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Add to Your Faith Virtue–God’s Strength and Power (2 Peter 1: 5)

We must add certain spiritual qualities to our faith in God if we are to grow up into the manifested sons and daughters of God.  We found that out in II Peter 1.  Our faith in God needs to be shored up; it needs to become stronger in order to conquer and “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”  We will only “partake of the divine nature” if we add these things.  And the first to be added to our faith is virtue.

But what exactly does this word “virtue” really mean?  It is an English word, after all.  We could look it up in Webster’s Dictionary, but we would only find what it means to the English speaking mind, distilled down through the centuries.  We would see that it is from the Old French virtu, which came from the Latin virtus, meaning “strength, courage, virtue.”  It has come down to us meaning “moral excellence…active quality or power…manly strength or courage; valor.”

And so we dig still deeper, believing that this study is important and expedient, for we simply must know what “virtue” means.  We are trying to “study to show ourselves approved unto God,” as we are admonished to do.  Without study, we will not be approved.

The English word “virtue” was translated, of course, not from Latin, but from the Greek.  So what was that Greek word that the King James scholars translated “virtue”?  The Strong’s Concordance shows us that it was arete, #703 [http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G703&t=KJV].  Consulting Thayer’s Lexicon on that page, we see that arete denotes power stemming from moral excellence and goodness.  It relates to God’s power, perfection, and excellence.

We get a further picture of “virtue” by looking up “virtuous” and “valor” in the Hebrew [http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2428&t=KJV].  We see “strength, power, might.”  The Hebrew word #2428 is used many times in the phrase “mighty man of valour.”  Also, it is translated as “host” as in a large army of mighty warriors.  It is rendered “strength” in David’s prayer to God, “For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle” (II Samuel 22: 40).

We need to stop and reflect here and not pass over this lightly.  These words in  II Samuel are inspired.  They are the Scriptures of truth that Paul studied, and he said by the Spirit: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”  Why?  To what purpose do we need those old books back there in the “Old Testament”?  “That the man of God may be perfect…”

Perfect.  Complete spiritual maturity.  These passages, like this one in Samuel, teach us lessons that will help us add the “divine nature” to our faith in God.  It is for the same purpose of perfection and glorification, which is the fulfillment of His promise to us  of immortality.

Looking at the Picture that “Virtue” is Painting for Us

We see “virtue” as not just power.  No.  It is the strength and power of God, emanating right out of His very heart through His Spirit into ours.  It is He; it is a part of His divine nature; it is all about His strength and power stemming from His excellent goodness.  This then is His power, which gives us now the strength and ability to go on the offensive against the devil and his tricks that block our road to immortality.

Let’s go back to David speaking to Yahweh.  In this song of praise, David thanks God for His strength and power in overcoming mightily all of his enemies.  He thanks God for His goodness, and then details in much “war” imagery his exploits over the enemy.  This picture of a warlike attitude  is a real key for us in understanding just what virtue is.  David’s inspired prayer shows us the spiritual application through his physical earthly accomplishments.

The First Step

First, David declares his complete trust in Yahweh, recalling how he called on Him in his despair and how God answered (verses 1-17).  David says that God did deliver him, but it was “according to my righteousness…and cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me” (v. 21).  David first had to be right with God, on the same spiritual page, “a man after God’s own heart.”  “I kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my God” (v. 22).  That is the first step that we need.  Walk on in His faith.  Trust in Him.  And then get ready to go on the offense like King David does in the following verses.

And now the war imagery looms as David spiritually attacks his enemies.  “God is my strength and power…I have run through a troop…He teaches my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.  Thou hast given me a shield of thy salvation…I have pursued mine enemies [read: doubt, fear, unbelief, impatience, et al], and destroyed them (v. 31-38).

Wait.  Let’s savor this.  “Pursued mine enemies.”  He went on the offensive!  He did not just sit on the couch waiting for fear and doubt and unbelief to maybe take a holiday.  Would you please leave me alone, guys?  I don’t appreciate these ugly thoughts I have been having lately.”  No!

