliefs are in error. These make up the old leaven that must be purged after we come to Christ and are born again.

We are not talking about theft, adultery, false god worship, murder, stealing, hatred, coveting, etc. These are sins of the old nature that are repented of when we die with Christ on His cross. But after the sins are dead and gone, we still have many faults, shortcomings, trespasses and imperfections to be repented of. Note: If you still hate, steal, commit adultery, covet, then you still have the old nature and need to take it to the cross and surrender it to death.

The Divine Nature

The Spirit of Christ in Peter tells us that we are to grow in God in order to produce powerful fruit. We are called unto glory. But first, we are to partake of His “divine nature.” God has promised us “great and precious” things. But before this happens we lack certain aspects of His nature. As we begin walking in His footsteps, we fall short. We now have a new heart, but our lack of maturity in Christ produces trespasses and faults.

Peter says we need to add aspects of God’s “divine nature” to the faith we now walk in: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and agape love (translated “charity”). He says that these things operating in us will insure that we will be fruitful in the knowledge of God. With God’s divine nature within us, we will “make our calling and election sure.” These additions to our faith will also illuminate “an entrance…into the everlasting kingdom” of Christ (II Pet. 1: 4-11). Not having these seven additions to the faith operating in our Christian life is a fault, not a sin. For we cannot begin to add them until the sin nature is gone.

Lack of Patience

Some have said that losing patience with another person is a sin. But “patience” is an attribute of God’s nature. It is His patience that we must add. As new Christians we are still running on our old concept of patience, and we will run out of it eventually. “Losing patience” is a fault, not a sin. God looks on the intent of the heart. In this example we see someone who intended to be Christ-like, but there is a lack of God’s nature. There’s a lack of maturity. God’s patience has not been added to this new Christian’s nature.

As said before, spiritual growth does not happen with a snap of the finger, mystically and magically. Receiving God’s patience into our being comes with an overcoming on our part, for “tribulation worketh patience.” Patience is endurance, and going through trials develops godly patience.

Here’s an example of the difference between a sin and a fault. Christ magnified the law when He taught on this commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” [“Kill” here is better translated “murder.”] The Spirit taught that the spiritual root of murder is hate. “And he who hates his brother is a murderer” (I John 3: 15). We as Christians have passed from darkness to the light of love, and we no longer hate anyone. We may become impatient with someone in our dealings with them. But this is not a sin; it is a fault. For the Spirit has not grown up in us to fully express the 100 fold love and patience of the Father. But we are headed that way in our growth. Big difference.

Finally, sin is a “nature” thing. It is in mankind’s original nature to break the Ten Commandments. That is why it is said that if you are guilty of one of the commandments, you are guilty of them all. To break them all is in that nature. But God has made a way to put to death our first sin nature. He replaces it with the “new man,” the spiritual nature that sins no more. But we lack maturity and still have faults and shortcomings to be repented of.

Why This Lesson Is Important

If a Christian believes that faults are sins, he will not believe this scripture: “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I John 3: 9). He will say to himself, “I am born again and I sin.” And that Christian will look at his fault and call it a sin, and he will reject this passage because of it. And he will miss this precious truth. And his growth in Christ will be stunted.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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What Do We Do Next? We Continue Steadfastly in the Apostles’ Doctrine

A brother the other day asked me, “I am understanding about how the walk with Christ is training us to be kings with Him. But what exactly do we do next?”

The operative word in his important question is “do.” Do we just “go to church” like the generation before us did? Do we pay our tithes and offerings, sitting patiently in the pews for something remarkable to happen?

That is not what the apostles taught the early church. Somebody will say, You cannot work for salvation; you cannot “do” anything; it is a gift. Yes, salvation is a gift. But we obey His commands because of the gift–not to receive the gift. That would be “works” that we do in order to be saved. We do not do things to be accepted by our King; we do what He has told us to do because we love Him, His purpose, and His plan. To grow spiritually we do what He has commanded us to do; this helps us to “make our calling and election sure.” In a word, He wants us to grow out of spiritual childhood and into fully matured spiritual giants in the faith.

The following are a few of those things that He has asked us to do after we receive salvation:

(1) “Put on the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6: 11-18). Here the Spirit uses an extended  metaphor that compares the spiritual arming of our hearts and minds to the physical armour used in mortal combat.

