Foundations Of The Like Precious Faith Series - Essentials
(child thread of the FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaithSeries by RandyP - 4/6/2017)
kjv@2Peter:1:1 @ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us...
Let's cut to the chase.. you need to be Biblically counseled, I need to be Biblically counseled, as Christians we all need to be Biblically counseled and most importantly we need to know how counsel others and be counseled by others Biblically; the evidence for needing such in this modern world and our modern lives is frightfully obvious.
Toward the end of the Apostle Peter's earthly walk, he wrote to the known Christian world to give to them this his final counsel. It is counsel that we again today would be wise to examine in depth regardless whether we are seeking to receive good strong biblical counsel or seeking to give such counsel to another in such need.
I was first drawn to the Apostle Peter's "like precious faith" discourse in nkjv@2Peter:1 because of it's direct outline of an abundant fruitful faith and not "lacking" in it. As I placed more and more scriptural context onto it's key components, I found more and more practical use of it; uses that I would like to share with anyone going through such a struggle as have I.
Surveying the chapter initially, it does divide nicely into three distinct sections that you can mark in your Bible:
- kjv@2Peter:1:1-4 The core foundational "like precious" belief - FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith where we can look into these further spiritual necessities that are meant to add to and build upon our salvation, that liberate/transform ourselves and our directions from the otherwise inescapable direction the world itself will take.
- kjv@2Peter:1:5-11 The means of applying the core foundation to daily living - ApplicationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith. Having then been transformed foundation-ally at the core we begin to consider the new course to which we place all our regenerated diligences and energies.
- kjv@2Peter:1:12-27 The reasoning we put these foundational elements into constant remembrance and put them forward in our lives JustificationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith. Understanding better why it is Christ has us do this a different and new way. How easy and natural it is for us to slip back into what we would rather be doing.
Now I by no means wish to portray myself as one having mastered such "like precious" faith, but as a pilgrim so to speak early on it's course with something perhaps to say about the directions it has already lead me in. Neither am I a Pastor nor professional council, so I advise you to thoroughly prove out these directions I have taken scripturally. I shall point you to the scriptures as I have found them as a serviceable starting point. I believe that this exercise will be well worth your consideration else I would not have published it for anybody else's use but my own.
As a means of introduction I would like to break these verses apart into some key essential concepts that will later be fully developed in this series into full fledged foundations. We will be taking these many points later and anchoring a whole lot of other scriptural context to them in the hopes of opening ourselves to the more particle employment of such a scriptural faith against our present realities.
SimonPeter - Whether you are the one being counseled or doing the counseling, it is the same point that we must always begin our considerations at: who we were before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and who we are now having the guidance of the Holy Spirit because of belief and regeneration in Christ Jesus. The counsel is not the same and neither should be the consideration. Simon Barjona and Simon Peter (as he was called by Jesus) are nearly two different people because of the transformation that has occurred in Peter's life and though he appears to have been a good honest hard working well intending man, what Jesus was able to do in him through the Holy Spirit can not be remotely compared. Any counsel we are to employ must be attuned to this one initial consideration.
ServantApostleOf - The second point we must get to when counseling/being counseled Biblically is the question of whom it is that we are serving. It is either one thing or the other, our spiritual master or our earthly nature. Most problems that ever would need to be counseled are a direct result of serving our human nature. It is therefore our nature to seek human answers to our problems even when staring specific Bible verses in the eye. It could be said that we are serving our problems else the worry over them as opposed to serving our Lord and Savior under the tutalge and direction of His Holy Spirit.
FaithObtainedThroughRighteousnessGodSavior - Our tendencies always go toward what we ourselves are able to make out of things. Thus, typically it is not the faith given/obtained/handed over to us from God and Savior that we operate in, it is a faith applied as best we are able to manufacture from our own resource and determination; two vastly different things in deed. Counsel goes right along the same line, we are more willing to give and to receive what we are able to make out of things than what God's righteousness rightly demands and has rightly provided for.