David “pursued” those negative thoughts and “destroyed them”!  Furthermore, David “consumed them, and wounded them, that  they could not arise…”  Wouldn’t that be wonderful–to have all negativity consumed and wounded so that it just was not able to rear its ugly head up in our minds ever again?

That’s adding virtue to your faith.

But David’s not through.  He knows where the strength and power is coming from.  “They are fallen under my feet.  For thou hast girded me with strength to battle.”  It was Yahweh that subdued his enemies under him (v. 39-40).

And finally, David says, “Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Yahweh…and I will sing praises to thy name” (v. 50).

Our Spiritual Application

This song of David is so rich, reaching even unto prophetic strains that depict a vision of the Kingdom Age in all its gloryAnd yes, we are in that vision.  But we see here now for our present edification a picture of just what virtue does when added to our faith.  “Faith without works is dead.”  Without virtue added, faith/belief/assurance just sits passively on the couch “waiting for the world to change.”  To the contrary, we His sons and daughters must “put on the whole armor of God” (Eph. 6: 11-18).  This same war imagery is used by Paul in Ephesians, that we “may be able to withstand all the wiles of the devil.”  We must put the armor of the Spirit of God on and take the fight to our adversary.

“Add to your faith virtue…”  This first addition to the faith, then, is an offensive weapon given to us by God to go with our trust-faith-assurance in Him.  “Virtue” then is that quality of valor, that makes us like the mighty men of war as David was.  They were men of strength.  Mighty men.  Strong men and women in the Spirit, pro-active in their attacks on the enemy.  This all comes in realizing that it is God Almighty who does all this conquering–not only for us, but also in and through us.

Yet, the question will arise in hearts: But how do you add it to your faith?  Answer: You add virtue to your faith–by faith.  The Master said it simply.  “Ask and it shall be given…When you pray, believe that you receive, and you shall have whatsoever you ask.”  Now that we know what “virtue” is, we “reckon it done,” for in God’s mind, He already sees us having it.                          Kenneth Wayne Hancock

{If you liked this article, hit the “like” button. Please make a comment. I will answer them all. And be sure to send for my latest book The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect; it is totally free. Just send me your mailing address to my email: wayneman5@hotmail.com If you appreciated this article, you will be thrilled with the new book. I wrote it for you. You need this book if you want to grow spiritually and be like Peter, James, John, and Paul.
“Greater works” we will do with His help and guidance.}

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Faith–How to Walk in It–How to Partake of the Divine Nature of God

How do we do it? How do we let the old self die? We reckon it done by faith/belief. How do we start walking in a brand new God-given life? We reckon it done by faith. Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Yahshua Messiah our Master. Rom. 6:11.

We’ve got to reckon it done! The word “reckon” is #3049 in Strong’s. It means “to account it, to count it as such.”  God wants us to reckon it so, but He does it first! When we turn to Him, then He counts us righteous in His eyes even in our imperfect state. This is the way our Creator is. This is part of His nature—faith, belief. In fact, faith is the foundation of Yahweh’s divine nature, for we are admonished to be “partakers of the divine nature” by adding to the faith once delivered by Yah to his set-apart ones, virtue, and to virtue knowledge, on through agape-charity-love, the very essence of Him. But His nature starts with Faith. It is His nature to “call those things that do not exist as though they did.” Rom. 4:17, NKJV. If He is this positive, then He would want His children to be the same.

He wants us to follow in His footsteps! God “accounted” righteousness to Abraham because of his belief—before Abraham was righteous! “Accounted” here is the same word as the one translated “reckon.” We are commanded to RECKON some things done. Now we have to reckon our sinful self gone—by belief—as though it were already done—for that is how Yah looks at it! By belief! Reckon it done through Him and His faith. He said it. Let it be done. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Rom. 4:3. Yahweh imputed, reckoned to Abraham the ability to live in a upright manner, keeping Yahweh’s laws and not sinning, by just believing that Yahweh had done it! We make it so hard through our hard heart of unbelief. He is looking for childlike faith, the belief of a small child. All we have to do is just believe that Yahweh has provided a way for us to actually put the old life to death and start living a new life in Him.

