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
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/ ]