(2) Moreover, we are to “add to your faith” certain attributes of the Spirit; this is “partaking of the divine nature” (II Peter 1: 4-10). These seven additions must be studied out and applied by faith.

(3) Also, we are to get rid of false concepts about God, which is called “purging out the old leaven” (I Cor. 5: 7). This is a tough one. For instance, can we ditch the Christmas tree and the Easter eggs and bunnies and especially, what they represent?

(4) We are also told to pray in accordance with the model prayer the Savior gave us called the Lord’s Prayer. It is not to be mouthed by rote with little understanding, but as the pattern prayer. We are to study its concepts and mold our prayers to reflect what is on the Master’s mind.

(5) We are to follow the New Testament examples and “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2: 42). There are more things we are to do, but these will get us started. [I have shared extensively on these things on this website; just use the “search” slot on the home page to get to them or click on the subject headings on the right column]

The Acts of the Apostles is, of course, the complete title of the book of Acts. It is a recounting of the things that the early apostles did, right after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It is a record of their actions. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preaches to the crowd repentance from sin and faith toward God and told the new converts to be baptized. And these newly added souls to the body of Christ “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2: 38-42).

If we want to be like the early church, then we need to do what they did. They “continued.” To continue with something, we first must have that something working in our lives. What the early church had was the doctrine of Christ. He gave His teachings to His disciples; having His doctrine made them apostles. And they in turn shared His teachings with those gathered at the Feast of Pentecost where 3,000 believed and were added to them that day.

The Doctrines of Christ and His Apostles

So what doctrines did Christ and the apostles teach? We have already cited three of them two paragraphs up. We can pour over the New Testament again and again, looking for “the apostles’ doctrine” that the early church continued in. We can take somebody’s word for it next time we talk to a preacher. Or we can go to where an apostle has already listed them for us in the scriptures. We can listen to the office of teacher show us where to find it and explain it to us. The teacher is the Spirit of Christ.

The “apostles’ doctrine” is called “the first principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5: 12-14).  The apostles’ doctrine is the elemental, foundational precepts of the very utterances of God. These teachings are also called “the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” It is at this juncture that the apostle writing Hebrews lists them: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. Christ builds His house on these principles—nothing less. And these teachings will infuse His life within us unto perfection, which is the fulfillment of Christ reproduced in us (Heb. 6: 1-2).

They should sound familiar. Peter in Acts 2 mentioned four of them. We need to first know about them and then study them out so that they are a part of our heart and soul. And then we are to continue in them. But this takes the gift of a God-sent teacher to introduce and then expound on them and their relevance to our new life.

These doctrines make up the foundation of His house, “whose house are we.” Taking them seriously and learning about them and getting them deep within our hearts is “building our house upon the rock.” When the winds and rain come from Satan, then these teachings make us strong to weather the storm. Having them solid in us helps us spiritually grow out of babyhood and childhood and makes us ready for the strong meat of His word. These are the teachings about the governing of His kingdom during the 1,000 year reign of Christ. The meat of the word is beyond these doctrines; the meat of His word brings into us a preparedness to rule with Him in His kingdom, bringing peace to a chaotic earth. He is going to use those who are prepared and “fit for the Master’s use.” Those who count His teachings as a light thing will be sorely surprised when He says, “Depart from Me…I never knew you.” This thing is real and heavy and we better take heed to His voice while it may be heard. For there is coming a day…   Kenneth Wayne Hancock         {To be continued…}

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“Forgive Them”–In Training to Be a Royal Priest

I asked God, How do I love other people–people that I meet that I don’t even know?

I did not get an answer immediately, but in two or three days this thought just “popped” into my mind: “You’ve got to forgive them.”

“Forgive them?

“That’s how I loved you unconditionally. Forgive.” And with that our thought-conversation was over.

So, this person that I have never seen before crosses my path, and just like that, I am to forgive him. But how do I forgive someone I don’t even know? The answer is we are God’s priests and ambassadors. We intercede for them. We are in Christ’s stead now. We are His face and hands and mouth. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5: 20).

Be reconciled because God has already through the shedding of His blood caused all of our sins to depart. They are already gone. When we believe this, then we manifest the witness of this grace in us.

