This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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PSALM 139:1-3; 13-18.... O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off. [Matt. 9:4; John 2:24,25.] You sift and search out my path and my lying down, and You are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. [Heb. 4:13.] You have beset me and shut me in--behind and before, and You have laid Your hand upon me. Your [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high above me, I cannot reach it. . . .
13For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother's womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! [Ps. 40:5.] If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.
What a perfect description of how each of us began as a single cell in our mother’s womb that continued to multiply itself until we were formed into a complete human being; all guided by the DNA that God put in the egg of the mother and the sperm of the father that became that single cell. What a magnificent and marvelous God we have, and are privileged to know and to serve!
A true, effective and satisfying Christian life can only be lived by faith, trust and confidence in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and total commitment to Him, and how can we possibly hope to have confidence and be committed to Jesus unless we are convinced that we can completely rely upon Him and what He has declared. The Scriptures tell us "But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard?" (Rom 10:14) "So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself)" (Rom. 10:17).
It is only through a knowledge of Christ that we find the true answers to all of life’s perplexing problems – there’s no other completely reliable source! The more thoroughly we get to know the written Word (the Bible), the more intimately we get to know the Living Word – Christ Jesus our Lord. Read below what the apostle Peter has to say about the importance and value of having a correct knowledge of God and how we can acquire and retain it.
2 PETER 1:1-21.... SIMON PETER, a servant and apostle (special messenger) of Jesus Christ, to those who have received (obtained an equal privilege of) like precious faith with ourselves in and through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.
Just in these first four verses we find an astonishing amount of marvelous benefits that can be ours only through "[the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord"; this is ample reason for us to make every effort to get to know our Lord and God as throughly as possible. Peter illustrates the effort required by likening it to an exercise program whereby we exercise every part of our spiritual being to develop into a well-formed person in all aspects; this is not always something that we look forward to doing, but we do it every day because we know that it is needed.
I have a physical exercise program that involves every part of my body that I use every day, I also try to eat sensibly and get proper rest because I know if I don’t my body will deteriorate more quickly and lose the ability to function adequately. I don’t always look forward to using this program or enjoy it, but I do it because I have to if I want to function as I should; the same effort is required if we want to be spiritually fit.
The overwhelming privilege of faith and salvation in Christ, came not by our own doing, but in and through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (v1). The righteousness that He has and displayed by His perfect life in the flesh, He has chosen to give to all those who will repent, believe and take Him at His word, and trust and rely upon His promised provisions. These provisions when relied upon produce, in the believer, grace and peace when we gain a proper recognition of who Jesus is and what He accomplished and provided for us (v2). Repeatedly we are reminded that these blessed provisions are only available to us through Christ Jesus our Lord as we learn of Him, and by faith apply them to our lives!
Not only do we receive grace and peace, but also the power of God is released in our lives enabling us to escape from the moral corruption that we see all around us. All of these things become increasing ours as we discipline ourselves to learn more precisely about Him (v3). These then, are God’s ways and means of forming us into the very image of Christ (Rom.8:29). See also Rom. 6:1-7:6; 8:1- 4, 5-18; Gal. 2:19-21; Col. 3:1-5.
5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), and in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), and in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.
This spiritual exercise has some another wonderful benefits, it helps us to be productive, it aids us in understanding God more fully and it keeps us from being deceived by our enemy and falling into sinful practices.
10Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall. Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So I intend always to remind you about these things, although indeed you know them and are firm in the truth that [you] now [hold]. I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle (tent, body), to stir you up by way of remembrance, since I know that the laying aside of this body of mine will come speedily, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.
Peter emphasizes the need for us to continually remind ourselves of these truths because they are so very important to our spiritual well being, and the way to do that is through daily prayer and Bible reading. Thank God that He inspired the writers of the Bible to leave us this record of the marvelous works of God!
15Moreover, I will diligently endeavor [to see to it] that [even] after my departure (decease) you may be able at all times to call these things to mind. For we were not following cleverly devised stories when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (grandeur, authority of sovereign power). For when He was invested with honor and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight, we [actually] heard this voice borne out of heaven, for we were together with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises ( comes into being) in your hearts. [Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so--it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit.
We are to exercise our faith to develop the following characteristics; if we don’t we will become blind to the entrapments of sin, in danger of falling away, and will never get to know Jesus as we should – so the more consistent we are in our daily prayer and Bible study, the more joyful our relationship will be with our Lord. Here’s the exercise program:
There are seven qualities mentioned above that lead to our perfection, seven is the Biblical number for completion and love is the first and greatest commandment. These qualities progress from a lower or beginning state to a higher. Each step takes us a little higher and enables us to reach the next – knowledge about the consequences of a wrong course of action will enable us to control ourselves; self-control will make us more steadfast; steadfastness in well-doing will produce Godlikeness; as we become more like God we will display Christian love.
