Add to Faith



From the title, Add to Faith, one may ask, “Isn’t faith enough? I am saved by faith, not by works.” That is true. Salvation is by faith not by works, as taught by the apostle Paul.



For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one may boast.”


Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV



That is true – for salvation. However, we are looking at discipleship, which is after one has come to faith, believing, and trusting in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.


The next objection may be, “So you are adding burdens to a disciple just as the Pharisees did to the Jewish people?” No, not at all. Jesus had criticisms concerning the practices of the Pharisees.



“They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.”


Matthew 23:4 ESV



This topic is not to add burdens to your life, but to aid in the maturing of faith which will enable one to overcome the things of this world and the enemy.


So what was the apostle Peter teaching the believers to add to their faith, and to us as well?



For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and
steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.


2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV



Let’s take a closer look and see what all of this means. These are qualities we are to develop in order to be effective in the ministry of reconciliation which we have been given, as well as in our work for the kingdom of heaven. The ministry of reconciliation has been laid upon all who believe, sharing the great gift which we have received with others, that they too may know the joy of the salvation of the Lord.



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the
ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ god was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.


2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV



Merriam – Webster Dictionary Online


Reconciliation: the action of reconciling; the state of being reconciled.

Reconcile: to restore to friendship or harmony. Settle, resolve.


Jesus, the Son, came into the world, His creation, to restore us to a loving relationship with the Father, including the forgiveness for our sinfulness. That ministry of reconciliation, sharing the good news and leading others into it, has been passed onto every believer.


To better do that, as well as developing our own relationship with God, we need to continue to grow and mature in our faith. That is what Peter is showing us as he wrote in the verses following the list of qualities he shared.



For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so
nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice
these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


2 Peter 1:8-11 ESV



This is the way to avoid falling from faith and to ensure entrance into the kingdom of God. Do we think these qualities are worthy of our attention? Are we effective and fruitful in our life in Christ? Have we forgotten that we were cleansed from our former sins? Are we being diligent to confirm that which we have been called into? Are we practicing the qualities of which Peter writes?


Verse 5, as we saw earlier, begins, “For this very reason,” which means what? Let’s look at the opening verses to discover what that reason is.



Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,


2 Peter 1:1a ESV



  • Peter states for the record that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ.
  • Peter was a servant of Jesus Christ.
    • Strong’s Greek #1401: a slave
    • Peter walked in obedience to the call of Christ on his life.



To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:


2 Peter 1:1b ESV



  • This letter was to the believers – to those who have obtained a faith.
  • All believers are equal in the saving faith of the Lord.
    • The gifting for believers is different for some, as we are called to work for the kingdom of heaven in service to God.
  • The faith of believers for salvation is of equal standing, even with that of the apostles.
  • The faith of all believers, regardless of position or calling, is from God, and is established in His righteousness.



May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.


2 Peter 1:2 ESV



  • It was common in the epistles for the writers to greet their fellow believers in the grace and peace of God.
  • Peter’s prayer for us is the multiplication of the grace and peace in God.
  • Peter tells us this comes “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
    • Are we increasing in knowledge of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
    • This is growth in our relationship with God.


While all of that is good, and worthy of meditation, the reason to which Peter refers is found in verses 3 and 4.



His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us
His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.


2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV



  • What we have is through the divine power of God.
  • God provides all we need to live a godly life.
  • Again, knowledge of God and His ways.
  • We are called to his excellence and glory.
    • Not our own, but His.
    • By which God provides.
  • It is through His excellence and glory that he granted to us, or gave to us, His precious and very great promises.
  • Through the precious and very great promises of God we become partakers of the divine nature of God.
    • We need the knowledge of God and His ways.
      • The love of God and the promises of God .
        • Understanding the conditions for the promises also.
    • Through a purging from my life of sinful nature
    • Through the knowledge of Him who called me
      • True communion and intimacy with Him
  • In all this we have escaped the corruption that is in the world due to sinful desire.


In responding to the call of God, escaping the corruption of the world due to sinful desire, we gain knowledge of God and His promises, enabling us to live godly lives that we may partake of the divine nature.


