IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE: en de te gnosei:
(en) means "in connection with" the preceding.
gnosis? Obedience is the key.
Doing what you know to be true (ultimately only possible with the
enablement of the Spirit).
Gnosis involves a diligent study
and pursuit of truth in the Word of God and then a dutiful obedience to
that truth out of love for the one Who has made us partakers of His
SELF-CONTROL: ten egkrateian:
(Acts 24:25; 1Co 9:25-note;
Self Control - Gal 5:23-see
notes on this component of
the fruit of the
from en = in + kratos = power to rule
<> the stem krat- speaks of power or lordship) means
literally holding oneself in or the ability to take a grip of oneself.
This meaning is essentially that of a modern expression "Get a grip"
as the word does speak of the ability to get a grip on oneself, and as
discussed below was one the virtues highly regarded by the great secular
Greek writers such as Aristotle. Egkrateia has reference to restraining passions and
appetites. It points to the inner power to control one's own desires and
appetites, and in context is a fruit of "true knowledge"
[word study]). As with meekness, however, this grace
(self control) does not apply to
God, Who does not need to restrain Himself for everything He does is
perfectly righteous. In His incarnation
Christ was the epitome of self-control. He was never tempted or tricked
into doing or saying anything that was not consistent with His Father’s
will and His own divine nature.
Egkrateia refers to
self-control especially in the area of one's sexuality (although it by
no means is restricted to sexual desire) and the loss of sexual
self–control leads to the opposite effect which is immorality and
impurity. For example we find idea in secular Greek writings like
Xenophon (Mem.i.2, 1) speaking of Socrates, who was (egkratestatos)
most temperate as to sexual pleasures and pleasures of the
Here is a secular use of a word
related to egkrateia...
Philostratus, Gym. 25: The trainer
must know whether or not the young athlete is self-controlled or not,
ei egkratos kratos, if he is a drinker or a glutton; 52: “If
athletes have just yielded to the pleasures of Venus, it is better not
to exercise them. Are they perhaps men who will take shameful pleasure
rather than wreaths and the proclamations of heralds?”
The Theological Lexicon of the
NT says that egkrateia is
from kratos, “force”; the
enkrates is the person who is master of himself; the akrates is
the one who cannot contain himself, who is lacking in power. From the
time of Socrates, who made enkrateia the basis and foundation of all the
virtues, and Aristotle, who distinguished between the perfectly chaste
person who knows no impure desires (sophron) and the continent person
(enkrates) who feels their power but resists them (Eth. Nic. 7.1–11; pp.
1145a–1152a), this control over impulses and this tempering of the
passions are considered among the Greeks as an element of
prudence-temperance (sophrosune), and consequently an essential virtue
for the honest person.
The people of the end-times will not
have it (2Ti3:3-note,
akrates ); it is not so much that they lead a dissolute life, but
rather that they cannot control themselves, and so they no longer act as
human beings—they are amoral beings.
In the first century ad, self-control
is especially a virtue of the religious, who master their passions, and
of the leader, who cannot direct others unless he is sui compos.
According to Onasander 1.2–3, the first quality of a good general is to
be sophron (so as not to be distracted from duty by sensual pleasures)
and enkrates, because slavery to the passions would cause him to
lose all authority.
Among the Essenes, the candidate had
to supply evidence of his temperance during a trial period (Josephus,
War 2.138; cf. 120: “These men hold temperance and restraint of the
passions to be virtues”). It is through temperance that the worshipers
of Isis reached God (Plutarch, De Is. et Os. 2), as also the magi and
Brahmins (Dio Chrysostom, Or. 49.7; cf. Hippolytus, Haer. 1.24.1–4) or
the Egyptian priests after the model of Cheremon (Porphyry, Abst. 4.6–8;
cf. A. J. Festugière, Hermès Trismégiste, vol. 1, pp. 30ff.).
(Spicq, C., & Ernest, J. D.
Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. 1:60. Peabody, MA.:
NIDNTT says that...
egkrateia denotes more the power and
control one has over oneself, whereas sophrosyne (in classic Greek. one
of the four cardinal virtues) describes more strongly the proper
moderation which does not overstep the set limits. egkrateia and
egkratës contain the root krat- which means power or control. egkratës
accordingly denotes a man who has power in the physical or intellectual
sense (the opposite being akrates). egkrateia is also used absolutely of
having power over oneself. It then means self-control in the sense of
perseverance, steadfastness or restraint with reference to sexual
matters (the opposite being akrasia).
The idea of egkrateia is
first introduced into ethics by Socrates as one of the chief virtues
(cf. Xen., Mem. 1, 54). Plato and Aristotle adopted it in turn. For
Plato egkrateia, the control of the sensual drives, is basically a
popular expression for sophrosune (cf. Phaedr., 256b; Rep., 403e).
According to Aristotle, the one who is egkrates has strong desires but
is able to suppress them, whereas the one who is sophron is elevated
above all such fierce drives (Magna Moralia, 2, 6, 1203b 13 ff.).
Among the Stoics (Stoicism),
egkrateia was taken as a sign of human freedom. It was part of
being truly human to moderate one’s desires, particularly one’s sexual
drive and enjoyment of food and drink. The Neo-Pythagoreans developed a
dualistic system: the body must be kept in check through asceticism, so
that the soul may rise to God. In making one fit for cultic worship,
asceticism also played a large part in the ancient world (Pure, art.
aJgnov"). Philo praised egkrateia as transcendence over one’s desires
and passions (Spec.Leg., 1, 149, 173; 2, 195; 4, 112). The Essenes at
the time of Jesus are known to have recommended celibacy, and also to
have lived ascetically in various other ways, e.g. in regard to
possessions, food and vigils (Josephus, War, 2, 120, 138, 150; cf. H.
Ringgren, The Faith of Qumran, 1963, 139 f., 237 f.). (See further W.
Grundmann, TDNT II 340 f.)