Therefore, we need to begin by remembering and trusting that we are workmen together with God, and accepting the premise that virtue or good qualities are not only desirable, but are commanded by God. Second, we will need to find out or gain knowledge about what godly characteristics are and how to acquire them. Third, we need to begin to apply them to our lives. Fourthly, we need to persevere in living by them. Fifthly, godlikeness will be the result of persistence. Sixthly, being more like God, we will have more patience and understanding with our fellow believers. Seventh and greatest of all, we will be enabled to experience and express the love of God. Then we learn a little more of the grace made available to us in Christ (1:2), and then we start all over again trusting the Holy Spirit to make this new glimpse of grace effective in our lives.
In Christ dwells all the wisdom, knowledge, and fullness of God (Col.2:3-15; Heb. 1:3), so there is plenty to learn about Christ when we come to Him as directed in Matthew chapter eleven. Therefore, when we learn a little something from Him, we then add it to our exercise program that God is using to form us into Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29). "For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]" (Eph. 2:10).
2 PETER 2:1-22.... But Also [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed. And in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with false (cunning) arguments. From of old the sentence [of condemnation] for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.
4For God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them to be kept there in pits of gloom till the judgment and their doom. And He spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven other persons, when He brought a flood upon the world of ungodly [people]. [Gen. 6-8; 1 Peter 3:20.] And He condemned to ruin and extinction the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ashes [and thus] set them forth as an example to those who would be ungodly; [Gen. 19:24.] And He rescued righteous Lot, greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless-- [Gen. 19:16,29.] for that just man, living [there] among them, tortured his righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds--
Take notice, Peter says just as there were false prophets and teachers among the nation of Israel there will also be some of the same, even in the first century Church, as there are in our own. They will bring in false, destructive doctrines and go to the extreme of denying and disowning the Lord Jesus Christ. They will exploit God’s people for their own benefit, and many will follow their corrupt and immoral ways. Because of them the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will be ridiculed, dishonored and made unattractive when in reality it is the most glorious offer ever extended to man. This is part of the reason that Peter is urging us to become more knowledgeable of God and His Word, so that we will not be taken in by false teaching or become one who spreads false teaching.
9Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom, and particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority. Presumptuous [and] daring [self-willed and self-loving creatures]! They scoff at and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling, whereas [even] angels, though superior in might and power, do not bring a defaming charge against them before the Lord.
12But these [people]! Like unreasoning beasts, mere creatures of instinct, born [only] to be captured and destroyed, railing at things of which they are ignorant, they shall utterly perish in their [own] corruption [in their destroying they shall surely be destroyed], being destined to receive [punishment as] the reward of [their] unrighteousness [suffering wrong as the hire for their wrongdoing]. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously and delicately]. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions and carousing together [even] as they feast with you. They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed), [they are] children of a curse [exposed to cursing]! Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness. [Num. 22:5,7.] But he was rebuked for his own transgression when a dumb beast of burden spoke with human voice and checked the prophet's madness. [Num. 22:21-31.]
17These are springs without water and mists driven along before a tempest, for whom is reserved forever the gloom of darkness. For uttering loud boasts of folly, they beguile and lure with lustful desires of the flesh those who are barely escaping from them who are wrongdoers. They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity and defilement--for by whatever anyone is made inferior or worse or is overcome, to that [person or thing] he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through [the full, personal] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them and are overcome, their last condition is worse [for them] than the first. For never to have obtained a [full, personal] knowledge of the way of righteousness would have been better for them than, having obtained [such knowledge], to turn back from the holy commandment which was [verbally] delivered to them. There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire. [Prov. 26:11.]
The warning could not be clearer, if we fail to live by the principles given in chapter one, we could find ourselves companions of these false prophets and teachers mentioned in this chapter two. Verse nine tells us that God knows how to rescue the godly out of temptation, but it is our responsibility to exercise ourselves unto godliness (1:6). Remember, this exercise of faith that develops all those wonderful qualities, is simply committing ourselves to the Lordship of Christ and trusting Him to provide the strength and ability to become what He wants us to be.
The world had to become extremely wicked before God sent the flood in Noah’s day to destroy all life, except those in the ark. God must have concluded that there was absolutely no way that a single individual could be turned from their wilful way, and so He sent judgement instead of extending mercy and grace. And Jesus has said that, "As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, [men] marrying and [women] being given in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away--so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24:37-39). But God is so desirous of the salvation of sinful souls that it is stated that Jesus, after He was crucified went to Hades to proclaim the Gospel to the people who died during the flood (1 Peter 3:18-20).
In the same way we should expect that before the judgement of the Tribulation period, the wickedness of man will become extreme, unrecoverable and unbearable – even though the Gospel will be preached during this time as well (see Revelation). Paul reminds us, "But understand this, that in the last days will come perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]" (2 Tim. 3:1).
It is very difficult to find a place of true worship today where the Gospel has not been compromised in some way – this is one of the marks of the Last Days, and we should be ready for it and not surprised and taken in by it. We don’t want to be like those mentioned above, or even be among them – the danger is too great! Therefore, we need to live in obedience to God, and follow His guidance for our lives provided by the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God!