But the main reason that many do not want this is because they do not want to give up their old lives. Yah has provided everything for us to get the sin out of our lives, to clean out the temple so that He can take up His rightful abode. But people want to keep sinning and still be the people of God. They may claim it in words, but it is in words only and not in reality as far as Yahweh is concerned.

God must be getting tired of hearing how powerful sin is in our lives. I know that He wants to hear out of our mouths how great the power of Yahweh is—powerful enough to keep us from sinning. We must quit glorifying sin!

Do we think that Yah is pleased to hear our unbelief when we say, “I sin everyday. We all sin every day. We can’t live without sinning.” Oh, we are so quick to say that, almost as if it were an excuse that He would accept.

That’s like saying that the giants are too big; we can’t take the land. Is the giant Sin too much for us, or are we going to believe that Yahweh in us can slay that giant Sin in our life? Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof….For sin shall not have dominion over you. Rom 6:12-14. We’ve got to reckon our old man, our old self, our old nature dead to sin in the same way that Yahweh reckoned or credited righteousness unto Abraham because of his belief in the promises. Are we going to stagger at the promise that we can live a righteous life now?

But someone will say, “But we just can’t live without sin.” Yah knows that we can’t on our own strength. The question is, “Where is God in that statement?” What happened to, “I can do all things through Messiah Yahshua that strengthens me…” What about, “And nothing shall be impossible to you.” Nothing. Which is to say in reality, “Anything is possible. With God all things are possible.” All things means with His help even living without sin. Where’s our belief in His promises?

Paul believed that we should live in a righteous manner before God right now. For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11, NIV.

Some have used God’s granting of grace as a possibility to keep on sinning and still get forgiveness. Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase. By no means! We died to sin: how can we live in it any longer? Rom. 6:1, NIV. On the other side of the fence, some practically throw out God’s grace in reckoning righteousness to us by believing Him because of the “cheap grace” people. The second group believe that we have to really work at this thing; we have to keep the laws and ordinances. This is true, but it is no longer “I” that lives, but Messiah’s Spirit that lives in me! He helps me to keep His laws—by His Spirit! The sad part is that both of the above camps still are in sin.

Where is our belief, our faith that overcomes the world? “My grace/favor is sufficient for you,” Yahshua said. My favor is all you need. That’s how important it is. Him choosing us out of the dunghill before the world ever was, writing our names down before we were ever born—that’s all we need.

Don’t say with a sad countenance, “I hope my name is written down in His book on that day.” Where’s the word of faith that Paul preached in that? Where’s the confidence we have with Him? Speak the word! That kind of timidity reveals a lack of belief that your name is there.

It is very near us, even in our mouths! Say it! Speak it into existence! Be like Him! Reckon it done! Count it as such in our own lives. Which takes more faith? Him counting us righteous or us reckoning our old man dead unto sin? For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with…Rom. 6: 6, NIV. Instead of all the unbelief in His love to us, we need to thank Him for the absolute abundance of mercy and favor He has smiled down on our undeserving heads, and the power to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.

Get off of this “we can’t do anything.” It is He that works in us! When are we going to get out of the way and let Him work in us? As long as we think it is ourselves either doing or not doing whatever, then He can’t do the job in and through us. We must decrease to nothing; He then will increase in us.

We will show our belief (faith) by what we do. We will believe Him for His Spirit, to do His laws and statutes. We are not going to impress Him, however, by doing “good Christian deeds” as if they were our duty while we still harbor doubts as to His ability to raise us up to walk in a newness of life—doubts as to the efficacy of His love and mercy and grace/favor towards us. He loves us. Loose Him and let Him go on out of the tomb of our bodies and unbind Him (the Spirit). Let him arise in our hearts, and let (we must reckon it so) the light so shine.