For this reason we add to our faith, maturing in our life in Christ. This is a process of sanctification as we move from sinner to believer, to servant, to son, to co-laborer with Christ in the kingdom of heaven as an overcomer and joint heir with Christ Jesus, the first born of many brothers and sisters.


We are to “make every effort to supplement” our faith.


Merriam – Webster Dictionary Online


Supplement: something that completes or makes an addition.


Faith is what is to be built upon, adding to it these other things.

  • Faith is at the base; it is what is built upon
    • Having faith is necessary to be effective
    • Acting in faith is required in the Kingdom



And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.


Hebrews 11:6 ESV



Do we have, and act in, faith? Faith:

  • Believing that God is who He says He is.
  • Believing that I am who God says I am.
  • Believing that God will do what He says He will do.


We have looked at this already and continuously refer to it, as it is the basis upon which we operate in the Christian life.

  • We have seen in Scripture what God says about Himself: episode 30, Who God Says He Is.
  • We have seen in Scripture what God says about His Children: episode 16, Who God Says I Am.
  • We have seen throughout Scripture what God has done and will do according to His word.
    • Including “His precious and very great promises.”



So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV



Truth. The greatest of these is love. It is the love of God that brings us into a relationship with Him. We are to learn to love as He loves. Scripture says, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)


Holy Spirit gives us the faith to believe the gospel message and to respond to the love of God. It is upon that faith which we build, maturing in our relationship with God. The hope is an earnest expectation of the things of God coming to pass, including His promises and the fulfillment of His prophetic word.

  • Love is the root and the goal.
    • Love begins with God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
    • The goal is for us to love as God loves.
      • The goal is to live out God’s love.
        • We are to be a reflection of Christ.
          • Love and Compassion.
          • Obedience in Love.
        • To be filled with the love of the Father.
          • His love to overflow and pour out of us.
    • Love: seeing the needs of others, and if within my power, and the will of God, doing my best to provide for and satisfy those needs as I am empowered to do so.
  • Hope is relying on God’s promises and word in living this life.
    • Hope: belief in, and optimistic longing for, a matter of truth.
      • My hope is to reflect Christ through obedience in love, with the love of Father overflowing in my life to others.
  • Faith is the first building block upon which we are to build.
  • Faith:
    • Saving Faith: trusting and believing in Christ and the good news of the gospel.
      • Saving faith is the first step on this journey of sanctification.
        • Becoming holy and set apart unto God.
      • Operating Faith: believing that God is who He says He is, that I am who He says I am, and that He will do what He says He will do.
        • Knowledge of the faith and learning to live in operating faith increase along this journey of sanctification.
      • The Faith: godly principles of living for the disciples of Christ and believers; standards set forth by God Himself.
  • I am to add to my faith, building one standard or characteristic upon another.
    • Supplement your faith with virtue.
      • Virtue: moral excellence.
    • And Virtue with knowledge.
      • Knowledge: divine truth.
    • And knowledge with self-control.
      • Self-control: holding oneself in; self-discipline.
    • And self-control with steadfastness.
      • Steadfastness (or perseverance): patience and endurance.
    • And steadfastness with godliness.
      • Godliness: reverence for God.
    • And godliness with brotherly affection.
      • Brotherly affection (or kindness): affection for others.
    • And brotherly affection with love.
      • Love: selfless, sacrificial love; caring for others and their needs.
  • These are building blocks; one to be built upon another.
    • They are purposefully ordered this way.
    • This is the sanctification process.
      • Taking me from sinner in the world to kingdom living in Christ.
    • Becoming a disciple of Christ, one day being presented to Father as son.
  • Although they are one built upon another, there is a level of each at work in our life.
    • When we received saving faith, we had love for others at some level working in our life.
    • As our faith increases (operating faith), and the faith (godly principles) is established in our life, and these characteristics are added and strengthened, the love for others continues to grow.
    • True love flowing from God through us.
  • And it is the same for all those characteristics between faith and love.
    • We all have some level of those characteristics in our life.
    • The varying degrees depend upon many things, including: giftings, upbringing, faith, understanding, etc.
  • The pattern, or plan, is this:
    • We begin our journey by receiving saving faith.
    • Our operating faith grows as we follow Christ Jesus.
    • We learn about God and with Him we clean up our life striving for the goal of moral excellence.
    • We seek and find divine truth in Scripture.
      • Also, we learn of promises of God on which to stand.
    • With a growing morality and realization of divine truth we learn to control ourselves in word, action, and our thoughts.
    • We learn to become patient in waiting upon God for what He has for us (plans, provisions, etc.) and we develop endurance to remain faithful in following Christ Jesus.
    • As we now know God better and with greater understanding, we continually develop a greater reverence for Him.
    • With growing godliness, our heart is softened to show more kindness to others as we live out the principles of God.
    • Then, as we learn what love truly is, we can effectively live a Christ-like life.