We are to recognize this in each other: that God has forgiven them and has caused their sinful self to pass away. We forgive them because God has already forgiven them. Their sins are washed away; they need only to “bring forth fruit worthy of repentance” to witness the record of our common salvation from sin.

We forgive another by enlightening them as to God’s forgiveness if they walk in darkness. Your sins are forgiven you; they have departed through God’s mercy and you have been absolved of all guilt and shame. You are clean now. The Savior has given Himself as a ransom for us all. The darkness of your soul and the evil that your heart did once conceive is no more. You are washed clean. Repent now, and walk in this new life.

God has forgiven us all, and in essence, we recognize this as we also forgive each other (Matt. 18: 21-22, 35).

In Training to Sit on the Mercy Seat

For us who are running the race to be a part of the “manifestation of the sons of God” in these last days, we are in training to be kings. We are, after all, a “royal priesthood” and a “chosen generation.” We are to be those kingly intercessors for all of God’s people.

Right now we are in training for this position. To be those future manifested sons and daughters, we must first carry inside through the Spirit this belief that the stranger we meet is not a stranger at all. He is rather one of the human beings that God loves and has forgiven. God loves them just as much as we believe that He loves us.

When we see the stranger in this light, then the Love (God) will shine through us to them. We will then have become messengers of mercy, for we will be in sync with Him.

For mercy is what we are talking about. It is God’s great mercy that forgives, that loves us so much that He would send our sins away for good, freeing us from the guilt and shame.

For mercy is a kingly attribute. Mercy comes from the throne. It is the mercy seat that is the fount of forgiveness and compassion. We the sons and daughters of God are called to grow spiritually to the point that we will be invited to sit with Him on His throne–the seat of mercy.

Mercy. To be able to love the unlovable. To free the ungrateful. To forgive the unrepentant and obstinate. To cleanse the souls of spiritual lepers, “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” to open the prison doors, “to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” And why will He enable us to do this? “That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD (Yahweh), that He might be glorified” (Isa. 61: 1-4).

The small minded say this is only about Christ. But I say that all this is about us, too, for we are His body. He is the head, and we are the body of this spiritual entity called the King of Righteousness. Without Him we can do nothing; He is the head, the brains and the heart of our organism. But we are to have the mind of Christ, and when we do, He will invite us to sit with Him on His throne [It sounds incredible, but it is right there in His word]. “All things are possible to him that believes.” Amazing God, our God.

When we are filled with His agape love–Him, in other words–we will treat the penniless wretch the same as the mayor and bank president. The one thing that puts everyone on the same playing field is a sinful past. Both pauper and the prince are in need of mercy and love and forgiveness.

But mercy and truth come as a package. Having mercy is showing His true kind of mercy, not man’s kind. Mercy without truth–well, as Christ said, Even the Pharisees love those that love them. And truth given without mercy is harsh and cold and seldom penetrates the human heart because of a lack of compassion. Christ’s Spirit is the whole package–merciful and truthful.       Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do We Do Now to Grow Spiritually? Part Two–Additions to the Faith and the Armor of God

We cannot do things to achieve salvation from God, but we must do certain things in order to grow His Spirit within us after we receive a new heart, after we are “born from above.”

Because our Creator has a purpose of reproducing Himself (Love) in us, He, of course, has a definite plan to fulfill His purpose. He has thought it all through and lined it all out in His written word. And in His scriptures of truth is contained the thoughts of the Son of God, the “Word made flesh.” And these thoughts contain admonishments, and when done by us Christians, we will grow up to be like Him, which fulfills His purpose.

In Part One we explored the apostles’ doctrine as the first thing we need to be learning and doing. We also saw that we are to “purge out the old leaven,” which are the false concepts and teachings about God that we learned coming up.

The Additions to the True Faith

The apostle Peter admonishes us to add to our faith certain spiritual qualities of the King. In order that we may “partake of the divine nature,” we are to add virtue to our faith, and “to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness charity (agape love).” He goes on to say that we will be blind without them. But with them we will “make [our] calling and election sure, and that will ensure our entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1: 3-11).

