Make Your Calling and Election Sure!
All things are provided to ensure your salvation. The Apostle Peter said that God has provided everything you need to make your calling and election sure. If you do these things you shall never fall.
God has promised that you can become a spirit being and live for all eternity, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”(II Peter 1:3-4). To partake of the divine nature means to become like God - a spirit being. This is the inheritance to which you have been called.
If you believe God’s promise of eternal life you should also believe that He has provided ‘all things’ needed for you to succeed. Peter listed those ‘things’, “And beside 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.” (II Peter 1:5-7).
Adding these ‘things’ to your belief will make your calling and election sure. If you neglect to add these things then your belief may be in vain, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 1:8-11).
When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” (Genesis 1:26), His intention was to create spirit beings of His own nature, or kind with whom he can share His power and glory. However, He must be absolutely sure that those with whom He shares these powers will not use them for evil purposes. Therefore, during man’s temporary existence on this earth he has been exposed to evil and its affects so he can learn to abhor evil. From the beginning Satan’s influence put mankind in a situation from which they must be rescued, or ‘saved’. Satan’s influence has been so powerful that this world does not believe what God is going to achieve, “…the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:4).
Having allowed this situation to develop God has also provided the means for salvation. With His help individuals can permanently overcome evil and receive an inheritance of eternal life. You have been called out of an unbelieving world by the Father to Christ for salvation, “No man can come to me (Christ), except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44). If you believe God has called you to salvation, have truly repented and are baptized you will receive the Holy Spirit, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).
The Holy Spirit will open your mind to the things of God, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:9-10). From that initial response of belief, your mind will be opened to the truth about the things God has in store for you.
Faith is Assurance
Your belief in God’s promise of eternal life can become a faith that in itself is an absolute assurance of your salvation. This is how to make your calling and election sure, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:” (Hebrews 6:11). And, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22). Also, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).
The assurance that comes by faith will sustain you until the promise of eternal life is eventually fulfilled by your resurrection to a spiritual existence, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:3-5).
When you responded to God’s calling and believed the promises you embarked on a process that will transform your mind from one corrupted by evil to a mind like Christ’s that is free from sin and right with God, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). The result is determined by how willing you are to submit to the process and diligently apply what God gives you.
Peter outlined the transformation process when he said, “And beside 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.” (II Peter 1:5-7).
Add to Your Faith Virtue
According to Peter the first thing to be added to your initial belief is virtue. Virtue is God’s moral goodness. Because the Holy Spirit you received at baptism is comprised of the very essence and mind of God complete with His inherent virtue it enables you to partake of God’s divine nature. It opens your mind to the ‘things’ of God, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 2:11).
God’s commandments are a further expression of His virtue and you will grow in grace by keeping them, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (I John 3:22-24).
When you live by God’s commandments His virtue is manifested in your life as a result, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22). The manifestation of these virtues indicates that you are being shaped in the image of Christ, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” (Galatians 4:19). Also, “… we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:16). That is God’s will, “… be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
The Holy Spirit is a down payment on the promise of eternal life, “(Christ) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). It unites with the spirit of man to produce an embryo of a new spirit entity that retains an individual’s characteristics but has the divine nature of God, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…” (II Corinthians 5:17-18).
Your new spirit entity (the ‘new man’) will eventually be resurrected, or born as a fully fledged spirit being, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (I Corinthians 15:42-44). And, “… as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Corinthians 15:49-53).
At this point you are begotten, but not yet born into the very family of God, “…I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:17-18). This is your inheritance.
Add to Virtue Knowledge
When Peter said to add knowledge to virtue he was talking about getting to know Christ who is the mediator of your salvation, “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Timothy 2:3-5, see also Hebrews 8:6 and 9:14-15). He is the door through which you enter the Kingdom, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,”(John 10:9).
It is under his dominion (administration) you will enter God’s Kingdom, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:22-28).
A lot of people know about God but few actually know Him! Even the religious leaders in Christ’s time did not really know God, “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” (John 8:19). And, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30). Both Father and Son are of the same divine nature that you have been called to share, “ ... he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” (John 14:9).
In his likeness you will be formed “For our conversation (conduct) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21).
As you are formed in the image of Christ you will get to know Him, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (I John 2:3-6).
You will become a new creation after His likeness, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24). Also, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10). Ultimately you can reach the fullness of Christ’s stature, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).
