Improving Your Faith With Character
"Iwill not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth" (2 Peter 1:12). To become established in the truth is to carefully study and thoroughly prove it, so that our faith is steadfast. However, faith alone does not assure our election to the high position we seek. We are developed in a world surrounded by many subtle and powerful spiritual foes (Ephesians 6).
In view of our warfare, the subtlety of our temptations, and the weakness of the flesh, Peter urges all diligence in cultivating the Christian graces listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7. These characteristics are the subject for this issue.
The opening article, "Adding to the Faith," a reprint from 1927, discusses our efforts working with God to put on the character of Jesus. Truth is given to us not merely for our intellects, but for sanctifying our hearts and lives.
"Victory through Virtue" highlights the importance of moral excellence that marks us separate from the world and its spirit. The world may approve these qualities, even if they oppose our faith.
"Knowledge" urges us to diligently study God’s Word, to discern the plan of God and to understand His works in our time. Many in our day become scoffers because they do not understand the progress of God’s plan.
"Practicing Self-Control" gives advice on maintaining our Christian life under the difficulties of life today. A follower of Jesus must guard against fleshly passions detracting from Christian kindness and gentleness.
"Perseverance" urges us to follow the diligent efforts of Moses, Paul and Jesus to carry out the work that God gave them to do.
"Godliness" is an echo from past director B. F. Hollister, discussing the benefits of life for God today and the future rewards for diligence in make our calling and election sure.
"Brotherly Kindness" looks at the Greek wordphiladelphia, discusses the efforts of Peter and Paul to unite Jewish and Gentile Christians, and encourages us to appreciate the diversity of the body of Christ today.
"Agape," considers the culminating characteristic for all who follow Jesus. God’s love is far above man. Christians should understand God’s love in order to express it to their brethren and to those in the world.
We hope this issue inspires each reader to keep the instructions and precepts of the Lord fresh in our minds, toward a more thorough effort to put on Christian graces. To be intellectually established in the faith is one thing, but to be established in Christian character and spiritual graces is quite another. Let us make every effort to add Christ likeness to our faith.