God who has “commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts…” (For what purpose?) “…to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yahshua Messiah.” 2Cor 4:6.

To keep us humble now for a season, Yah has us having the Spirit, Himself, the treasure, in these old earthly bodies, that we may know that it is Him and not us that does anything good in and through us.

2Cor 4:10–Always carrying with us the fact of Yah’s earthly sacrificial death (since He died for our sins, now we die, following His example) “that thelife also of Yahshua might be made manifest in our body.” The life of the Savior may be made known to the world in our earthly body. (Now someone will say, limiting Elohim and giving glory somewhere else, “Yes, He will make known His life when He gives us our spirit body at the resurrection.” One problem with that statement; that is not what it says! Go to verse 11. “For we which live (present tense–time is right now) are alway delivered unto death for Yahshua’s sake, that the life also of Yahshua might be made manifest IN OUR MORTAL FLESH.”

There. “In our mortal flesh.” You and I are mortal, and the apostle is telling us that it is possible for us to make known Yahshua’s life in our bodies. And His life does not include sinning.

One thing, though, is guaranteed; if you say today in your heart or out of your mouth, “I can’t show forth His life in my mortal body of flesh, then you will not! And you’ll go down as a “nay-sayer,” but all the promises of Yah are “yea.” Yes. Yes. Yes. Say it. Speak it into existence. By believing what is already there, reserved in heaven for you. By faith/belief. The giants are not too big. You have just got to reckon it so.

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His Faith–Once Delivered to the Saints

We have seen that we are to look upon the invisible things and not on the things that are seen with our earthly eyes.  Faith is one of those spiritual things that is invisible.  But there are many misconceptions as to what faith really is.  Everyone has their own imagination as to what faith is.

But faith is an invisible spiritual thing that has already been given to God’s elect.  It is a special gift from Him to His future sons and daughters that will help them grow up into Him.

It is the “faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  Faith is a spiritual commodity that has been delivered to the people of God.  Who delivered it?  The Creator Yahweh did.  Faith is not something that has to be mustered up by us His people.  We rather must receive it from Him.  It is something that originates from out of His nature and is given to us.  “For every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights.” That includes faith.

It is His faith that is transplanted into our hearts.  It is not something we manufacture out of our own will and effort that leads us to finally believe in Him.  His faith in us is the first part of His divine nature to enter into the human heart.  But what is it exactly?  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1.

“Things hoped for…”  What does Yahweh hope for?  What are the desires of His heart?  What has He purposed?   Long  before  we were ever born, He saw us in our down-trodden state of sin and misery.  He also saw us rise with Him by His Spirit to vanquish sin and death in our lives.  He believed that this was a reality—that this was substance—having not yet seen it come to pass.  He believed and so therefore spoke and said that it was so.  He believed the best about us and His plan—not having seen the evidence yet of its fruition.  We as changed individuals are evidence that the invisible Supreme Being is real.  We are His witnesses that He is God.  And if He believes in His work in us before it comes to full fruition, then we should, too.  He is our example.

His divine nature is positive, full of faith and power.  All of His promises are “yes.”  Nothing negative flows from His heart.  He is positive; His attitude is positive.  In fact, He calls those things that are not, that do not exist as yet, as though they did exist.  He said that He will be all in all eventually.  We should then, right now, begin to walk around as if He already is all in you and me.  This will take belief that “it is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.”

He is positive, giving “life to the dead and calls that which does not exist as existing.”  This is He.  This is how He thinks.  He is positive about His capabilities.  He has absolutely no doubt about His reserves and His resolve to get done what He wants done.  And what He wants done is the multiplication, the reproduction of Himself, within His creation.  He is an invisible Spirit; He wants to see Himself in action in human form.  This is the witness that He talks about in Isaiah.  We are to be His witnesses that He is the invisible Spirit/God.  His faith believes that not only we can change, but that we will change—that we are changed!  He seeks people to worship Him in this spirit and attitude and in this truth.  He needs people to worship Him in this way—to believe the way He believes.

