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Apart from divine grace and intervention, sinful men were hopelessly lost. The good news: God did act. He sought out sinful men and gave them faith in His Son. He enabled them to become partakers of His divine nature 2 Peter But why does excellence precede knowledge?

I think we can understand this in light of Romans 1. Sinful men rejected the glory of God and established their own glory. As a result, they were darkened in their minds, unable to grasp divine revelation and truth. As a result of our salvation, we are now able to recognize the excellencies of our Lord and regard His excellencies as worthy of praise, embracing them as qualities we desire in our own life. When we embrace these virtues, we are then able to grasp the knowledge which comes next in the list of virtues. The apostle Paul puts it this way:.

To embrace the excellencies of God is to strive after them and then to express them in our lives to the glory and praise of God:. Embracing and pursuing the excellencies of God means having the spirit of mind which exalts the Word of God and explores the Word for the knowledge of Him who saved us. Doing so produces a mindset receptive to the knowledge of God revealed through the Scriptures. I must say with deep regret that none of the excellence sought after today is that of which Peter speaks in our text.

But this is not a new problem. In our former state as unbelievers, we were not knowledgeable; we were ignorant:. The solution to our ignorance is having our minds transformed with the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, knowledge which comes from the Scriptures see John ; Romans ; Ephesians ; Colossians and is communicated through the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians ; Ephesians This is a doctrinal knowledge, a knowledge revealed in Scripture with clear biblical support. While it must be a doctrinal knowledge revealed in Scripture, it is also an experiential knowledge of God.

This experience is not divorced from Scripture; rather, it is the experiencing of Scripture. The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way:. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen 2 Peter The knowledge of God is essential to our growth in Christian character and our ability to recognize and avoid those who teach what is false. As unbelievers, we are dominated by our physical appetites, enslaved as we are to them:. Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Living a godly life requires us to master the flesh and make it our servant, rather than our master:.

Run in such a way that you may win. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Sin uses the flesh to keep us in bondage Romans Satan and the world encourage us to live according to the flesh. But being a child of God requires that we live no longer for the flesh or in the power of the flesh. The prompting of the flesh must be brought under control, and we are to heed the prompting of the Spirit of God, as He speaks through the Word of God see Romans ; 1 Corinthians ; ; False teachers appeal to fleshly lusts. They gather a following by proclaiming a gospel which indulges the flesh rather than crucifying it:.

The Pursuit of a Christ-Centered Education

Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; … 18 For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19 promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved 2 Peter , , Such false teaching is not uncommon in the pulpit today.

They promise that those who possess enough faith can escape suffering and adversity and be guaranteed peace and prosperity.

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They promise that when one gives a little, one may be assured of receiving much more in return. These rewards are not looked for in heaven as much as on earth, now. Let us not dilute the gospel to make it attractive to men by appealing to their fleshly lusts. We must proclaim the message of the gospel in its fulness and its simplicity, knowing that only through the Spirit of God are men enabled to grasp the truth of the gospel and quickened to do so 1 Corinthians , ; 2 Corinthians ; ; If self-control has to do with physical pleasures, perseverance has to do with pain.

Our natural tendency is to pursue pleasure and flee from pain. The gospel calls for us to identify with Christ, which includes identifying with Him in His suffering:. Perseverance is the frame of mind and character which persists in doing what is right even though doing so may produce difficulties, suffering, and sorrows. Perseverance is the commitment to suffer in the short term in order to experience glory for eternity.

Perseverance was exemplified by our Lord:. Perseverance also includes patience. The false teachers point out that our Lord has not returned as proof that He will not. Godliness is the religion we practice in our day-to-day walk. It is …. It desires a right relation with both God and men. Godliness brings the sanctifying presence of God into all the experiences of life.

The Old Testament Law related true faith to the daily aspects of living. The New Testament does the same:. Now that we have come to newness of life in Christ, we must put off our old way of life and put on the new:. It is a love based in part on what we share in common with the One we love.

There is a certain element of reciprocity involved, for ideally we should be a blessing to our brother in Christ, and he should be a blessing to us. This love, based on a shared relationship with Christ, can be sensed immediately even though two saints may never have met before. I well remember my first trip to India.

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Having arrived without anyone to meet me at the airport, I was very much alone. After a long train ride, I joined a group of Indian believers who were complete strangers. As we rode to our destination in an old van, we began to sing some of the hymns of the faith.

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A deep sense of brotherly love was evident as we found a bond of love in Christ. This does not mean that brotherly love is a snap, that it is automatic. If it were, Peter would not have found it necessary to command us to pursue it with diligence, not only in his second epistle but also in his first:. Sin not only alienates men from God, it also alienates them from one another.

Thus, when men come to faith in Christ, they are united with Him and also with their fellow believers. This union of believers with one another crosses every barrier, racial or social:.

The Pursuit of a Christ-Centered Education | Light and Life Magazine

Some have been saved for many years, but they have read only up to Genesis 20 in the Old Testament and up to Matthew 2 in the New Testament. One day I told some Christians that Matthew 28 says that the Lord Jesus was resurrected, and chapter 29 says that He ascended to the heavens, and they all nodded their heads. Your Bible is different from mine.

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Yours has twenty-nine chapters, and mine has only twenty-eight. This proves that many Christians do not have the Bible within them because they do not read the Bible. Besides Christ, Christians must have the Bible, and they must read it diligently. God has shown us mercy by giving us not only His only begotten Son but also the Bible. Thus, in addition to Christ, we have the Bible.

In the universe, besides our dear Lord, nothing else is more precious than the Bible. All who are Christ-men should always meditate on the words of the Bible so that they may be wise unto salvation, be preserved, and be protected.

The Pursuit of Happyness

A certain co-worker was greatly used by God because when he was young, he consecrated himself to God to do everything absolutely according to the Bible. I just want to please God; I will not do anything that does not please Him. As a result, regardless of how cold the weather was, he would not wear a hat. This may sound like a joke; the principle, though, is correct.

However, do not misunderstand and think that I am saying that you should not wear hats. What the brother did was an indication of his absolute respect for the Bible. The principle of Christian living is not according to what men say but according to what the Bible says. If we find out the principle of Christian living from the examples and patterns set forth in the Bible, we will know how to behave ourselves in our family life and social life. Therefore, in our daily living, in matters great or small, we should search the Bible and find out what it says that we should do.

The most blessed and wise people are those who know the Bible. The Bible is the one book in the world that can best enlighten people. We have many problems that we cannot resolve, but once we bring them to the Bible, they are readily resolved. Note: We hope that many will benefit from these spiritual riches. However, for the sake of avoiding confusion, we ask that none of these materials be downloaded or copied and republished elsewhere, electronically or otherwise.

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Common words, such as "and", "is", and "the", also known as noise words , are bypassed in a search. Living Stream Ministry publishes the works of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, providing the authoritative and definitive collections of treasures from these two servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem is that we are seeking happiness in the wrong place. The desire is God-given, but we often settle for too little, for lesser goods. Lewis put it most memorably:. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea.

We are far too easily pleased. David A. Horner D. His primary research interests are in ancient and medieval philosophy, particularly ethics. Christian wisdom for life's big questions. About the Author.

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