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Add to Knowledge Temperance–On Being Puffed Up

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

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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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The Additions to Your Faith–Prerequisites of Receiving Immortality

Just having faith in Christ is not enough.  Now, wait a minute.  Hear me out before you jump.

Some have said, “Faith in Christ is all you need.”  To get into the first level of a walk with God, that is true.  But things must be added to the true faith in order for us to fully manifest God’s divine nature in us, according to the apostle Peter.

He says that we must make certain spiritual additions to the faith, so that we can be “partakers of the divine nature…Giving all diligence, add to your 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)” (II Peter 1: 5-7).

Peter goes on to say that if these additions “be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren (idle) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus (Yahshua) Christ” (v. 8).

In other words, without these additions, we will not grow up “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13).  Nor will we without these additions “be filled with all the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 3: 19).  Why?  Because the person without these additions listed above “is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (II Pet. 1: 9).  These additions, then, serve as a kind of eye salve that anoints our eyes that we may see the spiritual road ahead of us.

In fact, the way we “make our calling and election sure” is to add these very things to our faith! That is why this is so important to the overcomers of all things.  For if we add these things to our faith, we “shall never fall” (v. 10).  The addition to our faith of these things is the key that unlocks the door to the “entrance…into the everlasting kingdom” of our God (v. 11).

Who was Peter writing to?

Peter is writing not to everyone, but to those “that have obtained like precious faith with us” (1: 1).  He is writing to “those who have already received by divine allotment” this equally honored and precious “conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things, the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ” {Thayer’s Lexicon}.

It is God who has placed this faith, this “conviction” that He is real, in our hearts.  It is not something we “muster up.”  It is all Him.  It is His grace to us, which is to say, God favors us with knowledge of Him and His plan and word.  This brings light to our eyes and strength to our hearts.  God gives grace to some during this end time era with spiritual knowledge of Him.  This is His grace to us.

Now He gives this grace in accordance to “His divine power” which gives to the recipients “all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him” (1: 3).  For He “has called us to glory and virtue.”

Glorification = Immortality

God has tapped us on the shoulder in some way  to bring us to the stage of spiritual growth called “glorification”!  Yes, this spiritual road we have begun to walk down is leading us into being glorified with Him!  This is sonship; this is rulership with Him in His kingdom.

We have to add these things listed by the apostle Peter, if we are to fulfill our calling to be His manifested sons and daughters, His ruling family that He has called us unto.  That’s how important they are to Him, first, and should, therefore, be important to us.  Important enough to seriously study them out.

But the big take away of this opening chapter of II Peter is this: This conviction that God is and is in control through Christ–this faith, this conviction must have other attributes added to it, in order for us to fulfill our calling as His sons and daughters, the princes and princesses, sitting with Him in His throne.

Peter knows full well what it takes to “make our calling and election sure.”  He knows that our initial experiences based on God’s favor and grace in showing a bit of Himself to us and thereby “calling us out of darkness into His marvelous light”–he knows that those early experiences and revelations will not take us across the finish line in this race “for the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3: 14).

And it is through this knowledge of the holy things of God that we are given “exceeding great and precious promises” (II Pet. 1: 4).  God has promised to give unto us His followers immortality, or eternal life.  Immortality is it.  It is the biggest gift, the greatest promise the Immortal One can give to a mortal.  There is nothing greater for one who will die than to be granted eternal life.

And this immortality that God has promised us is what the aforementioned “glorification” is all about.  And Peter says by the Spirit of God that we are called “to glory and virtue.”  And God promised this to us from time immemorial.  “In hope of eternal life, which God, which cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1: 2).

All of this notwithstanding, in order to receive this precious promise of immortality, we must add certain spiritual components to our faith, to our conviction that God is real and true.  These additions are the elements of the very nature of God Himself.

How do we do this?  First we must study them out and receive the knowledge of just what they are, and then, reckon them added by faith.

Two points are worthy encouragers for us on this road to immortality.  First, He said of us in His prayer in John 17: 22: “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.”  In His mind, it is a done deal.  He is saying, I have already given them glorification, which is immortality.  With this, they are one with the Father and Son.  It is also good to know that “He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.”  He has full confidence in His plan, which includes us.  But the first step is to add to our faith virtue.   What virtue is comes next time.          Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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