To bear the spiritual fruit that we are to bear in these last days, to be found worthy to sit with Christ on His throne, we must add to our faith certain spiritual attributes (II Pet. 1).
We are to add patience to temperance. And patience is endurance, as seen in the Greek text. We must “endure unto the end,” enduring persecution and tribulations, enduring “hardness as a good soldier” of Christ (Matthew 24:13; II Thes. 1:4; II Tim. 2:3). We must “endure all things for the elect’s sake,” especially “sound doctrine,” which are those Christ-borne teachings that attack man’s traditions that we have all been taught since childhood (II Tim. 2:10; 4:3).
And perhaps the most difficult thing to endure is the chastening of God. We must endure His correction when He begins to purge out the false teachings about Him and the immature ways we carry ourselves.
God will scourge us and prove us. He forewarns us: “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him.” For He chastens those He loves. “If we endure [this is the adding of patience/endurance] chastening [correction, disciplining], then God deals with us as sons and not bastards. When we have passed the tests, He receives us as his heirs, “that we might be partakers of His Holiness” (Heb. 12:5-10).
God endures our immaturity and our weakness and we, in turn, endure the maturing process. Understanding, accepting, and finally, welcoming these things that we must overcome—this brings spiritual maturity.
The Beginning of Godliness
Adding patience/endurance to our faith is the maturing process. Going through this maturing process brings about a reverence for God. We begin to revere Him for what He is doing and how He is including us in his plan of reproducing himself. Revering Him is adding godliness to patience/endurance.
Many say that “godliness” means “God-like-ness. It sounds good, but the word “godliness” is translated from the Greek word eusebeia (G2150), meaning reverence or respect. This Greek word is derived from eusebes (G2152), which comes from sebo (G4576), a verb meaning “to revere, to worship” (Strong’s).
We now are living by the faith of the Son of God (Gal. 2:20). There’s only one faith—Christ’s (Eph. 4:5). We are now building on His faith as we endeavor to add to it. Belief first, yes. But faith/belief alone is not enough. For “even the devils believe in one God and tremble.” Virtue and then knowledge must be added, then tempered, and then endurance is added as we overcome hardships.
As we begin to comprehend the magnitude of this heaven-directed spiritual life cycle that God has called us to, then love, devotion, awe, and reverence begin to grow in our hearts toward our Father. This is the beginning of us adding godliness/reverence to our faith. We do love Him because He first loved us. And the love of God is “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
This reverence for God comes when we first know about his plan. And then, as we walk in it, we endure the tribulations and chastening on the road to sonship and daughtership. Then we begin to see that we [are] receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved.” He is favoring us with this knowledge that “we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” [reverential awe] (Heb. 12:28).
Who Will Add Godliness/Reverence to the Faith?
So, all of this creates questions: Who is going to step up? Who are these people who will do the seven additions that the apostle Peter wrote to us about? They are out there. These articles are a tiny light flashing faintly in the ocean of mankind. I believe that “this little light of mine” is shining. Its rays will reach whomsoever He directs them to. Who are they? How will we know them? We will know them by their fruits. More next time. Kenneth Wayne Hancock