These additions are not little romper room words to be pasted on a bulletin board. Rather they are facets of a jewel of great price, and that jewel is His very character. These additions are aspects of God’s divine nature. A shallow perusal will not do. They must be studied and prayed over and sought with a whole heart in reverential awe.

Peter sums it up by saying, You better take heed to what I am saying to you. I have a “more sure word of prophecy.” I know what  I am talking about because I was there with our Savior on the Mount of Transfiguration, and I beheld His glory. I am speaking to you now as “a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts” (1: 16-19).

God has miraculously preserved Peter’s words to us for all these 2,000 years. The Spirit still speaks through him to us. We need to study this out thoroughly, or we are going to miss something very big in God’s plan.

[For more on the additions to the faith go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/category/additions-to-our-faith/ ]

The Whole Armor of God

The fourth thing we are admonished to do is put on the armor of God (Eph. 6: 11-18). Since “God is a Spirit,” Paul is talking about spiritual things. He uses earthly military metaphors that a combat soldier of his time might wear to elucidate the spiritual. For we are in a spiritual war “against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is spiritual wickedness that we battle, not literal things.

The battlefield is in our minds. So it is the replacing of erroneous thoughts with thoughts about godly truth that will shield our minds from succumbing to the adversary, the devil. We are told to “arm yourselves with the same mind” as Christ (I Pet. 4: 1).

So the whole armor of God is thinking the thoughts that Christ and His apostles thought. Peter also tells us to “girt up the loins of your mind” (I Pet. 1: 13). The first piece of armor is to have “your loins girt abut with truth.” Think on the truth; get rid of the false concepts that we know to be in error.

Then we are to put on the “breastplate of righteousness.” We need to study out the word “righteousness” to take to heart its real scriptural meaning. It has to do with the purging of sin out of our lives.

The we are to have our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” The gospel of the good news of God’s kingdom coming to this earth along with the King’s return (Mark 1: 14-15). We should study it out and think God’s thoughts about it. We should be prepared to share these thoughts about the “gospel of the kingdom of God.” For His kingdom is the good news.

We are to take the “shield of faith.” Knowing and believing in His faith, which has been “once delivered to the saints,” will protects us from attacks of the wicked one. And then we must take the “helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God.”

All these are portions of the armor of God. But it would not be the whole armor without “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

Prayer is the last but not the least of the armor. For it is the most difficult to exercise, it would seem. For we all must be taught to pray, as the disciples asked the Savior to teach them to pray.

It was then that He gave them a prayer to model their prayers after. It is called The Lord’s Prayer. And it has been used and abused so often that the deep meaning has been lost. We are not to mouth vain repetitions of this very prayer, but rather pray according to its precepts. It is not a poll parrot incantation to mindlessly repeat; it is a blue print of how to literally touch God in heaven.

But the old leaven about this prayer is so thick that few can get through it to the truth the Savior was trying to teach us.

[For more on what the Lord’s Prayer means go here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/06/07/the-lords-prayer-is-not-an-incantation-chant-or-ritual/                                        https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/the-lords-prayer-blueprint-for-building-gods-temple-us/ ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under additions to our faith, armour of God, eternal purpose, faith, false doctrines, gospel, kingdom of God, mind of Christ, old leaven, righteousness, spiritual growth, The Lord's Prayer

Additions to the Faith to Make Our Calling and Election Sure–To Be Like Peter, James, John, and Paul

We are admonished by the apostle Peter to “make our calling and election sure.” You mean that we have to do something? I thought it was all God and His grace that helps us to be what He wants us to be. It is, but there remains things we must do in order for the spiritual growth to take place.

We must study and pray and eventually fast that the culprit Unbelief might skulk away out of our spiritual lives. For it is unbelief that hinders our growth. But the Spirit has left us a roadmap, a way of cutting through the haze of phony doctrines about God.

Peter tells us in his second letter the steps we should take. He explains that to grow to full maturity, we must add seven attributes to our faith.

Peter writes to those who “have obtained like precious faith with us” (2 Peter 1: 1). The elect, God’s chosen ones for this high calling, have received the same exact precious faith that the early apostles received.

Now this comes about in our lives “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Yahshua)” (v. 1). After we were convicted of our sin-guiltiness, and after we stepped out and laid down our old sinful self on the cross and died in revelation with the sacrificial Lamb of God, we, by believing that Christ was raised from the dead, receive a newly resurrected life by faith.