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Wuest says that
holding the passions and desires in
hand. The word was used of the virtue of one who masters his desires and
passions, especially his sensual appetites. The Greeks used it of the
one who had his sex passions under control. The papyri (Moulton and
Milligan) quote the phrase, “a trusty dispenser of continence.” One can
see what a blessing the fruit of the Spirit is when it provides the
saint with a mastery of his sex passions (Ga 5:23, temperance,
The Christian is a free moral
agent, not a machine, and is expected by God to exercise self-control by
a free act of his will, doing this however in the energy which the Holy
Spirit supplies to the yielded Christian. It is a happy combination and
interworking of the free will of the believer and the grace of God.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
MacArthur writes that
was used of athletes who sought
self-discipline and self-restraint, even beating their bodies into
submission (cf. 1Co 9:27). They would also abstain from rich foods,
wine, and sexual activity in order to focus all their strength and
attention on their training regimen. False theology (such as that
propounded by the heretics of Peter’s day and discussed in chapters 2
and 3) inevitably divorces faith from conduct because it cannot deliver
the soul from sin’s harmful effects and forces its followers to battle
for self-control on their own and indulge their lusts (cf. 1Ti 6:3, 4,
5; 2Ti 2:14, 16, 17, 18, 19; 1Jn 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Jude 16, 17, 18,
J: 2 Peter And Jude. Moody
Egkrateia is used
only 3 times in the NT (Acts 24:25; Gal 5:23; 2Pe 1:6 - no uses in the
and is translated temperance in the KJV and self-control in the NASB.
Egkrateia points to
an inner power to control one's old desires and cravings (Jas 1:14-note) inherited from
Adam (Ro 5:12-note).
Sometimes saints forget that even though they have been crucified with
Christ (Ga 2:20-note;
Ro 6:6-note) and are dead to the power of
Sin in their life
(Ro 6:11-), the old desires are still latent and able to be activated in
our mortal bodies as Paul clearly taught writing...
imperative) by the Spirit
and you will not carry out the desire of the
cf Ro 6:12, 13-note
where the command to not let
reign implies that it will still try to
reign as king if we let it.)
Observe: (1) The old
still an active force the believer must learn to contend with (see
Piper's depiction of the flesh as a dragon). (2) Paul
outlines the plan for victory over the flesh in this verse: (a)
First submit to
the Spirit's control and empowerment. This is not a suggestion but a
command and calls for a
dependence that the believer never outgrows no matter how old we are in
Christ! (b) And when we yield to the Spirit we will not submit to the flesh.
Caution: Don't "reverse" the
order- don't first "try" not to do the things your old
flesh is tempting you to carry out (Jas 1:14-note),
thinking that if you subdue the flesh you are thereby "walking by the
Spirit." Paul stated Spirit first for a reason. If you try to suppress
the flesh it is a subtle (or overt depending on what you do) form of
legalism and places you under the law which will only arouse the flesh
(See Ro 7:5-note).
William Barclay writes
Aristotle distinguishes four states
in life. There is sophrosune, in which passion has been entirely
subjugated to reason; we might call it perfect temperance. There is
akolasia, which is the precise opposite; it is the state in which
reason is entirely subjugated to passion; we might call it unbridled
lust. In between these two states there is akrasia, in which
reason fights but passion prevails; we might call it incontinence. There
is egkrateia, in which reason fights against passion and
prevails; we call it self-control, or self-mastery. Egkrateia is
one of the great Christian virtues; and the place it holds is an example
of the realism of the Christian ethic. That ethic does not contemplate a
situation in which a man is emasculated of all passion; it envisages a
situation in which his passions remain, but are under perfect control
and so become his servants, not his tyrants...
Plato uses egkrateia of
self-mastery. It is the spirit which has mastered its desires and its
love of pleasure. It is used of the athlete’s discipline of his body
(1Co 9:25 - uses the verbal form egkrateuomai) and of the
Christian’s mastery of sex (1Co 7:9 -uses the verbal form
egkrateuomai). Secular Greek uses it of the virtue of an Emperor
who never lets his private interests influence the government of his
people. It is the virtue which makes a man so master of himself that he
is fit to be the servant of others. It was Paul’s belief and experience
that the Christian died with Christ and rose again to a life, new and
clean, in which the evil things of the old self were gone and the lovely
things of the Spirit had come to fruition.
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
1. This group takes its sense from
the stem krat- denoting power or lordship. Thus enkrates means “having
power over all things and the self,” enkrateia means “dominion over the
self or something,” with the nuances of “steadfastness” and
“self-control” (opposite akrasia), and enkrateuesthai means “to compose
2. enkrateia is an important term in philosophical ethics. Socrates
regards it as a cardinal virtue, and Aristotle and the Stoics discuss it
fully, though the latter subordinate it to sophrosune. The idea is that
of people who freely control all things, maintaining freedom in
3. Philo has a high regard for enkrateia as superiority expressed in
self-restraint. He links it to an asceticism deriving from dualism. The
Essenes, too, value it highly, and it has religious significance in the
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
The Greek word egkrateia
has the idea of to get a grip on one's self and one's passions! Many of
the early Christian heresies taught that since the body was evil (they
claimed) it was not necessary to curb fleshly lusts, only to think
The writer of proverbs addresses
this issue of "self control" writing that
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he
who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city. (Pr 16:32)
Paul uses egkrateia in his
appearance before Felix, and in this context apparently referring to
self–control in the area of sex. When Paul spoke before Felix and his
self–control and the
judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the
present, and when I find time, I will summon you’ (Acts
Comment: Felix had stolen Drusilla from her
former husband and was therefore living with her in an adulterous
relationship. The sexual self–control of which Paul spoke pertained to
lustful passion and Felix understood what Paul was saying. The message to the governor was
that he was living contrary to God’s righteousness by refusing to
discipline his sexual desire, and thus was subject to God’s
In Galatians Paul writing of the
fruit of the Holy Spirit says that there is no law" against "gentleness,
self-control" (Gal 5:23-note)
Plato uses egkrateia
to refer to self-mastery. It is the spirit which has mastered its
desires and its love of pleasure. Secular Greek uses egkrateia
of the virtue of an Emperor who never lets his private interests
influence the government of his people. It is the virtue which makes a
man so master of himself that he is fit to be the servant of others.
In Peter’s day, self-control
was used of athletes who were to be self-restrained and self-disciplined
and was crucial to victory in the intense competition of the Olympic
Games. Greeks used this term especially to describe one who had his
sexual passions under control, but the NT extends the meaning to all
areas of life where the discernment between good and evil is important
(cf 1Th 5:21, 22).
Socrates regarded it as a
cardinal virtue and Philo described it as superiority expressed in
self-restraint. A Christian is to control the flesh, the passions,
and the bodily desires, rather than allowing himself to be controlled by
them (1Co 9:24,25, 26, 27).