God created us in His image, as we discussed in the previous episode 49, Crafting Your Jesus. Father’s desire is for us to become like His Son, Jesus.



For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first born among many brothers.


 Romans 8:29 ESV



We are not to be puppets or clones, rather, we are to have the character of the Son, the love of the Father flowing through us, and following the leading of Holy Spirit.


Then what? What happens when we develop these characteristics, adding them to our faith?



For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


2 Peter 1:8 ESV



Are these characteristics ours? And just as importantly, are they increasing? If so, we will be effective and fruitful in Christ, as we co-labor with Him in the kingdom of heaven.

  • We need to possess these characteristics to be like Christ.
  • We need to increase the depth of these qualities in our life to grow in our relationship with God.
  • These qualities cause us to be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Here are a couple of ways that being fruitful in Christ may look.



And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.


Titus 3:14 ESV



so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;


Colossians 1:10 ESV



It is much better to be fruitful than to be unfruitful, whether the fruit on the vine or the disciple in Christ. Like the fruit needs to literally be on the vine to grow, the disciple must be in contact with the Lord. We need to maintain that contact with Jesus to walk through this life as a child of God. We find promises as well as warnings concerning the vine and the fruit.



“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”


John 15:1-2 ESV



  • Growth and closeness to God causes the bearing of more fruit.



“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you
abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”


John 15:3-5 ESV



Adding these characteristics to our faith and increasing them in our growth of maturity in Christ, enables us to remain in the vine, in Christ Jesus. We need Christ in order to be fruitful in the things of God.



“If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”


John 15:6 ESV



The consequences are dire apart from Jesus Christ.



“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the
Father loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”


John 15:7-9



The rewards are great if we abide in the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus says that for those who love Him, they will keep His word, and He and the Father will make their home with us. (John 14:23)


  • What is this fruit I am to bear?
    • The results of walking in obedience in love.
  • How am I to bear fruit?
    • By abiding in Christ with obedience in love.
  • How do I abide in Christ?
    • By following the admonition to add to my faith; the pattern for spiritual growth.
  • The result is the fullness of joy through communion with God.



“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and
that your joy may be full.”


John 15:10-11 ESV



  • His commandment for us is to love others as He has loved us.
  • A lot of growth is required on our part to truly fulfill that commandment.
  • But it is not good for me, and things will not end well for me, if I am lacking the qualities of which Peter speaks.



For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.


2 Peter 1:9 ESV



  • We need to remember from where we came and in whom we were forgiven and cleansed.
  • We are admonished by the word of God to continually seek growth and fruitfulness.



Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for
you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV



  • My hope: the great reward; the entrance into the eternal kingdom of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • For us, as for all disciples, Jesus is our example.
    • He acknowledges, in His own words, the necessity of intimate communion with Father and obedience in love.



“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent Me.”


John 5:30 ESV



So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”


John 5:19 ESV



  • Also see John 14:10; John 6:38; John 7:18.
  • We must learn the principles of God and apply them to our life.
  • We must learn to hear God and react in obedience in love.
  • We must learn to quiet ourselves before God, hearing Him accurately.
  • Then, like Jesus, we can do what we see the Father doing.


  • Beware of the futility of pride and arrogance.
    • As we have a reminder from John the Baptist:



John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”


John 3:27 ESV



  • Come Holy Spirit! You are welcome here!
    • Please teach us of Christ Jesus and the Father.
    • Please teach us the principles of God for our life.
    • Please lead us in the ways of God, and understanding of them.