GracePeaceMultipliedKnowledgeGodJesus - Often the concern becomes simply finding a grace and peace with whatever/whomever we are currently fighting; finding a grace and peace over addiction shall we say or a grace and peace in our marriage and spouse. Grace and peace becomes not being so much under the specific thing's burden; nothing more. Biblical counsel suggests that grace and peace must first be between one's self and with God. This is not God in the nebulous conceptual state, it is God perhaps better stated in the present context of HIS righteous state. It is a grace and peace that may not come at first to the natural mind suddenly caught being at enmity with the righteousness of God, but rather a grace that more and more is being multiplied in the new and personal recognition and acknowledgement of Son Jesus Christ.
DivinePowerGivenAllThingsLifeGodliness - Wise counsel must come to grips with the source of it's answers and the source of implementable resources; it must come to a discernment between what is obvious and immediately available versus what is hidden and to be patient/diligently sought after. What source does the born again Christian have that no other person of any other faith or persuasion have? If regenerate believers are operating with the same answers and from the same resources what result can be expected that is any different from those of any other god or self confidence?
CalledToGloryVirtue - Unlike secular counsel, there is very little light that the Christian can produce in/of himself. Secular counsel is all about the light from within. The Christian's light is purely a reflection of the Lord's light upon him. Reflection is largely the observance of His direct influence upon our outlook, our insight, our answers and our actions. If glory and virtue were to be thought of as outcomes, the two views could be explained as one being produced from within (centered in self/what is right in our own eyes) or what God can directly influence upon us. The results that can be expected are certainly polar opposites.
ExceedingPromisesPartakersDivineNature - The fear with most Biblical counsel is often that it too easily ends up in a religious nature too much like that of the Pharisees, too structured, too prohibitive, too impersonal, too detached from others and even Christ Himself. The appealing thing to Christ's earthly walk with the Father was the sheer loving-ness and sincerity and openness and spontaneity exuded throughout. That warm and kindly nature is too often missed in our attempts to receive and give counsel. As for exceeding promises, the very receiving of Christ for all that He is and is meant to be is the receipt of all that. The greatest promises are for His presence and for His effectual influence upon us toward the partaking of His lovely nature, having our nature become more like His own.
EscapeCorruptionWorldLust - If the promises are to thereby escape the corruptions that we are otherwise bound to in this world, how should we escape if left only to do as we would have done before Christ by the same answers and same resource? Is it that we can slap a few more Christian like labels on what it is everyone else is doing, recall a few more bible verses to better substantiate it, call it a purple horse of our own? The source is just the same. The results are strikingly similar as well. No, that is not Biblical counsel, as much as we make it out to be. It should not be what we are looking for ourselves to receive and it should not be what we are offering to give others. How can one give sound counsel however unless one has first received and operated within it themselves?
KnowledgeOfJesusChrist - This foundational element is mentioned throughout this counsel from Peter. It should be mentioned to a much greater extent in ours. What is any counsel if it does not lead both the counselor and the counseled further into the profound recognition and acknowledgement of our Lord and Savior Jesus? The natural mind has a peculiar bend as to the order with which it willingly thinks to proceed, it thinks to clean itself up first before potentially reaching any further towards Christ. Lay counsel is too often willing to subject the greater gain to the lesser. To operate in this reverse mode is to not operate in the "like precious" mode all together, it is to continue on as the natural mind is willing to being still unfamiliar with and adverse to the spiritual ways of Christ's exceedingly great presence/influence.
From this initial core of "like precious" foundations listed nkjv@2Peter:1:1-4 (to be further studied in the FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith section of this series), we move then into more of the foundational applications of such a specific "like precious faith" nkjv@2Peter:1:5-11. Follow along with me:
AllDiligenceAdd - The concern naturally becomes "how am I ever going to find the time/energy to find all this out to perform it on top of everything else that I have got to do and am already doing"? "This world rarely stops to pause long enough for me to hop off of it"! Rather, the "like precious" faith becomes the way that you go about doing all of these other things; at least the things that are not efforts wasted/distractions. It is Christ's influence now upon you concerning these many things and not these things influence upon you keeping you from Christ. For many of these things that secular type counsel has consumed your diligence in, you will quickly find they are not as high priority or even needed now that they are squarely under the influence of Christ Jesus. Consider also the tangible benefit having then operated in such a precise spiritual mode over a longer period of time and what the fruit of such an effort spent will keep you from no longer having then to tackle such hostile occurrences, those strange traps/distractions that are no longer taking root unawares that might cause such invasive problems.