It is critical to understand that self-control
is not a legalistic abstinence, but is an attitude only possible by divine enablement.
Now because believers are partakers of the divine
nature (2Pe 1:4), as our we learn to submit to the Spirit (the
fruit of the
- Ga 5:22-note;
He empowers us to bear the fruit of self control when we are tempted to
commit sin. The believer manifests an exemplary life on the outside because he
has chosen to yield to the Spirit’s control on the inside.
means mastering one’s emotions
rather than being controlled by them. Lack of self control played
a significant role in shameful, dishonorable deeds of the false teachers Peter exposes
Chapter 2. Their claims to "liberty" led to
licentiousness (cp Jude 1:4) rather than life as it was meant to be
lived. These men instead
of exhibiting self control were controlled by self, and
self's sensuality, greed and fleshly
desires. These false teachers believed and taught the damning lie that knowledge freed
people from the need to control their passions. Peter stamps as false
any "spiritual" doctrine or system that claims that knowledge
emancipates men from the obligations of morality. Biblical Christianity
says that freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the power to
do as you should!
quotes Barnett on the interrelationship among these traits
Where virtue (moral excellence) guided by knowledge, disciplines desire
and makes it the servant instead of the master of life, self-control may
be said to supplement faith.
The OT gives a dramatic picture of
where Solomon writes
Like a city that is broken into
and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit. (Pr 25:28)
Comment: The city states of those days were walled for protection from marauders.
No wall meant no protection. No self control
by analogy means one is wide open to attack from
devil! Such a
person is an easy victim when
attacked by strong desires and impulses.
This begs the question -- Are
there any breeches in the walls guarding your heart? Men, is there
anything you are watching that is questionable?
(cp Ro 13:14-note)
Remember that when you take time off
from "disciplining yourself for godliness" (1Ti 4:7, 8-note)
for several weeks you don't just remain static spiritually...just as
cessation of physical exercise results in loss of muscle mass, endurance
level, readiness level so too the same thing occurs in the spiritual
realm. And when you start re-training you're a little sore at first and
you definitely aren't at the spiritual level you were at when you took a
break. The longer you resist the Holy Spirit, the more difficult it
becomes to return to where you should be.
John Blanchard has the
following quotes on self control (from his excellent resource The
Complete Gathered Gold (if you are a pastor looking for excellent
quotes, this is the best one I've found to date)...
Never expect to govern others until
you have learned to govern yourself.-Anon.
Conquer yourself and you have conquered the world.-Augustine
It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus without giving diligent
attention in our lives to the grace of self-control.-Jerry Bridges
There is a form of self-control that says 'yes' to what we should do as
well as that which says 'no' to what we shouldn't do.-Jerry Bridges
The beginning of self-mastery is to be mastered by Christ, to yield to
his lordship.-D. G. Kehl
True spiritual self-discipline holds believers in bounds but never in
bonds; its effect is to enlarge, expand and liberate.-D. G. Kehl
The man who disciplines himself stands out and has the mark of greatness
upon him. -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
No man is free who cannot command himself.-Pythagoras
Complete Gathered Gold A Treasury of Quotations for Christians -
Recommended Resource for excellent Christian
quotes - the best in my opinion)
Wayne Barber discusses
that this self-control arises from and is accompanied by
our knowledge which comes out of obedience to the Word of God. It
comes right out of that faith that God gives us. The definition of
self control means to be able to hold one's self in. 1Co 9:25 Paul
is talking about an athlete and how he has to have self-control
(Ed Note: not egkrateia but the related verb egkrateuomai) ("And
everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control
in all things..." ) This would include control over his
appetite, his temper, his schedule (an athlete needs priorities or
he will become undisciplined). If you wanted to play on the
basketball team in college, you had to have discipline or
self-control. Remember that the definite article ("the" in
the Greek) is before each godly characteristic so Peter is talking
about the self-control, the very self-control and
self-restraint that Jesus had, even as He Himself was tempted as
all men are. And yet He gives us access to that same self-control!
So that's where the analogy breaks down...it's not human
energized self-control Peter is talking about but that which
is available by faith (obedience) from Christ in us. The Christian
ought to have control over his appetite." Wayne goes on to make
the point that when he is in the Word of God, he is a controlled
person. "How many diets have you been on? You lose some but then
you gain it right back. Remember that Scripture repeatedly links
idolatry and immorality (Nu25:1,2). Immorality and a person with
an uncontrolled appetite is closely related all the way through
Scripture. Believers because of Christ within them, possess the
potential to control our temper, to exercise control over our
desires, the power to say "no", the power to set godly priorities,
the power within us so that we can turn off the television so that
we can go to bed early so that we can arise early to be fresh with
God in the AM, the self control to get out of bed in the morning
to be alone with God, etc. And all of this self-discipline comes
out of our faith. We don't have to go to a course or read a book
on how to become self-disciplined! That discipline is within us
and if we are diligent to see results, then we will see God work
it out in our life and move us into His victory." (Bolding added)
For additional insights on this issue
of self control, you might want to read John Piper article entitled "Fierce Fruit of Self-Control"
Barnes writes that temperance
or self control...
means, properly, self-control,
continence. It is derived from en and kratos, strength; and has
reference to the power or ascendancy which we have over exciting and
evil passions of all kinds. It denotes the self-rule which a man has
over the evil propensities of his nature. Our word temperance we
use now in a much more limited sense, as referring mainly to abstinence
from intoxicating drinks. But the word here used is employed in a much
more extended signification. It includes the dominion over all evil
propensities; and may denote continence, chastity, self-government,
moderation in regard to all indulgences, as well as abstinence from
intoxicating drinks. The sense in Gal 5:16 is that the influences of the
Holy Spirit on the heart make a man moderate in all indulgences; teach
him to restrain his passions, and to govern himself; to control his evil
propensities, and to subdue all inordinate affection. The Christian will
not only abstain from intoxicating drinks, but from all exciting
passions; he will be temperate in his manner of living, and in the
government of his temper. This may be applied to temperance properly so
called with us; but it should not be limited to that. A Christian must
be a temperate man; and if the effect of his religion is not to produce
this, it is false and vain. Abstinence from intoxicating drinks, as well
as from all improper excitement, is demanded by the very genius of his
religion; and on this subject there is no danger of drawing the cords
too close....other things being equal, he is the most under the
influence of the Spirit of God who is the most thoroughly a man of
temperance (self control). (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
Vine writes that the term...