As you, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18), you will increase in favour with the Father. If you don’t know Christ, then your belief may be in vain and you are in danger of falling from God’s grace.
Add to Knowledge Temperance
Your ability to grow in grace and knowledge is determined by your desire to submit to God. When God first brought you to a state of repentance your life was drastically modified and your behavior was tempered by the desire to obey. You suppressed the desire to follow the ways of ‘old man’ through applying temperance. This enabled you to keep the law on a physical level. However, to keep the spirit of the law in the manner described by Christ at his famous sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44) requires a spiritual temperance that take place within the mind at the very source of the thoughts that result in sin. This spiritual temperance can only come through the Holy Spirit.
Paul said that the inherent spirit in man is enmity against God and cannot be subject to the law of God, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7). Therefore it must be tempered, or modified by the addition of God’s Spirit at baptism. Because you now have a combination of your spirit which is not subject to the law, and the Spirit of God who cannot sin, there is bound to be some inner conflict.
Paul referred to his own experience of this conflict, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I …”, “… For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15,18-25).
He went on to say that when a person experiences conflict as they strive to keep the law and occasionally slip up, which does happen from time to time, they are not condemned by the penalty of the law because Christ has already paid that penalty for them. He is now your advocate with the Father in seeking forgiveness, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2). God has plans for the rest of the world to be called to conversion at a future time and when they accept Christ as their saviour they will also go through the same conversion process. You are being prepared now to help Christ with that work when the time comes.
God is well aware of the conflict you have to contend with and if you confess your sin in heartfelt repentance, He will forgive you, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2).
If you have turned from the ways of this world and are striving to live by His law, and do not revert to a life of wilful sin you are free from the penalty of eternal death. This does not give you license to sin, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13). However, if having received God’s Spirit you turn back to a life of wilful sin rejecting God, you will be back under the penalty of the law only this time facing eternal death “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
God has given you the means to bring every thought under control so that you can defeat sin at its very source,“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (II Corinthians 10:3-5)..
He is always ready to assist, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (I John 3:22). He is working together with you in partnership, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” (I Corinthians 3:9). You are His children, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26).
He wants a family that cannot sin, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (I John 3:9).
Add to Temperance Patience
It is God’s will that your mind is renewed to become like His, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2). And because this transformation is not instantaneous patience is a prime requisite,“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36).
Paul prayed that his followers would be strengthened in patience by God’s power during this process, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (Colossians 1:9-11)
The Greek word translated ‘patience’ is often translated as ‘endurance’ indicating an element of longsuffering. So don’t think it strange when you are faced with difficult times, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:” (1Peter 4:12). Although trials and tribulations can be extremely painful and hard to bear at the time, remember that you are ‘strengthened with all might according to his glorious power’ and that no trial will be greater than you can bear, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13).
Those trials exercise patience and work toward your perfection, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
While some trials may bring you down to the very depths of despair, the eventual outcome will certainly be something to celebrate. Nothing is more valuable than the eternal life you will receive when Christ returns, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 1:7).
Add to Patience Godliness
Godliness means to be like God. Desiring to be like God is an expression of love toward Him. Peter said that God has given you, “…all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (II Peter 1:3) He called you to salvation and gave you His Spirit which is the essence of His divine nature so that you can become like Him.
Paul said to move on from the basic principle of the doctrine of faith to perfection, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” (Hebrews 6:1). Faith is the foundation on which perfect godliness is built, “…the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” (I Timothy 6:3). Those who continue in faith and achieve godliness will become like both the Father and His Son, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (II John 9 last part). But those who do not remain in the faith do not have God, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” (II John 9 first part).
Exercising the divine nature within you through obedience to the law develops godliness, “…exercise thyself rather unto godliness… …godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy 4:7-8). While the law defines sin to the ungodly, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.” ( I Timothy 1:9), for believers it teaches godliness, “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;” (Verse 8).
You have been called out of an ungodly world, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4). As you become more godly you will inevitably attract the attention of the ungodly, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” (I Peter 4:4). Because “…the carnal mind is enmity against God:” (Romans 8:7), there will be enmity against you, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (II Timothy 3:12 see also John 15:20).
Even those who have a form of religion, but don’t know God will turn on you as they did the early church, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2-3). Persecution may come from your own family, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:16-17).
