Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Add to your self-control, perseverance

We've been working through the list that Peter gives in his second letter - because he says, "For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Again, not to be confused that we are doing ANYTHING that aids in our salvation. That is completely and totally done for us. And, not to be confused that we are even doing the things in this list in our own power. It is the Spirit who works in us to produce faith and fruit. These are simply putting those things into action  and showing both ourselves and others that our faith is real. It IS possible to hinder the Spirit, by chasing after the things of the world. Don't do that, but do these things instead, says Peter (and virtually every other New Testament writer):

2 Peter 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.
Making One’s Calling and Election Sure
 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 faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, 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.
 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, we are up to Perseverance: add to your self-control, perseverance. What does that mean?

Perseverance: (KJ - patience) hupomone {hoop-om-on-ay'}
1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings b) patiently, and steadfastly 2) a patient, steadfast waiting 3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

Where do we get perseverance? The Bible gives a number of ways. We ask for it:

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

We gain it through God's word and the example of others who have persevered:

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope

James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

We look eagerly for Jesus' return, which produces perseverance:

Romans 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.

We gain perseverance by going through trials. (Don't worry - you don't have to seek them. They will simply come.)

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

And, we simply trust God to provide it:

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.

May God grant us all perseverance as we get ready for Jesus' return.

I'd sure love to hear from you. I have no  idea if these blogs are answering a need in anyone's life. If you don't want to post here, please feel free to e-mail me.

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