self-control is to be
preferred because temperance has been limited in modern times to
self-control in a particular direction, whereas enkrateia is
self-control in all things; it is the responsibility that attaches to a
creature with a will, or power to choose his own course. God in His
wisdom has endowed man richly in many directions, and each of his powers
is necessarily capable of abuse as well as of use. The right use of this
endowment demands the exercise of the will, and this is called
self-control; see Acts 24:25 (where “righteousness” = the claims of God
upon man, “self-control” = the responsibility of man to respond to those
claims, “the judgment to come” = the inevitable day of account, when God
shall call upon man to answer for his failure to respond to the divine
claims). For man, trusting to his own wisdom and strength, has failed in
this as in all other items of the list (referring to Gal 5:22, 23),
which, therefore, are possible only as men become the subjects of the
operations of the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. Self-control
follows knowledge in Peter’s catalogue, 2Peter 1:6, as though to
suggest that what the Christian learns he is responsible to put into
practice, for the operation of the Spirit in the believer demands the
cooperation of the believer himself; only in him who submits to be led
by the Spirit can the fruit of the Spirit be borne.
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
SELF-CONTROL PERSEVERANCE: en de te egkrateia ten hupomonen: (Ps
37:7; Lk 8:15; 21:19; Ro 2:7; 5:3,4; 8:25; 15:4; 2Co 6:4; Col 1:11; 1Th
1:3; 2Th 1:4; 3:5; Heb 6:12,15; 10:36; 12:1; Jas 1:3,4; 5:7, 8, 9, 10;
Re 1:9; 2:2; 13:10; 14:12)
(See Torrey's Topic "Patience")
= under + meno = stay, remain, abide) literally means
abiding under. The root idea of hupomone is to
remain under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something
which demands the submission of one's will to something against which
one naturally would rebel. It portrays a picture
of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and
describes that quality of character which does not allow one to
surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. The picture is that
of steadfastness, constancy and endurance. It has in it a forward
look, the ability to focus on what is beyond the current pressures (eg
"Who for the joy set before Him
endured [verb form hupomeno]
the Cross despising the shame" see notes on
And so hupomone does not describe a grim resignation or a passive "grin
and bear" attitude but a triumphant facing of difficult circumstances
knowing that even out of evil God guarantees good. It is courageous
gallantry which accepts suffering and hardship and turns them into grace
Hupomone is used 32
times in the NASB and is translated: endurance, 7; patient enduring, 1;
perseverance, 21; steadfastness, 3.
Luke 8:15 "And the seed in the
good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and
good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Comment: What is needed in
order to bear fruit in the Christian life? Where is the power for such
perseverance? The indwelling Spirit is our Source, not self effort!
Luke 21:19 "By your
endurance you will gain your lives.
Comment: This could be misinterpreted
to mean that our self efforts merit salvation of our souls. No. The fact
that we endure to the end indicates we are genuinely saved! We have in
the indwelling Spirit, Who alone can enable such an endurance.
Romans 2:7 (note)
to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and
honor and immortality, eternal life;
Comment: This could also be
misinterpreted to mean that our self efforts we merit salvation but
like above, our perseverance in doing good indicates we are genuinely
saved! We have in the indwelling Spirit, Who alone can enable such an
good deeds (cp John 15:5).
Romans 5:3 (note)
And not only this (What? Ro 5:1-2!), but we also exult (rejoice - try
this in your own strength! This is a supernatural, Spirit enabled
response) in our tribulations (pressing, even crushing circumstances or
life events), knowing that
tribulation brings about perseverance; (cp James 1:2-6, 2Cor
Romans 5:4 (note)
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Romans 8:25 (note)
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait
eagerly for it.
Romans 15:4 (note)
For whatever was written in earlier times (refers to the Old Testament) was written for our
instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of
the Scriptures (refers primarily to the Old Testament) we might have hope.
Comment: This truth begs the
question -- are you studying the OT (not just quickly flying through in
your through the Bible in a year program)?
Romans 15:5 (note)
Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant
you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
2 Corinthians 1:6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort
and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is
effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings
which we also suffer;
2 Corinthians 6:4 but in everything commending ourselves as
servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships,
2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed
among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and
Colossians 1:11 (note)
strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the
attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (note) constantly
bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and
steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of
our God and Father
Comment: Hope is absolute assurance
that God will do good to me in the future. It follows that focusing
upward, on the eternal things to come, will cultivate and grow our hope
and this eternal perpective in turn will allow us to bear up under
whatever temporal, passing load God allows/sends our way!
2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you
among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the
midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 And may the Lord direct your hearts into the
love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.
1 Timothy 6:11-note But flee from these things, you man of God; and
pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and
2 Timothy 3:10 (note) But
you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love,
Titus 2:2 (note)
Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in
faith, in love, in perseverance.
Hebrews 10:36 (note)
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the
will of God, you may receive what was promised.
Hebrews 12:1 (note) Therefore,
since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also
lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
James 1:3-note knowing that the testing of your faith produces
endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect
result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 5:11 Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have
heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the
Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
2 Peter 1:6 (note)
and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control,
perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness;
Revelation 1:9 (note) I,
John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom
and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called
Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 2:2 (note) 'I
know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you
cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call
themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
Revelation 2:3 (note) and
you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and
have not grown weary.
Revelation 2:19 (note)
'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service
and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at
Revelation 3:10 (note)
'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will
keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon
the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.
Revelation 13:10 (note)
If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone
kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the
perseverance and the faith of the saints.
Revelation 14:12 (note) Here
is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of
God and their faith in Jesus.
Hupomone is found 9 times in the
(1 Chr. 29:15; Ezr. 10:2; Job 14:19; Ps. 9:18; 39:7; 62:5; 71:5; Jer.
Hupomone is the ability to endure when circumstances are
difficult - not a passive sitting down and bearing things but a
triumphant facing of them so that even out of evil there can come good,
a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies our heavenly Father.
difficulties in our lives,
The obstacles we face,
Give God the opportunity
To show His power and grace.
