Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Add To Your Faith

The second epistle of Peter, chapter 1, verses 5-7 reads as follows:

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

You will note that the Christian graces mentioned in the text are to be added to a foundation of faith.

Faith is the beginning, or genesis of the Christian life. The Hebrew writer wrote, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Here in 2 Peter, the apostle wrote to those who had believed. They were Christians, having responded in faith to the call of the gospel. While the emphasis is in adding to faith, it is important to note that it is that faith itself which gave them access to the everlasting kingdom of God. Because of their faith, Peter wrote, “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (vs. 4). It was their faith in God which made them eligible for those “exceedingly great and precious promises.”

Virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love are all important characteristics, which every Christian should incorporate into his life. But, first things first. He must first be a Christian. Faith truly is the foundation.

Faith is obtained through the testimony of God’s word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Paul wrote, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Faith is, simply, conviction in the truthfulness of the testimony of God’s word. The New Testament writers have recorded the history of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and His claims to deity. Such claims were backed up by the works of Jesus, “This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him'” (John 3:2). God also confirmed the truthfulness of the word by the signs and wonders which followed the disciples, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:3-4).

Faith is not an unreasonable thing. Our conviction is based upon proofs. Peter wrote, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:16-19).

Not only did Peter witness the Father’s imprimatur of Jesus, he and the other disciples were witnesses of the resurrection, the ultimate proof that Jesus was the Son of God. He testified to the rebellious Jews, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses” (Acts 3:14-15).

Faith in Christ is the beginning of the Christian life. You can’t be reconciled to the Father in heaven without it. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned'” (Mark 16:15-16).