A key scripture regarding the nature of His faith is Romans 4: 17.  It  sometimes is advantageous to read it in several translations.  God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. KJV.  God, who gives life to the dead and calls that which does not exist as existing.  The Scriptures.  God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.  NIV.  God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.  TEV.

Nothing good exists within us—except His Spirit, if so be that we have received His Spirit.  By believing that He is—not only that He exists, but also that He is where He hopes, intends, and expects to be—in us.

Tapping into this faith of His will bring His Spirit down into us.  You cannot receive the Spirit by just keeping the law, or trying your best to keep the law.  Human effort in trying to keep the law (the ten commandments) will not bring His Spirit down into us.  The work of our selves, of our flesh, profits nothing in the end.  After all, it would be just us trying to accomplish a spiritual law made for a spirit to keep.  It is the spirit that makes alive…the flesh profits nothing.  The words I speak, they are spirit and they are life…Does God give you His Spirit because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard?  Gal. 3: 2.  NIV.

Paul is trying to tell the foolish Galatians that no amount of us trying to keep the letter of the law will bring His Spirit into us.  Trying to keep the law in our own strength will never perfect us.  Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?  3:3.

No.  We shall receive the Spirit by believing what we heard—by faith.  We have to be like Abraham, who believed in the promises without wavering.  Even as Abraham  believed  God,  and  it was accounted to him for righteousness. 3:6. Abraham believed the promises.  But what promise?  “I will walk in them and will be their God and their sins I will remember no more.”  Hebrews 8:12.  The promise we are to believe is the promise of God giving us His Spirit.

Some of us are so afraid of being like “them”—the mainstream denominations with their cheap grace.  But Yahweh is saying to us that you are not like them.  You have respect to my laws and ways and precepts and you know my name.  But although your conscious effort to keep my laws and honor my sabbaths are good intentioned, that alone should be the fruit of the state I want you to be in.  And that state is a state of your old nature not being there in the temple of your body, but rather my Spirit, my presence.  I have promised you my Spirit, my presence.  That is all you need.  When I am there in you, I’ll keep my laws in you. If any man have not the Spirit of Messiah he is none of His. You do not have to worry about that.  My servant Paul kept the feasts and preached law keeping.  He forbad sinning.  Shall we continue in sin that grace (favor) may abound? God forbid. Romans 6:1-2.

It is absolutely not the way to go to try to keep the torah and 10 commandments without first seeking to receive the promise of His indwelling Spirit.  The law, the torah, was given 430 years after the promise to Abraham—the promise that God would live in us and help us live righteously and godly. And the law cannot “set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.  For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise…” (Galatians 3:15-18, NIV).

What was the purpose of the torah (the law)?  It was added because of transgressions until the seed to whom the promise referred had come.  We are that seed—rather Christ in us is that seed.  When we believe, the seed germinates and grows within us.  The promise is receiving His Spirit by believing that He has given it to us—as we follow on in His steps.

We do this by faith.  We do this by believing His word about His faith, His nature. His faith works both ways.  If He has confidence in us before we ever bring forth the fruit, then we should believe in Him even though we have not seen Him in the flesh.  This is our trial of the faith.  Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:8.

And during the time of our sojourning here on earth, we are to add His divine nature to the faith that He has delivered unto us.  His divine nature is built upon His faith.  No wonder not many have added it, for they have tried to add it to their own faith in Him instead of adding His divine nature to His faith. Peter says that we are “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

The Word is the seed.  And that seed is growing in us by us believing His word that says that His word is growing in us.  This is the faith once delivered to the saints.  This is the way He thinks about His power to change our lives—by His Spirit.  Now we walk in His faith/belief when we believe the same thing about ourselves that He believes about us.  That is His faith.  That is His faith which was once delivered to the saints.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[This is Chapter 19 of my book The Unveiling of the Sons of God.  To read more go to the top of this page.  Just click “Ebook…”]

 

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