We need to distinguish another
closely related Greek word
makrothumia [word study] (makro =
long + thumos = temper), literally "long-temper" or the idea of a
"long fuse" before it explodes. It is a long holding out of the mind
before it gives room to passion. Although there is some overlap in
meanings, in general, makrothumia has to do more with difficult
people than with difficult circumstances. Hupomone has to do with
the circumstances of life (trials, difficulties, hardships)
Paul explains that the source of a
believer's perseverance in his prayer for the Colossians that they be
voice = literally
being strengthened = the effect comes from an outside source, ie,
the grace God supplies) with
according to His glorious might (kratos),
for the attaining of all
and patience (makrothumia);
joyously (Col 1:11-note)
(Note the "all's")
The point is that both the
steadfastness and the patience called for in the life of a believer
cannot be lived in the sphere of mere human strength but requires His
(supernatural) strength. Therefore Paul prays that the believers might
know the power of the risen Son of God ("resurrection power fill us this
hour"). Note that from this text, there is no power shortage because it
is "according to (not a portion of but proportional to) His glorious
might". In other words, His power available to us to remain steadfast
and be patient offers limitless power. As Peake writes:
The equipment with power is
proportional not simply to the recipient’s need, but to the Divine
supply. (Peake, A S: Colossians: The Expositor’s Greek Testament,
Perseverance is that spiritual staying power that will die
before it gives in. It is the virtue which can endure, not simply with
resignation, but with a vibrant hope.
doing what is right and never giving in to the temptation or trial.
It is a conquering patience or conquering endurance. Hupomone
is the ability to deal triumphantly with anything that life can do to
us. It accepts the blows of life but in accepting them transforms them
into stepping stones to new achievement.
Self-control has to do
with handling the pleasures of life, while
relates to the pressures and problems of
Hupomone describes that
spirit which remains under (hupo = under +
meno = remain) trials in a God-honoring way so as to learn the lesson
they are sent to teach, rather than attempt to get out from under them
in an effort to be relieved of their pressure.
adds that perseverance
fosters the ability to
withstand the two Satanic agencies of opposition from the world without
and enticement from the flesh within. This quality was especially
important in view of those who doubted Christ's return because of its
seeming delay. (2Pe 3:4-note).
Morris says hupomone
is the attitude of the soldier who in
the thick of battle is not dismayed but fights on stoutly whatever the
Thayer says that hupomone is
the characteristic of a man who is
unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety
by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
Trench says that hupomone
does not mark merely endurance, or even patience, but the
perseverance, the brave patience with which the Christian contends
against the various hindrances, persecutions, and temptations that
befall him in his conflict with the inward and outward world.” He
adds that hupomone is "that temper of spirit in which
we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without
disputing or resisting.
(Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament)
Barclay writes that hupomone
does not mean...
patience which sits down and accepts things but the patience which
masters them. It is not some romantic thing which lends us wings
to fly over the difficulties and the hard places. It is a
determination, unhurrying and yet undelaying, which goes steadily
on and refuses to be deflected. Obstacles do not daunt it and
discouragements do not take its hope away. It is the steadfast
endurance which carries on until in the end it gets there.
(Hupomone) means the spirit which can
overcome the world; it means the spirit which does not passively
endure but which actively overcomes the trials and tribulations of
life. When Beethoven was threatened with deafness, that most
terrible of troubles for a musician, he said: “I will take life
by the throat.” That is hupomonē. When Scott was involved in ruin
because of the bankruptcy of his publishers, he said: “No man
will say ‘Poor fellow!’ to me; my own right hand will pay the
debt.” That is hupomone. Someone once said to a gallant soul who
was undergoing a great sorrow: “Sorrow fairly colours life,
doesn’t it?” Back came the reply: “Yes! And I propose to choose
the colour!” That is hupomonē...when we meet
life with the hupomonē which Christ can give, the colour of
life is never grey or black; it is always tinged with glory. Hupomonē is not the spirit which
lies down and lets the floods go over it; it is the spirit which
meets things breast forward and overcomes them.
(Hupomone) is the triumphant adequacy
which can cope with life; it is the strength which does not only
accept things, but which, in accepting them, transmutes them into
Hupomonē is not simply the ability to
bear things; it is the ability to turn them to greatness and to
glory. The thing which amazed the heathen in the centuries of
persecution was that the martyrs did not die grimly, they died
singing. One smiled in the flames; they asked him what he found to
smile at there. “I saw the glory of God,” he said, “and was
glad.” Hupomonē is the quality which makes a man able, not simply
to suffer things, but to vanquish them. The effect of testing
rightly borne is strength to bear still more and to conquer in
still harder battles.
The word used of (Job in James 5:11 "Behold,
we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the
endurance (hupomone) of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's
dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.")
is that great New Testament word hupomonē, which describes, not a
passive patience, but that gallant spirit which can breast the
tides of doubt and sorrow and disaster and come out with faith
still stronger on the other side. There may be a faith which never
complained or questioned; but still greater is the faith which was
tortured by questions and still believed. It was the faith which
held grimly on that came out on the other side, for “the Lord
blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).
There will be moments in life when we think that God has
forgotten, but if we cling to the remnants of faith, at the end
we, too, shall see that God is very kind and very merciful.
Chrysostom called hupomonē “The
Queen of the Virtues.” In the Authorized Version it is usually
translated patience; but patience is too passive a word. Hupomonē
has always a background of courage. Cicero defines patientia, its
Latin equivalent, as: “The voluntary and daily suffering of hard
and difficult things, for the sake of honour and usefulness.”
Didymus of Alexandria writes on the temper of Job: “It is not
that the righteous man must be without feeling, although he must
patiently bear the things which afflict him; but it is true virtue
when a man deeply feels the things he toils against, but
nevertheless despises sorrows for the sake of God.”...That is
hupomone, Christian steadfastness. It is the courageous acceptance
of everything that life can do to us and the transmuting of even
the worst event into another step on the upward way.
The keynote of hupomone is
not grim, bleak acceptance of trouble but triumph. It describes
the spirit which can not only accept suffering but triumph over
it....As the silver comes purer from the fire, so the Christian
can emerge finer and stronger from hard days. The Christian is the
athlete of God whose spiritual muscles become stronger from the
discipline of difficulties.
(Hupomone) does not describe the
frame of mind which can sit down with folded hands and bowed head
and let a torrent of troubles sweep over it in passive
resignation. It describes the ability to bear things in such a
triumphant way that it transfigures them. Chrysostom has a great
panegyric on this hupomone. He calls it “the root of all
goods, the mother of piety, the fruit that never withers, a
fortress that is never taken, a harbour that knows no storms” and
“the queen of virtues, the foundation of right actions, peace in
war, calm in tempest, security in plots.” It is the courageous
and triumphant ability to pass the breaking-point and not to break
and always to greet the unseen with a cheer. It is the alchemy
which transmutes tribulation into strength and glory.
