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Characteristics of the Effective and Fruitful Christian

26 Sep

Hello again!

Today we start the book of 2 Peter! – This is what God gave me today in his word:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (2 Peter 1:3-5)

We’ve escaped the corruption that is in the world, therefore clearly we should make every effort to supplement our faith with virtue (etc). That doesn’t seem to make much sense. We’ve escaped for Heaven’s sake! Why is it then that we would have to, “supplement our faith”?

First, why is it that we have to, “supplement our faith” if we’ve already escaped the corruption in the world? … 

and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:6-9)

We need to, “supplement our faith,” because of the reason Peter just named. i.e. To keep us from being, “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – We happen to know that the, “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is the Gospel, so with that in mind, how can someone be ineffective or unfruitful in it? By not having knowledge, self-control, etc. It’s safe to assume therefore, that since in order to be ineffective and unfruitful we need to not have those things, that in order to be effective and fruitful we need those things. Let’s list them out and then review them:

1. faith

2. virtue

3. knowledge

4. self-control

5. steadfastness

6. godliness

7. brotherly affection

8. love

But of course, that isn’t right is it? I listed them wrong, I put them all separately (on purpose; to make this point). Peter says, “knowledge and with knowledge self-control,” and so on. This is because when you have the first one,  you need the second one as much as you need the eighth one and you need the seventh one to have the eighth: getting the point yet? We all need faith to be Christians, but when we have faith, we need virtue, or our faith is useless. As James says:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-16)

If we have virtue then, we also need knowledge. What good is it to give someone a bowl of soup and send them on their way?  That person is still entrapped in sin! If you’re going to care for someones physical needs, also care for their Spiritual needs; the only way you can do that, is if you have knowledge about the Gospel.

And if we have knowledge, we need self-control. We have to know when and where to use that knowledge. What real good can knowledge serve, if it’s not presented at the right time. Also, just in general, people need to have self-control.

Now if we have self-control, we also need steadfastness. What good is self-control if you can’t continually use it? By that, I mean if you’re not steadfast, you can’t continually do something, what ever that may be. Whether it’s having self-control, or even simply having virtue.

What good is having steadfastness though if we’re not Godly? What good is being Godly though if we’re Godly in a, “holier than thou” manner? No, we also need brotherly affection to love those who we’re talking to. But how can we have brotherly affection if we don’t have love? How can we have virtue if we don’t have love? How can we remain steadfast if we don’t have faith? How can we have faith if someone first didn’t give us the knowledge of God? It all intertwines. Everything is important, but you can’t have one without having the other.

The point? All these characteristics that I mentioned spring out of one thing. Just one. The Gospel of Jesus! We can’t have knowledge of it (and therefore faith, etc), if we don’t first and foremost know that. It is the most important thing and should never be forgotten.  It’s the only way we can even be effective and fruitful! Without knowing the fact that Jesus Christ died and rose again for us, every effort that we make towards, “holiness” is fruitless, every, “good deed” fruitless. It doesn’t matter how much faith we have if we don’t know what we have faith in! It’s no good if we have virtue but aren’t Godly! We need everything to be, “effective and fruitful,” but the only way we, or anyone who God blesses us with the ability to minister too, can be a Christian (much less a effective and fruitful one) is through the power of the Gospel.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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2 responses to “Characteristics of the Effective and Fruitful Christian

  1. writinggomer

    February 9, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    This is a great post! 🙂

     

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