“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” (2 Pet. 1:5-7).
In previous editions of this bulletin we have noticed the “graces” that are to be added to our faith. Each of these must be pursued by the child of God; each is an indication of maturity (2 Pet. 1:8-9). When these are added to our faith, our call and election is strengthened (2 Pet. 1:10-11).
As good as all of these graces are, they are nothing without faith. Faith is the foundation of life for the child of God. It is not possible to please God without it (Heb. 11:6).
Faith is not confined to one issue. When Paul taught those who did not believe in the one true God, he addressed this point (Acts 17:22-23). On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached to a crowd that believed in God, but denied the Messiahship of Jesus. Therefore, he addressed this issue (Acts 2:16-36). We must also believe in the Word of God (cf. Acts 26:27). These all stand or fall together.
Further, faith is not limited to mental assent. It is not just an understanding or knowledge. Rather, faith is a conviction that leads to action. “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Cor. 4:13). When we believe, we will act, not doubt and deny.
This is well illustrated with Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” The one who believes will be baptized to be saved. The one who does not believe will question, doubt or deny the necessity of baptism.
Finally, faith will lead us to add “graces” to our lives, as Peter commanded. True faith, Bible faith, will lead us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). It will cause us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). It will motivate us to do good works (Titus 2:14). Rather than deny the necessity of such things to our salvation, we will accept them as part and parcel to our faith.
Steven F. Deaton