Hupomonē never means simply the
ability to sit down and bear things but the ability to rise up and
conquer them. God is He who gives us the power to use any
experience to lend greatness and glory to life. God is He in whom
we learn to use joy and sorrow, success and failure, achievement
and disappointment alike, to enrich and to ennoble life, to make
us more useful to others and to bring us nearer to himself.
(Hupomone) is victorious
endurance. “It is unswerving constancy to faith and piety in
spite of adversity and suffering.” It is the virtue which does
not so much accept the experiences of life as conquers them. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The
Perseverance is not something that develops automatically;
we must work at it. James (Ja 1:2-8)
provides the template we need to follow, writing we must
it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let
endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing."
Amy Carmichael in
Candles in the Dark
The best training is to learn to
accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The
tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written
up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things
you are ashamed of minding (at all). Yet they can knock a strong man
over and lay him very low.
Writing to the Thessalonians Paul
commends them for their
steadfastness of hope in our Lord
Jesus Christ (see note
So here we see that steadfastness (hupomone) is
related to hope (remembering that Christian hope is different
from the world's hope for our hope reflects an absolute certainty of
future good and is manifest by a desire of some good with the
expectation of obtaining it). What is the source of their steadfastness?
The context clearly teaches it is "in our Lord Jesus Christ" In
we find that the Thessalonian believers are expectantly waiting for Jesus which is a clear
manifestation of their steadfastness even in the face of persecution as
a result of their valiant stand for Christ. No cracks had appeared in
what Phillips calls their “sheer dogged endurance.” And so we are
enabled to endure when we fix our hope completely on Christ Jesus, Who is our
eternal Hope. Paul explains this same truth and association between hope
and perseverance to the Romans writing
if we hope for what we do not
see, with perseverance (hupomone) we wait eagerly for it. (Ro
In other words we know that we will delivered from the presence of sin
and its awful consequences (this is our sure hope) because of the
precious and magnificent promises of God and because this truth is as
certain as if we had already received it (our future glorification),
this renewed mindset gives us the Spirit wrought inner strength to
hupomone or bear up under our present difficult circumstances.
Beloved, what are you bearing up under today? As I write I am heavily
burdened but greatly encouraged by the truths about hupomeno. You too be
encouraged dear persevering saint.
Here is a powerful secular
illustration of the meaning of perseverance:
Sir Winston Churchill was invited
back to his alma mater, Harrow, to address the students near the end of
his storied life of public service, which included guiding Britain
through her darkest and finest hours. When the five-foot, five-inch
bulldog of a man took the platform, everyone waited breathlessly upon
his words—and they would never forget what they heard:
“Young gentlemen, never give up.
Never give up.
Never give up!
Never! Never! Never!”
With that Churchill sat down. That's
what Peter is calling believers to diligently live out in their faith.
Are you about to give up beloved? Don't do it! Never give up! Never!
Never! Never! He Who promised is faithful to fulfill His promise that He
would never, ever, no never leave you nor forsake you. The Christian
life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Over the years we have been
repeatedly saddened by acquaintances who did not persevere and who
dropped by the wayside of this world.
The writer of Hebrews charges us that
in view of the fact that in Hebrews 11,
"we have so great a cloud of
witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and
the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance (hupomone) the
race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." (He 12:1,
2, -see notes
Commenting on this verse George
Matheson wrote that
commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as
the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience
that I believe to be harder—the patience that can run. To lie down in
the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune,
implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a
strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a
great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your
spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christlike thing! The
hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience,
not in the sickbed but in the street.” To wait is hard, to do it with
“good courage” is harder!" As one author has wisely noted
regarding perseverance, "it is important to make “the Perseverance of
the Saviour” our watchword rather than “the Perseverance of the saint.”
Keep this thought in mind as you read
the following true illustration...
RUN WITH ENDURANCE - In 1992 the Summer Olympic Games were held
in Barcelona, Spain. One of the runners in the 400-meter race was
an English athlete named Derek Redmond. He had trained for years
to compete in the Olympics. But while sprinting in a qualifying
heat, he suddenly pulled a hamstring and crumpled to the track in
pain. Determined to go on, Derek struggled to his feet. He was
hobbling toward the finish line when his father scaled the
retaining wall and jumped onto the track. Before anyone could stop
him, Jim Redmond reached his son. The young runner leaned on his
father's shoulder as he staggered to complete the race. The entire
crowd stood and cheered the two men on. When they crossed the
finish line, it was as if the runner, his father, and the
spectators had done it together. The writer of Hebrews encourages
us to run the race of faith and persevere to the end, following
the example of those who have gone before us. It takes all of our
spiritual stamina to complete it, but we don't run the course
alone. Christ Himself helps us toward the finish line. Therefore,
"let us lay aside every weight, and . . . run with endurance the
race that is set before us" (Heb 12:1).
We need to expect and even exult in trials, because without trials we could never
learn patience. Paul explains that
through (Christ) also we
have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we
stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but
we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation
brings about perseverance; (hupomone) and perseverance,
proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not
disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our
hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (see notes
Trials put the pressure on us and
what comes out of us in these times of pressure prove what is in
us...either flesh or Spirit. As a boxer engages in bout after
bout, he toughens and becomes wiser and stronger. After a time he
develops such fortitude, perseverance and staying power that he can take
on the best. There is no way a fighter, or any of us, can develop
toughness without trials!
Perseverance relates to
the other qualities because in all the others we must keep on keeping
on. Is there an area of your life in which you are failing to persevere?
Perseverance is a critical Christian virtue. Unless we have patience, we
can never learn many of the truths that God wants us to learn, truths
that will lead us into a deeper life (think of our spiritual roots going
deeper into Christ in the
here for schematic of a believer rooted in Christ and bearing
fruit) and a more fruitful
ministry. The KEY is learning to walk in that potential "energy" you
already possess because of Christ in you (Col 1:27-note).