It may also come from within the Churches of God. When speaking to the church in Corinth Paul revealed that there were some in the congregation who did not know God, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” (I Corinthians 15:34). They may even put you out of their congregations as they did in those days, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (III John 9-10)
You must be aware of this possibility so you are not destroyed if it happens to you. And always remember that the reward for your suffering is eternal life in God’s Kingdom, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10).
Godliness does not mean you should act sanctimoniously, or superior to others, it simply means living a life without sin and having the appropriate respect and love toward God and fellow men. It must always be remembered that God has chosen us from among the least esteemed by this world, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:” (I Corinthians 1:26).
God’s divine nature is holy and he expects you to become likewise, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:12). And, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct);” (I Peter 1:15). Also,“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (I Thessalonians 4:7).
Add to Godliness Brotherly Kindness
His nature should be reflected in your attitude toward fellow brethren, who like you, have also been called to salvation. We are to respect their calling and a genuine concern for them as they endure trials, persecutions and inner conflicts that may differ to yours because of background, personality or circumstances.
Jesus Christ mentioned two commandments which perfectly express God’s divine nature, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). Walking in godliness expresses your love for God as does loving your neighbour.
These two commandments summarize the ten given to Israel in Exodus 20. The first four define love toward God: Thou shalt have no other gods before me, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain, and Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. And the remaining six define love toward fellow man: Honour thy father and thy mother, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, and Thou shalt not covet.
These laws were a shadow of things to come, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things…” (Hebrews 10:1). They foreshadowed a time when God’s Spirit will be freely available, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Because a shadow is not a perfect reflection of the substance they did not reflect the full depth of God’s divine nature which Christ came to reveal, “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (Luke 10:22).
He came not to do away with the law as some think but to fulfill it, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17). If you are Christ’s you will be striving to fulfill the law by living by every word of God, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” (I Timothy 6:3). Because you are fulfilling the law you are no longer under the penalty of the law.
You can partake of His divine nature both in this life and the next, “…godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Timothy 4:8). And because the law is an expression of God’s love, you fulfill it by expressing that love in genuine concern for the needs of your brethren, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). To bear their burdens means to show kindness, suffering with them in by walking in their shoes, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” (Romans 12:10).
Your brethren are fellow children of God, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:18). Your love toward them should reflect your love toward God, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: ...” (I John 4:21 to 5:3).
Unfortunately most of us tend to judge and find fault rather than empathizing with our brethren, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (Luke 6:37). To express the love of God through that divine nature that is being formed within you means to, “…comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (I Thessalonians 5:11). And, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10). It is what the word of God teaches, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (I Thessalonians 4:9). In doing these things you fulfil the law.
Add to Brotherly Kindness Charity
Charity is love. God so loved the world that He was prepared to sacrifice His son to save you, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). As it is God’s will that all be saved He plans to extend the offer of salvation to every human being, “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3-4). That is why He wants you treat others in the same way you want to be treated,“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14).
The expression of love toward those whom God loves is a work of faith. It is true that you will not be saved by your works, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). But without works your faith will be ineffective, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17, see also verse 26).
Through works your faith is perfected, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (verse 21-22). To be justified in the eyes of God requires works of faith, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (verse 24). Perfect faith must be accompanied by love, “…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:2).
Paul said, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:”. (verses 4-8). If you are practicing godliness then you will have this sort of love toward your fellowman, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10).
Faith that assures eternal life is the foundation on which charity is built, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Corinthians 13:13). Charity is the greatest because it defines the fullness of God’s nature. Through faith Christ dwells in you by his Spirit laying a foundation of that divine nature, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
God is working to transform you into the image of Christ, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is not your works that will save you – it is God’s workmanship that will do that, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (verse 10).
Your works come as a result of the work that God is doing in you. Your willingness to submit to God’s workmanship determines the result. Your level of participation in that work is something only you can determine, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12). It is a process that will continue until the resurrection, “…he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6).
The works you do as a result of God’s work in you will be tested and rewarded accordingly, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:11-15).
The end result is your salvation, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:9). The Apostle Peter said to be diligence in adding to your belief the things God has provided for your salvation. He has provided all things necessary for you to partake of His divine nature and from that initial belief in His promises a faith can develop that makes your calling and election sure. This is what He wants for you.