Tag Archives: 2 Peter 1:5-11

Adding Virtue To Faith — Drew Milligan

In his second epistle, the apostle Peter said that we are to be “giving all diligence, adding to our faith virtue” (2 Pe. 1:5).  I find it significant that Peter first mentions virtue as being a vital addition to our faith before talking of such things as knowledge, temperance, and patience.  Adding virtue to our faith is important as we strive to do the will of our Father in heaven.

To add virtue to one’s faith, one must understand what a virtue is.  As a kid, I like so many other children sometimes lacked patience. I heard many times that “patience is a virtue.” At that time, I had no clue what a virtue was!  When we look at the idea of virtue, we are looking at the idea of moral excellence.  Patience is a virtue because it is a characteristic that is seen as being morally good and adds to one’s character. A person having high moral standards and striving to live up to those standards is a virtuous person. For example, Proverbs 31 gives us a glimpse at a woman who is virtuous. It mentions among many other virtues such qualities as being hard working, submissive and loyal to her husband.

Being virtuous is not perfection. We strive for moral excellence. Do we always succeed?  An honest man knows that the answer to that question is no (Ro. 3:23).  So how does one go about adding virtue to their faith?

First, one must desire to do good to other people.  We are commanded to avoid rendering evil for evil; instead, we must always follow what is good among ourselves and all others (1 Th. 5:15).  The Christian should strive to do good and avoid retaliation against other people.  God understands that there are people with whom we will not get along, but it is not our place to take vengeance on them.  He inspired Paul to tell us to “avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord” (Ro. 12:19).

That virtuous woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 did her husband good rather than evil all the days of her life (v. 12).  Can that be said of us in our marriages?  Do we desire to be a virtuous husband or a virtuous wife?  Husbands, do we love our wives as Christ loves his church?  Are we willing to give ourselves up for her as He was for the church (Ep. 5:25)?  Wives, do you submit to your husbands?  Do you desire to do that (Ep. 5:22-24)?  One who adds virtue to his or her faith must desire to do good to all people, including their family members.

Second, one must lead by example.  We hear that phrase “lead by example” often, don’t we?  We hear it in the political arena, academia, and we hear it (or should hear it) in the church.  A person who adds virtue to their faith will not just be one who tells what to do, but he is one who shows how to do it.

As a private school teacher and as a preacher, I must lead by example.  If I tell my students they should love God, they need to see that in me as well.  If I preach that we should avoid every form of evil (1 Th. 5:22) but am then seen doing something I shouldn’t, my credibility is lost and I am guilty of hypocrisy, the sin which is condemned in Scripture on multiple occasions (Mt. 6:5; 7:1-5; 1 Jn. 2:4).

God expects those men who serve as elders in the church to be virtuous men, men who are willing to lead by example (1 Pe. 5:3).  1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 give us qualifications a man must meet if he wishes to be appointed an elder in the Lord’s church.  These characteristics are virtues because they are morally good and they add to a person’s character.  The same is true for those men who desire to hold the office of a deacon (1 Ti. 3:8-13).  Leaders in the church must always be adding virtue to their faith by leading by example, using the Word of God as their guide.

Third, one must love the Word of God and keep it in his heart.  I love the Psalmist’s attitude in Psalm 119:97:  “O how I love thy law!  It is my meditation all the day.”  God’s people must love God’s law and also keep his law.  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).  There are those who say keeping the commandments and following book, chapter, and verse is legalism.  It is not legalism, it is love!

The Psalmist also said that the law of God was his “meditation all the day.”  He kept the Word of God in his mind all day long.  That is how we add virtue to our faith.  God’s Word instills in us virtues that the world in general does not care for.  For example, the Bible shows us the importance of hard work, a virtue that has long been abandoned by many in our land.  Paul said it best:  “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Co. 3:23).

Do we have the love for God’s Word that we should?  When was the last time we sat down and read and studied the Bible in our homes with our families?  We cannot expect our children to have the respect and love for the Bible if they don’t see that attitude in us.  Is gospel preaching something you enjoy hearing, or do you consider it to be dull and boring?  Preachers, let us always make sure that the congregations we serve are hearing balanced preaching and that they are getting into the meat of the Word!

These are not all of the ways a Christians adds virtue to his faith.  There are plenty more that I could list that could perhaps fill dozens of pages.  I am sure you can think of some too.  May we as God’s servants always strive to add virtue to our faith and strive for that moral excellence!