When you begin to discover who you are in Christ and that you have
everything you need for life and godliness (2Pe 1:3-note), it takes away the
excuse you've used all these years for living carnally. When you use the
empty excuse 'I'm only human', you are showing your ignorance of Who and
what God has already placed within you. You now have the ability to persevere because Christ lives within you. Christ in us
transforms ordinary saints into people capable of extraordinary feats
(like persevering when the world would say why don't you just "throw in
the towel".) The reason perseverance is not being worked out in many of
our lives is our own hard-headedness & unwillingness. The genuine
believer who says 'I can't" is really saying 'I won't'. Remember
that mushrooms spring up overnight, but they are usually poisonous. The
best fruits require time, cultivation, perseverance. A precious and rare
plant called ''godliness'' grows wonderfully when
''fertilized'' with perseverance. (modified from a lecture
by Dr. Wayne Barber)
endurance when circumstances are difficult. It is not a
passive acceptance but a strong fortitude in the face of opposition or
difficulty. It is the opposite of despondency and is never used in
reference to God, for God does not face difficult circumstances.
Hupomone describes that spirit which bears things not simply with
resignation, but with a blazing hope. In other words, if something
happens in your life that is hard and painful and frustrating and
disappointing, and, by grace, your faith looks to Christ and to his
power and his sufficiency and his fellowship and his wisdom and his
love, and you don't give in to bitterness and resentment and
complaining, then your faith endures and perseveres.
We need to remember that SMOOTH SEAS
DON'T MAKE SKILLFUL SAILORS. It is better to persevere and bear up
through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.
Jesus taught that
"the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who
have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and
bear fruit with perseverance." (Lk 8:15)
Perseverance proves the soil of one's heart is good
(genuine believers) and results in fruit in the believer's life.
Puritan preacher Ezekiel Hopkins
once said that...
Patience is the ballast of the
soul, that will keep it from rolling and tumbling in the greatest
storms; and he that will venture out without this to make him sail even
and steady will certainly make shipwreck and drown himself, first in the
cares and sorrows of this world, and then in perdition.
Perseverance to the end of one's life proves that is a genuine
believer [Mt 24:13,
He 3:14-note]. Persevering does not
save a person but does show them to be saved and possessors of an
inherent supernatural power (Christ in us) to hold on to the end. What
is an alternative to perseverance in the Christian life? Is it not a
subtle drift with the tide, especially the "tide" of time? Many today
who were at one time professing Christians imperceptibly have drifted
from their earlier professions. They kept up appearances, but time
carried them far away from their devotion to Christ. And though they may
not have overtly disowned Christ, they have drifted far from their
original faith. And not surprisingly their children have no
understanding or interest in Christianity. This is a tragic end, an end
which Dr. Robertson McQuilkin prayed against in his haunting
I fear the Dark Spectre may come too
soon—or do I mean, too late?
That I should end before I finish or finish, but not well.
That I should stain your honor, shame your name, grieve your loving
Few, they tell me, finish well…
Lord, let me get home before dark.
(“Let Me Get Home Before Dark,” 1981)
Perseverance is a trait the man of God will pursue. ("But flee
from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 1Ti 6:11) Before we were saved, we chased after sin. Now sin chases after us! (cf
Faith mixed with perseverance allows us to inherit the promises (He
2Pe 1:4-note "promises") Testing of one's
faith (Jas 1:2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8-note)
works out perseverance in our character which in turn allows us to reach
our goal in Christ which is to be complete (mature) and lacking in
nothing. (Col 1:28-note;
R Kent Hughes gives the
following illustration of perseverance writing that...
Perseverance is the key to God's
treasure, just as it often proves to be with earthly treasures. When
Howard Carter, the British archaeologist, peered wide-eyed into an
ancient Egyptian tomb in 1922, at first he saw nothing. For more than
twenty centuries archaeologists, tourists, and tomb robbers had searched
for the burial places of Egypt's pharaohs. It was believed that nothing
remained undisturbed, especially in the Royal Valley where the ancient
monarchs had been buried for over half a millennium. With only a few
scraps of evidence Carter carried on his pursuit, privately financed
because nobody felt there was anything left to be discovered. But he was
convinced there was one remaining tomb. Twice during his six-year search
he came within two yards of the first stone step leading to the burial
chamber, and finally he found it. "Can you see anything?" his assistants
asked, as Carter's eyes adjusted. He was seeing, but he had difficulty
speaking because he saw what no modern man had ever seen. Wooden
animals, statues, chests, chariots, carved cobras, vases, daggers,
jewels, a throne - and a hand-carved coffin of a teenage king. It was
the priceless tomb and treasure of King Tutankhamen, the world's most
exciting archaeological discovery. Howard Carter's great perseverance
brought him King Tut's treasure. How much greater our rewards when we
persevere in seeking God's spiritual treasures! King Tut's treasures
brought him no happiness; and if you were as rich as he, the effect
would be the same. Besides, King Tut left it all behind. The treasures
Christ gives are eternally ours and eternally satisfying. But
perseverance is the key. We may wonder why God wants us to persist
intensely for things He surely wants to give us. The answer is, He wants
to give us great spiritual treasures, but He will not give it to us
until we are ready. Persistent prayer prepares us for those treasures.
(Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
><> ><> ><>
An Elusive Virtue - In 1404,
twenty-five-year-old Lorenzo Ghiberti won a commission to build and
adorn a pair of bronze doors for the north side of the baptistery in the
cathedral of Florence, Italy. He took twenty-one years to design and
cast the masterpieces, dividing the doors into twenty-eight New
Testament panels. They cost $550,000. The donors then asked him to make
corresponding double doors for the baptistery’s east side. This endeavor
took twenty-seven years and featured the Old Testament in ten panels. He
spent forty-eight years one just two projects, but his time and effort
left artistic masterpieces for generations to admire. Building spiritual
lives challenges us to a perseverance that defies even Ghiberti. The
free will, prejudice, stubbornness, and pride that mocks God are all
obstacles to change and growth. The life produced by the Spirit in the
Word seldom comes easily or quickly. People are never as easy to mold as
bronze and wood. Although a skilled craftsman can predict how basic
elements will react under given stimuli, the spiritual leader never
masters the moods and reactions of people. (Hurley, V.
Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations
Dallas: Word Publishers)
><> ><> ><>
en de te hupomone ten eusebeian: (2Pe 1:3, 3:11; Ge 5:24; Isa
57:1; 1Ti 2:2,10; 3:16; 4:7,8; 6:3;6:6; 6:11 2Ti 3:5; Titus 1:1)
from eú = well + sébomai = worship)
for more on godliness)
(Click study of
eusebeia) is literally "well worship"
which reflects an attitude of one's life to live with a sense of God's
presence (Latin "Coram Deo" before the face of God) and a desire
motivated by love (which equates with obedience
Jn 14:15) to be pleasing to Him in all
things we say, do and think. Christian endurance is motivated by
brings the sanctifying presence of God into all the experiences of life.
It keeps the believer from becoming hard and defiant toward opponents or
succumbing to the temptation of a mere stoical endurance. The godly
person lives above the petty things of life, the passions and pressures
that control the lives of others. The godly man or woman seeks to do the
will of God (Ro 12:2-note)
and, as they do, they seek the welfare of others, making the kind of
decisions that are right and noble, not taking the "easy" path simply to
avoid either pain or trial, and doing what is right because it is right
and because it is the will of God. That's Biblical
This character trait distinguishes the true believer from the ungodly
false teachers in Chapter 2.
describes a lifestyle (1Ti 4:7, 8-note)
of showing reverence for God as we live before others, especially the
lost. We may say we worshipped God on Sunday but what was Monday like?
Did you give in to the pagan darkness around you or did you express the
fact that you are serving a higher King then the one who is over this
world of darkness and you are willing to take the heat because you are
worshipping by your life. First, recognition. Then, the lifestyle.
Finally, the worship.
is living one’s life in the conscious presence of the holiness of God.
This consciousness comes from devotion to the Word of God, prayer,
self-denial, discipline, accountability, worship, communion, and all the
other means God provides for bringing one’s heart captive to Christ.
(modified from a lecture by Dr. Wayne Barber)
True spiritual knowledge gives us the means of growth, the means of
discernment, an urgency that will constrain our behavior and make us
live godly. Knowledge that doesn't renew our minds and cause us more &
more to long for the things above has the dangerous potential of making
us arrogant hypocrites.
Dr. Wayne Barber's
"Remember though that
Worship is NOT an feeling! As we act upon the Truth we have
learned in the Word, the Spirit begins to develop His character
within us (sanctifies us) and the spiritual knowledge (gnosis)
becomes so practical that God begins to meet every need of your
life. Paul had to learn this truth too (Php 4:11, 12, 13-see notes
You begin to find yourself experiencing self-control in areas you
never thought possible and you can bear up under things that
before were seeming impossible circumstances. Godliness comes out
of this quality of obedient faith and one result is the ability to
worship well. Jesus "worshiped" His Father...not My will, but
Thine be done. The essence of real worship is when we say ''No''
to our flesh (Ro 6:12-note)
and ''Yes'' to God (Ro 6:13-note).
Paul explains well worship in Ro 12:1 (note)
I urge you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual (= reasonable, Greek word
''logikos'' for ''logical'') service of worship.
Worship is not a feeling you get when
someone sings a wonderful song at church. Worship is a verb, a response
to what God has done in my life. Not my will but thine be done is the
essence of genuine worship.
There is a pseudo-godliness Paul
warns Peter to avoid describing those in the last days who are...
holding to a form of godliness,
although they have denied its power (2Ti 3:5-note)
What is the power of real godliness?
It's the power to lay my life down in order for Christ to be glorified
in me. As Paul warns, many ostensibly very "religious" people have a form of godliness, going through
the motions of religion, but they don't have the power to truly lay down
their lives. Out of this process and grounded in faith, comes a
god-likeness. We begin to become like Jesus, conformed to His image,
enabled by His Spirit to manifest His character summed up in John's
Greater love hath no man but to lay
down his life for his brother. (Jn 15:13)
This is essence of a benevolent good -- when a person is willing to lay
down his own life for the benefit of another. How can you be like this?
If Christ is in you, Peter says you can do it as you apply all
Necessitates effort on our part (1Ti 4:7, 8-note)
imperative) for the purpose of Godliness
(2). Must be pursued:
imperative) from these things, you man of
= command to continuously make
the volitional choice to press hard after, as the habit of your life)
righteousness, godliness..." where "pursue"
means to follow or press hard after with earnestness and diligence in
order to obtain
Can be faked:
"holding to a form (morphosis - outward form) of godliness,
although they have denied its power" (where "denied" is
perfect tense = denied at some point in time in past with that denial &
the results/effects of that denial persisting) How do you know? Watch
their life. They have denied the transforming power of grace manifest by
the true gospel What makes false teachers so dangerous? They may
manifest a form of godliness and so appear to be Christians (Mt 7:15,
21, 22, 23-see
22-23). Mark it down a profession of truth which is
associated with an individual living in ungodliness is a spurious
profession & that person is woefully deceived. Godly belief always
produces a godly life. (Titus 1:1-noteand
compare Titus 1:16-note)
Spurgeon in his devotional
Morning and Evening has this note on 2Peter 1:5, 6...
If thou wouldest enjoy the eminent
grace of the full assurance of faith, under the blessed Spirit’s
influence, and assistance, do what the Scripture tells thee, “Give
diligence.” Take care that thy faith is of the right kind—that it is not
a mere belief of doctrine, but a simple faith, depending on Christ, and
on Christ alone. Give diligent heed to thy courage. Plead with God that
he would give thee the face of a lion, that thou mayest, with a
consciousness of right, go on boldly. Study well the Scriptures, and get
knowledge; for a knowledge of doctrine will tend very much to confirm
faith. Try to understand God’s Word; let it dwell in thy heart richly.
When thou hast done this, “Add to thy knowledge temperance.” Take heed
to thy body: be temperate without. Take heed to thy soul: be temperate
within. Get temperance of lip, life, heart, and thought. Add to this, by
God’s Holy Spirit, patience; ask him to give thee that patience which
endureth affliction, which, when it is tried, shall come forth as gold.
Array yourself with patience, that you may not murmur nor be depressed
in your afflictions. When that grace is won look to godliness. Godliness
is something more than religion. Make God’s glory your object in life;
live in his sight; dwell close to him; seek for fellowship with him; and
thou hast “godliness”; and to that add brotherly love. Have a love to
all the saints: and add to that a charity, which openeth its arms to all
men, and loves their souls. When you are adorned with these jewels, and
just in proportion as you practise these heavenly virtues, will you come
to know by clearest evidence “your calling and election.” “Give
diligence,” if you would get assurance, for lukewarmness and doubting
very naturally go hand in hand.