Saturday, February 4, 2012

Add to your faith: Goodness

The very most important thing - spiritual prep - that you must have is faith:  rock solid, living, saving faith. On that foundation, the Holy Spirit will begin to work in you to change you, ready you, make you as God would have you be. 

Philippians 1:6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

So, it's God who works in you - God who will change you.  And, yet, there is still that "make every effort":

2 Peter 1
1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your (1) faith (2) goodness; and to goodness, (3) knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, (4) self-control; and to self-control, (5) perseverance; and to perseverance, (6) godliness; 7 and to godliness, (7) brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, (8) love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

You start with faith, and now you "make every effort" to add to that faith.  Add what? You start with "goodness." What is that?

2. Goodness: (KJ - virtue, NASB - moral excellence): arete {ar-et'-ay}
1) a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action, moral goodness, 2) any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity

Used five times in the NT - four by Peter. The other is here:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

So, how do you go about adding goodness? The verse above is a great start! Feed the new man; starve the old one.

With your faith, you were born anew, born again. There is a new person inside you. But, that old person is still there, trying to drag you down.  It's kind of like being twins - all inside the same body. Martin Luther said, "the Old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned through daily sorrow and repentance, and be put to death, that the New Adam should come forth daily and rise up, cleansed and righteous, to live forever in God's presence."
Starve the old person you were - feed the new one. Stay away from the things that entice you to stray. Concentrate on things that help you stay "good."

Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

As Jon Courson says, from the commentary on 2 Peter 1:
      . . . giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue . . .
      'You have faith,' says Peter. 'Now go for virtue, or moral excellence.' This means that the darkness of our culture as portrayed on the screen or in print, in song lyrics or in the questionable jokes around the water cooler has no place in our lives.
 I think the key is in the last part of the verses from Ephesians above:

Ephesians 5:10  and find out what pleases the Lord.

Find out what pleases the Lord. How? By reading and studying His word. Unlike every other book in the world, it actually has the power to change you.

Most of this was taken from my Bible study called Living by the Spirit.

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