Atmilligan88@gmail.com

Drew is the preacher at the Corinth Church of Christ in Rock Island, TN.  He also teaches History, Government, and Middle & High School Bible at Boyd Christian School in McMinnville, TN.

Building On One’s Faith — Gantt Carter

Are you growing as a child of God? How much have you grown spiritually since you first obeyed the good news of the kingdom? In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the apostle Peter sets forth a list of eight qualities for the Christian to acquire. The qualities listed are faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. He goes on to reveal that, “if these qualities are yours and are increasing (growing, abounding), they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the full knowledge of our Master Jesus, the Messiah” (2 Pe. 1:8). Who wants to be ineffective or unfruitful in their walk with the Master of heaven and earth? Do you?

The first of the eight traits Peter encourages us to use as the building blocks of our growth in the Messiah is that of “faith” (2 Pe. 1:5). One is hard pressed to find any aspect of godly growth and living that does not in some way fit into one of these eight categories of thought and behavior. I suggest that Peter places each of these qualities in the order that he does for a reason. Each of the eight is a prerequisite for the one that follows it, but it is not that we move from one quality to another. Even after we have reached the final “step” of love, we must continue to grow in all eight characteristics listed.

A good working definition of faith is that of taking God at His word. Luke records Paul explaining to the sailors, “I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told” (Ac. 27:25). Paul had been given an inspired message about the results of the journey, and he fully believed in God and in the words of God. Many individuals believe in God (in His existence), but how many actually believe God? Trust is a good synonym for faith. I may believe in God and in certain facts about Him, but I am I willing to take refuge in Him?

In the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews, we are given a wonderful list of examples of faith in the past. It is important to note that the writer emphasizes how each of these saints of faith acted without physical sight of the promises. They obeyed God out of their faith in Him and in His words (cf. Ja. 2:14-26). The chapter opens with this powerful description of faith’s strength: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of matters not seen” (He. 11:1). Faith is looking at the evidence that exists, and then believing and obeying God without having to see Him or the promises. As Paul observed to the Corinthians, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Co. 5:7). The power of our faith allows us to see the invisible (He. 11:3, 27). The living faith of the child of God is looking to the reward of God Himself (He. 11:26-27).

How important should faith be in our lives? To begin answering that question, we need to also ask ourselves, “How important is pleasing God?” The Hebrew writer reveals that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (He. 11:6). Please note again the way proper faith is more than just being a theist; true faith in God’s sight is a faith that possesses a deep confidence in Him and in His revealed will.

Faith is listed first in Peter’s list because it is so foundational to every part of the life of a Christian. Faith, along with hope and love (see 1 Corinthians 13:13), is an immense motivator and manifestation of God in our hearts and lives. We repented of our sins initially because of our faith in God’s word (cf. Ac. 17:30-31). By faith we responded properly to the good news of King Jesus by being immersed into Him and into His death (cf. Ro. 6:3-6). Faith is what will continue to cause us to serve God and to show His love and spread His reign in this world.

Since faith is important to pleasing God, we need to find out how to increase our faith. What is the source of faith? How do we cause our faith to grow stronger and deeper? In discussing the rejection of the Messiah and the need for spreading the good news about Him, Paul explains, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Ro. 10:17). The word of God is the source of our faith in God. If faith is taking God at His word, then it should not surprise us to learn that faith originates from the word of God.

If you want a faith that is alive and vibrantly growing, then spend time reading, studying, and meditating on the words of the mind of God in the Bible. One cannot skip time in God’s holy word and expect to grow in their faith. Soon His words will dwell in us richly and our hearts will be so full of His grace, that we will be teaching and admonishing one another with thankfulness in our hearts to Him (cf. Co. 3:16).

Peter starts this letter by referring to the great amount of treasured promises God has made to us (2 Pe. 1:3-4). These promises give us the privilege of partaking of the divine nature and fleeing from this corrupt world of sin and death. It is upon the foundation of these promises and privileges that Peter exhorts us to grow in our faith and the other seven characteristics.

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more energetic to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  For in this way there will be richly granted to you an entrance into the unending kingdom of our Master and Savior Jesus, the Messiah” (2 Pe. 1:10-11).

koinewords@gmail.com

Gantt currently resides with his wife and two children in Elk City, OK.  He has been preaching in some form since 2007, and is currently the preaching minister for the 2nd & Adams congregation in Elk City.