“And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue. . .and to virtue, knowledge. . . and to knowledge, temperance. . .and to temperance, patience… and to patience, Godliness. . . and to Godliness, brotherly kindness. . .and to brotherly kindness, charity—for, if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

II Peter 1:5-8

Saving faith is simple, childlike faith; yet, when we grow in His Grace and Truth, that faith becomes a “superlative faith.”

“And besides this, add to.”

That’s the theme in today’s Manna as the Apostle Peter exhorted his readers (and us) to view ourselves as “God’s Garden.”  Like Paul, he knew we are God’s “husbandry” (I Cor. 3:9b) into which God’s “Seed” (the Gospel/new life in Christ) has been sown (I Pet. 1:23) and, therefore, should be “growing in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18), which will result in “the fruits of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).

This is impossible to do in our own strength.  And, all attempts to reproduce the Christian life without “His Divine Power which has been given unto us” (II Pet. 1:3a), will only result in a counterfeit version of the new life, not the real thing.

Yet, even then, this new life in Christ doesn’t come automatically.  Like a garden, this life must be cultivated through the daily disciplines of prayer and Bible study.  It must be fertilized by faith. . .watered by tears and the Word. . .and an intentional “adding to,” which comes by surrender, supplication and sanctification.

Take a moment and look at the “additives” that Peter lists:

“Diligence” (Grk. “spoude”—“speed, eagerness, earnestness, etc.”)—no half-heartedness here; “virtue” (Grk. “arête”—“valor, excellence, praiseworthy, etc.”)—inward courage and honor; “knowledge”—found in studying God’s Word; “temperance”—“self-discipline, continence;” “patience” (Grk. “hupomone”—“cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, patient continuance and waiting, etc.”)—perseverance in faith; “Godliness”—holiness, piety; “brotherly kindness” (Grk. “philadelphia”—“brotherly love, fraternal affection, etc.”)—treating others as Christ as treated us and as we’d want to be treated; “charity” (Grk. “agape”—“a God-type love, self-giving love, etc.”)—giving with no thought of anything in return.

Quite an impressive list, isn’t it?

And, one that’s impossible to accomplish in our own strength.

That’s why we must daily “die to and deny ourselves” by being “transformed by His Word and the Spirit” (Gal. 2:20; Lk. 9:23; Rom. 12:1-2).  By “hiding His Word in our hearts” (Ps. 119:11) we discover why His Promises are “exceedingly great and precious” (II Pet. 1:4).  And, by “abounding in these we’ll be neither barren or unfruitful.”  Hallelujah!!

We should also note what happens to those who fail to add these things to their faith:  They are “blind and have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins” (v.9).  May the Holy Spirit help us to experience firsthand His version of “Miracle Grow” as we yield to His embrace and grow in His Grace.  That way we’ll know our lives are useful to Him.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 17, 2010

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