Add the Virtue
18 November 2018 PM – 2 Peter 1:5 – Add to Faith – Scott Childs
Introduction: In the first four verses, we learned that God gave us all the help we need to live the Christian life to His glory. He gave us grace and peace (v.2). He gave us of His divine power to live the new life and for godliness (v.3). He gave us of His divine nature that we might escape the corruption of the world through lust (v.4).
In our text this evening, God begins to outline qualities that we need to develop with His grace, power and new nature. Kenneth Wuest wisely states, “The divine nature is not an automatic self-propelling machine that will turn out a Christian life for the believer irrespective of what that believer does or the attitude he takes to the salvation which God has provided. The divine nature will always produce a change in the life of the sinner who receives the Lord Jesus as Saviour. But it works at its best efficiency when the believer cooperates with it in not only determining to live a life pleasing to God, but definitely stepping out in faith and living that life in dependence upon the new life which God has implanted in him.”
Transition: As we examine verse five, I want to answer the question, “How are we to add virtue to our faith?”
To add virtue to our faith…
1. We must understand the meaning of virtue
a. Definition in classical times
1) Rogers: “In classical times the word meant the god-given power or ability to perform heroic deeds – whether military, athletic, or artistic accomplishments or the conducting of one’s life. … The basic meaning of the word indicates the quality by which one stands out as being excellent.” The New Linguistic and Exegetical key to the Greek New Testament, P. 582
2) TDNT: “This word has many senses but primarily means a. “eminence” in either achievement or endowment or both, b. “martial valor,” c. “merit,” d. in philosophy “virtue,” which in Hellenistic Judaism (though not in Philo) can approximate righteousness …”
b. Definition in N.T. use
1) Zodhiates: virtue, moral excellence, perfection, goodness of action….
2) Thayer: any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity.
3) Strong: The root of this word is male or properly manliness (valor) that is excellence.
4) Bengel: Moral power, moral energy, vigor of soul
1) From both classical and NT definitions of the word we see that it primarily refers to excellence in character, particularly in the area of morals. It is the determination to do what is excellent in God’s sight.
2) Virtue is not lazily floating along in the Christian life. It is aggressively striving to do our very best for the Lord. We are to flesh this out in our daily activities. God even commanded slaves to work virtuously, “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” (Eph 6:6)
3) God wants every Christian to strive for virtue or excellence in his walk with God. This was Paul’s passion when he said, (Philippians 3:14) “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
To add virtue to our faith…
2. We must make the necessary changes
a. We must put off all poor character
1) Paul illustrates this in, (1 Corinthians 9:25) “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
2) Anything that hinders or slows us down spiritually must go.
a) (2 Timothy 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts…”
b) (Romans 12:11) “Not slothful in business; …”
c) (Romans 13:12) “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness …”
d) (Colossians 3:8) “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
e) (Hebrews 12:1) “… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
b. We must put on qualities of virtue
1) The word “add” in our text means to supply or to furnish, “to supply in addition to, to outfit the chorus with additional (complete) supplies.” (RWP). God does not want any Christian to have the attitude, “It does not matter how I live. I am on my way to heaven and that is all that really matters.”
2) We have learned that virtue is not a single quality but rather an excellence in character and morals.
3) The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 displayed excellence primarily in physical character in gardening, parenting, homemaking, and social activities, but she was also virtuous in her fear of the Lord. Peter’s focus is more on excellence in spiritual and moral character.
4) We must strive for excellence in every area of our walk with the Lord.
a) Strive for excellence in your Bible study. Seek to learn as you study. Look up word definitions. Examine cross references. Take notes. Make personal applications.
b) Strive for excellence in your prayer time. Seek to worship God as you pray. (Hebrews 4:16) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” While God invites us to come boldly to His throne, we must approach His throne of grace with humility and reverence. While prayer is simple, it is also one of the most difficult tasks in the Christian life.
c) Strive for excellence in your testimony. (Ephesians 5:15) “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” Choose your words carefully. Keep your attitudes pleasing to God. Dress like a child of the holy God of heaven. Protect your eyes from the filth of the world. Fulfil your role in marriage. Children, obey your parents cheerfully.
d) Strive for excellence in your witness for Christ.
e) Strive for excellence in your purity – mind and actions.
5) We could list many other Bible admonitions, but we are to strive for excellence in every area of the Christian life.
To add virtue to our faith…
3. We must work at it diligently
a. We must be diligent
1) This word describes haste and earnestness in doing a task. It is the opposite of a lazy careless attitude.
2) Diligence is earnestly depending on God’s grace, divine power, and divine nature to add virtue to our lives. God has provided the means and now we must apply the action. Christian growth is not the result of a divine zap; it is the result of a diligent application of God’s Word.
b. We must apply ALL diligence.
1) This word means just what we think, all or every.
2) Every day, we are to be diligent to add virtue to our faith.
3) All day long, we are to be diligent to add virtue to our faith.
Conclusion: Our faith is the gift of salvation received by faith in Christ. It is our new relationship with God. God gave us all that we need to live that new life and now we are to add to our faith or furnish it by putting into action all that God has given us. At the top of God’s list is virtue or excellence in character.
No Olympic athlete ever wins if he does not strive for excellence. Neither will any Christian hear God’s “Well done” if he does not strive for excellence in the Christian life. Striving for excellence takes diligence, but it will be worth it all when we see Christ.
You can do it! You are not competing with other Christians. You are simply to strive for excellence in your personal walk with God.
Song: I am Resolved 389