Someone on this earth will sit down on the throne of God alongside our Savior and will be a ruler in the government that the King will establish in all the earth. In fact, a whole company of over comers have been “predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8: 29). Fully matured, they will stride this crippled earth after the Great Tribulation. In God’s stead as His ambassadors of the literal Kingdom of Heaven will they rule with Him, for they will have His Spirit fully developed within them. These are the “partakers of the divine nature” who will do the King’s business after the disasters that will smite the earth.
“No man takes this honour unto himself” (Heb. 5: 4). It is God’s doing. He has a plan and He is quite capable of helping them carry out His own plan. And that plan and purpose is to share Himself with His creation. He is Love, and all Love can do is love and share and give.
Those of us who have been called to this “high calling of God in Christ” have been left a textbook explaining how to receive immortality. We now are in the process of studying it and taking it to heart. We need this instruction in order to receive the proper training and education to be an effective ruler with Christ in the soon coming Kingdom of Heaven right here on earth. That textbook is found in the “scriptures of truth,” the Holy Bible, which is God’s letter to us, a guidebook He showed to His prophets and apostles. And He is now showing it to us who believe, who have faith.
Adding to our faith
The apostle Peter instructs those of us who have been called to “partake of the divine nature” (II Peter 1: 3-4). He relates that God promised us immortality, and it is by these promises, that we can get rid of our old sinful nature and receive His divine nature. And God’s nature grows and matures in us to the point that in the end, it will be all Him. The divine nature grows in us through receiving more true knowledge of Him and His plan. And part of that is the additions to our faith.
“Add to knowledge temperance”
The apostle Paul wrote that “knowledge puffs up, but charity (agape love) edifies” (I Cor. 8: 1). This puffing up is the sound of an inflated ego that has no place to go with the knowledge; there is no desire to flow the knowledge on out to others. Agape love, conversely, flows out of its heart of love and shares and builds up fellow Christians, helping them in their walk with God.
The novice in Christ will get the bighead after gaining some of the true knowledge of God. There is an innate tendency in the old nature of man and spiritual babes in Christ to have one’s pride inflated upon receiving this knowledge, which has “been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13: 35).
This knowledge flows out of the mind and heart of God and sheds light on the very mysteries of the acquisition of immortality. This information is precious–so rare and fine a treasure, in fact, that “few there be that find it” (Matt. 7: 14). A beautiful four lane highway is leading many to destruction. “But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (v. 14 NLT).
Knowledge of these things will puff a person up. Why? Because they are still thinking that they are the object of God’s blessing and not the channel of it.
Therefore, knowledge of the holy things must have temperance added to it. Self control must be added. And the major lesson we must learn is that our little powerless self did not come up with this knowledge on its own. It was not delivered to us for any great thing that we are or have done. No. It is pure grace flowing out of God’s heart to us. It is all Him, favoring and having “mercy on whom He will have mercy” (Rom. 9: 15). It is all Him. It is our privilege to be a channel of this knowledge on out to His people.
Beware of False Teachers
Paul warns in another place about getting “puffed up” by knowledge. He warns new Christians not to get entangled by men who teach a “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Col. 2: 8).
He is saying that men will deceive young Christians through all kinds of worldly earthly thoughts. But Christ is all you need, which is knowledge about who He is and what He has done for His people.
“You are complete in Him” (v. 10). You don’t need mumbo jumbo bells and whistles and gimmicks of worship, as it were. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily.” And through His sacrifice of Himself, you have been circumcised spiritually. His Spirit invisibly cuts out your old sinful Adamic nature, and He gives you a new heart. “Buried with Him by baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of of God, who has raised Him from the dead (v. 11-12).
False teachers are “puffed up”
One who teaches false doctrines tries to “beguile you,” and is “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (Col. 2: 18). Remember that they “come to you in sheep’s clothing.” They appear as “messengers of light.” They have a little smidgeon of truth, and it has puffed them up as they imagine vain things about God and ways to worship Him.
How does a false teacher or preacher first go astray? He gets all “puffed up by his fleshly mind.” “Fleshly” here is from the Greek word sarx. It is a mind controlled by the “flesh” (sarx). This denotes the old nature, natural thinking man, unregenerate man. He has an earthly mind. “He that is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth; he that comes from heaven is above all…for He whom God hath sent speaks the words of God” (John 3: 31, 34).
The phrase “of the earth” points to the same origins as Adam in the garden, made of the dust of the earth, clueless as to the heavenly destiny for mankind. These false teachers are puffed up with a bit of God’s knowledge, yet remain Spirit-less when it comes to the truth of God.
So, yes, temperance must be added to knowledge. This entails, of course, self-control in all areas of a Christian’s life.
Kenneth Wayne Hancock