It is His faith that we have received. God believed in His own power to raise up the Lamb of God, and when we believed that, then we obtained that very same belief in the form of a “new heart” and a new spirit. By believing in His resurrection, we also believe that we were raised from the dead, for we were definitely dead in our sins—the walking dead, as it were. But now we are  alive from the dead, and we bear God’s very own faith in our bosom. As Paul said, “Old things are passed away,” and all things “are become new.” It is no longer the old Adamic man, writhing in the guilt of sin, that now lives, but rather the new man Christ, who has now begun His growth within our new hearts.

This is the faith we have obtained with Peter, Paul, James, and John. Faith is the foundation that must be added to, just like a builder adds walls, a roof, windows and doors to the foundation of the new house he is building. And it is this faith—God’s faith now in us, not our faith in Him—that must be added unto.

Adding Seven Spiritual Attributes Insures Three Things

We are to add to our 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 [agape love]” (1: 5-7).

Peter writes that adding these seven spiritual attributes to His faith in us yields three major things in God’s plan for these latter days. First, they insure that we will not “be barren nor unfruitful” (1: 8). God wants us to bear “much fruit” and is glorified when we do (John 15: 8).

Second, the additions to our faith are how we solidify our standing as one of God’s elect; it is how we “make our calling and election sure.” Walking in these seven attributes of God’s nature insures our place in the elect. Or better put, those destined to be part of the elect will build their spiritual house with these attributes (1: 10).

Furthermore, it is through them that “an entrance shall be ministered unto [us] abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior” (1: 11).

Adding them is how we “partake of His divine nature” (1: 4). It is how we make our calling and election sure, how we never fall, how we will be full of spiritual fruit, how we will receive an entrance into His kingdom, and how we will “partake of His divine nature.” That sums up what spiritual growth is about. That is how important these things are as outlined by Peter in his Second Epistle, Chapter 1.

A Serious Assignment

Adding these attributes is a serious assignment that only the Spirit of truth can teach, for it is He that leads us into all truth. Truth being the key word.

“Truth is fallen in the streets,” says the prophet. And there is a famine in the land, a famine of the word of God. Because of this dearth, adding these seven attributes is a formidable task. Why? Peter in the very next chapter forewarns us of how the devil will hinder our growth in becoming God’s elect. He warns us to beware of false prophets and false teachers who “shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.” And many will follow these hypocrites, who will “speak great swelling words of vanity” and will “promise them liberty” while they are “the servants of corruption” (II Peter 2:1-19).

And how does this second chapter tie into the first? These false “Christian” teachers will spew out false teachings that will hinder a young Christian’s spiritual growth. Peter gives his stark warning to us so that we would not be hijacked and taken away by the enemy, thus prohibiting us from making our calling and election sure. Bluntly put, false teachings will thwart the children of God from growing into fully matured Christians, fit to sit on the throne with Christ. Getting rid of these false concepts about God is where the study and prayer come in after true knowledge comes to us.

Isaiah wonders, “Who hath believed our report?” Who will answer the call to go all the way to the throne of God? Only the adventurous. Only the unafraid. Only the rebels who refuse to come under the yoke of the god of this world. Only those who trust in the Spirit of God within themselves, as He helps them separate the good teachings from the bad.

But man’s wisdom cannot teach this truth to the elect. Old Adamic man just cannot teach it to us, nor the well-meaning manna-gatherers of yesteryear, who fed the flock of God with the spiritual bread that they had one hundred, five hundred, or one thousand or more years ago. That cannot sustain the elect of God for these latter days. For these elect must have the “present truth”—food convenient for them.

God is doing a new thing; He is pouring out new light as to His plan and purpose. The Spirit is pouring out His truth today all over the earth. He has seven thousand unbowed to Baal, and they are like river bed conduits of His living water. Those who thirst will drink. The rest will with parched throats persist in scratching moisture out of broken cisterns of the waters of the past, repositories of the damp shadows of truth.

For God is doing a new thing in the earth, a thing that men will not believe though God Himself tells them. For He has already, even though He has blinded all but the remnant, the elect. But they will prepare and do and put on these additions to the “faith once delivered to the saints.”   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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