VirtuousFaith - We are no longer talking about a faith as the world nor you or I would naturally make out of it; we are talking specifically about a faith given to or handed over to us. In fact, in some english translations "obtained like precious faith with us" would read "received faith on equal standing with us the Apostles" meaning the faith given/handed the Apostles (as required) by (of/in) the righteousness of God is the same faith given/handed us (as required by the same righteousness). To this specific handed over faith we then are exhorted by Peter to add (compound the resulting product) with virtue (uncommon valor against immeasurable odds towards Christ's excellence). The application visually is as if faith were a narrow plank, virtue bravely and perhaps blindly stepping out on it only because of Christ's excellency, doing this diligently in all things against every conceivable opposition. How often does what we are being counseled by others leave this very essential spiritual element completely out of the conversation?
KnowledgeableVirtue - Another compound, this time taking the previous virtue and adding highly influenced and clarified reasoning to it. The two then operate as one producing an output neither of the two alone could emit. It is no longer a knowledge of what other people think or what they would do if they were you in this situation, it is a knowledge of your relationship to Jesus, a discernment between what is carnal and what is spiritual, an utter reverence for who Christ is and our rightful position within all of that. Not only that, but we are to be extremely courageous in our effort stepping out into this given form of faith. Where does that knowledge, from where does that valor come? We shall explore that in this series.
TemperateKnowledge - Ah temperance, what likely gets us into many of these messes (shall we say the lack of it). Now it is being compounded with knowledge/clarified reasoning. Maybe it is better put as being temperate with what we know. From what source is this knowledge coming? knowledge as God would see it or as the world/you see it? knowledge that inclines me to now be virtuous over all odds? Maybe it can also be put as knowledgeable temperance; being temperate with what one has been brought by Christ to know. Their is a whole lot of counsel bantered about in this regard, but unless supported by the scriptures that we are preparing to look in to in this series it very well likely could be nothing more than the natural mind's self exalting banter.
PatientTemperance - What better advice could any counsel offer? This along with some knowledge and some courage and some positive affirmation; how could anyone advise anything other? Well, at issue here is not the generalities and concepts involved here, what is hotly contested and most frequently misapplied is the actual source of these elements. Patience and temperance just as easily can be attempted to be manufactured from out of self and it often times is. When self is left behind being daily crucified as a living sacrifice where else other than Christ through the Holy Spirit are these elements supposed to be provided and received from? How are we to acquaint ourselves to these unfamiliar spiritual resources if not to courageously step out (blindly often) for Christ's excellency and seek for these in desperate immediate need? We shall explore this in much more depth, but you do see how the compound elements are beginning to coalesce.
GodlyPatience - Funny Peter would mention godliness when he has already mentioned virtue. People often confuse the two. Virtue appears to me to be something more instantaneous and necessitated by the moment or situation. Godliness perhaps then can be visualized as something more long term, more established, more of a track record that has been proven and ingrained into one's moral fabric. People can rely upon a leader's godliness because it is perceived by them as being historical. Her historical godliness may be full of virtuous moments uncommon to all and unexpected being against the ever present even perhaps self injurious/grave threat. Again, where did this track record come from? It came only from the source that all these other elements have come.
BrotherlyGodliness - Selfless kindness towards others? And that being well established and depended on? A person is not godly just because he says that he is, nor can the same person be brotherly by his own account. A believer can only truly be this because of the work and influence of Christ upon them. He/she is the product of Christ in order to be this as opposed to being this as a product of self in order to be Christ's. One does not resolve to be this, one resolves to be Christ's.
