Faith Results in Spiritual Growth - Knowledge
2 Pet. 1:5c
"Knowledge is power" so says Opie (Ron Howard) of The Andy Griffith Show. As we continue to consider all of these virtues we must add to our faith we realize the necessity of true growth in our spiritual life. It is a must. Do you find it interesting that we are commanded to add to our faith knowledge? It has been my experience that more than a few men and women in the church think that after obeying the Gospel continuing to learn is optional not mandatory. What does the Bible say?
Adding Knowledge Is A Requirement Not An Option
Let us return to the original commandment given the apostles found in Matthew 28:18-20; "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Jesus in His command laid down the principle of adding to your faith knowledge.
The Kind Of Knowledge Added Is Not An Option
While we have this passage before us we should take careful note that the kind of knowledge we add to our faith is very important. Jesus, our King said, "teaching them to observe ALL things I have commanded you." The kind of knowledge we add to our faith is all that Jesus commanded, nothing more, less or else. The kind of knowledge added to our faith is not opinion. The kind of knowledge added to our faith is not born of human tradition. The kind of knowledge added to our faith cannot come from creeds or a catechism. Consider this warning: "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house or greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds." (2 Jn. 9-11)
In Paul's second inspired letter to Timothy he wrote, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like a cancer." (2 Tim. 2:16-17a.) In order for Timothy, you, or me to study and rightly divide the truth we must gain knowledge. Without knowledge we can fall victim to vain babblings which spread and destroy like cancer. Neither of us can afford such an end!
The Value Of Knowledge
We often look to the apostles for our examples, as well we should. Paul in his letter to the saints in Christ at Philippi teaches us something about the value of knowledge as well as what we all must do in order to gain a proper knowledge of Christ Jesus. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:7-8) Paul before his conversion was the feared Saul of Tarsus. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law a Pharisee; concerning zeal persecuting the church; blameless according to the Law of Moses. He had a lot that was gain to him. Paul states he "..gave it all up." Some never succeed as a Christian because they never give up all their former religious beliefs, traditions, or worldly habits when they obey the Gospel of Christ.
Recall in Acts 15, "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'" The problem: they failed to give up all their religious traditions when they were baptized for the remission of their sins! The same thing happens today. Folks bring their denominational ideas and opinions with them and try to make them the doctrine of the New Testament Church! This will never work. A good example of this would be the celebration of Christmas as a holy day.
Why do you suppose one would want to do such a thing? In one word, VALUE. That's right value! Some put more value on their former religious traditions, those things mother and daddy believed in than they do the Gospel of Christ! Paul counted all things as rubbish or dung in order to gain Christ. Too, folks do not want to give up the things of this world in order to live successful Christian lives. "Do not love the world or the things in the world, If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (2 Jn. 2:15-17)
The inspired command is simple, easy to read and understand. Do not love the world or the things in the world. We can't love the world and maintain a love for our heavenly Father at the same time. Some who are reading this article are trying to love both and it is not working is it?! Jesus said, a couple of things along these lines it would do well to remember. First, we cannot serve God and mammon, (things of this world). Why? Jesus said you would love the one and hate the other. Do you want to argue with Jesus on that point? Second, Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." How do you know the difference between mammon, tradition, and Jesus commandments...? KNOWLEDGE!
Lack Of Knowledge Will Cost You Your Salvation
Do you find it curious that men and women who understand the value of knowledge are willing to say (and I believe they mean it) "Yes, I love Jesus...but in all honesty I don't know what the Bible teaches when it comes to the Gospel of Christ." Ignorance will cause you to be lost eternally. Please consider the following; "...and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." (2 Thess. 1:7-9) You can't obey what you don't know, can you.
So, dear reader, add to your faith, knowledge!
By Charles Nicks
From Expository Files 7.7; July 2000