AgapeBrotherliness - Selfless love towards all? Surely that would involve being of the VirtuousFaith and of the KnowledgeableVirtue, the TemperateKnowledge and the PatientTemperance, etc... Each of these elemental things leads us back to the essential core elements originally discussed, the regeneration of the SimonPeter, the self image of the ServantApostleOf, the handed over FaithObtainedThroughRighteousnessGodSavior, on through to the ExceedingPromisesPartakersDivineNature and EscapeCorruptionWorldLust. In essence this is all the product of the Father's love for the Son and the Son's love for the Father and THEIR mutual love for all those drawn in to become sons and daughters in the risen Christ.
These compounds will be further explained and studied in the ApplicationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith section of this series shortly.
In addition to these stunning compounds listed by Peter for Christians of all eras to apply, he adds in this section of the chapter some most helpful considerations:
AboundFruitKnowledge - The purpose for this series as I've proposed it is that we all become abundantly fruitful with our knowledge of Jesus Christ. Fruit is the thing often missing in secular counsel; not that it is not always without any tangible benefit, but that it's benefit is temporal and compartmentalized into the few areas the natural mind is willing to keep hold of it. Fruit is also the thing missing in our modern Christian counsel as well. Not only are foundational elements of the "like precious faith" discourse absent from it, often our insistence upon being infallibly right merely for the sake of proving ourselves "Christian" prevent us from being abundantly fruitful. With fruit comes risk and unfamiliarity, like changing one's course to go up river so to immediate opposition. With the pursuit of producing fruit often comes the temptation to revert to our natural ways and resources.
LackBlindPurged - The lack of any fruit is where the majority are starting off at. The smartest people in the world are setting off at nearly the same point as we are. Shortsightedness and or blindness are not meant as a reflection as to how smart or stupid we are, it is more a description of what we are being smart or stupid about; to what extent we are willing to apply it towards our given situation. I know people who know the bible and bible doctrine inside and out. Yet, at the same time for all that personal knowledge gained what have they ever applied towards becoming fruitful with all of this knowledge? What help are they to any of us who don't have that level of knowledge, but want to know Him in such more of a real and living way? For some their knowledge of Jesus is only that someday He is going to come back and save them; it is up to them to carry on until that day comes. For some it is enough for them to know that He loves them, that He wishes for them good luck and God's speed; not to realize that their souls have been purchased and purged and immediately re-purposed.
DiligenceElectionAssurance - It is often asked "how can I be sure of God's election"? Perhaps it was best explained by Jesus "A tree is known by it's fruit". I am more and more sure of my election because of the fruit God has been able to produce in/on/through me and as I become more and more sure that there was no other way that fruit could have been made other than by HIM. Therefore, by becoming more and more mindful and diligent to abide in the vine of Christ, more and more not being shortsighted nor blind to all that God is seeking to provide and accomplish through myself and other like minded like precious faith believers, more and more as that splendid spiritual fruit develops my assurance in His election strengthens as it should. It is not a pompous assurance, rather a observed one by what is flowing through this present conduit.
AbundantEntranceKingdom - The closer one gets to that entrance the clearer and more abundant that entrance becomes. From miles away the haze hid all but a vague outline, a shadow from behind a curtain. As one gets nearer, more and more of the haze is lifted and the details begin to appear. Time is not the only factor behinds it's lifting, so too is the travel forward towards it. The travel in our case is process of becoming more and more fruitful in the things God HIMSELF would rather that we be fruitful in, the lasting things, the pure and loving things. That is/Those are what HE wishes and chooses HIS kingdom to be filled with and rightly so. How can we say that we are a strong fit for that kingdom if we haven't yet begun this transformational process?
In addition to these core truths and key applications, Peter will also lay out some principal justifications tying all these neatly into a tremendous lesson in Biblical counsel. ThePresentTruth, PuttingInRemembrance, HaveTheseThingsAlways, PowerAndComing, EyeWitnessesOfMajesty, WordOfProphecy, MovedBy are all articles of the "like precious" we will soon consider in the JustificationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith section of this series helping to show how and why this "faith" was handed over to us and to what extent we should be utilizing it.
I will ask you to please follow the series in it's immediate order at least for the first couple times through it. It will avail itself better then to the times later that you will want to dig into one particular foundation that you might be lacking application in.