2 Peter 1:2-3 NAS95
(2) Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; (3) seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
Grace, peace, and everything we need to live and be godly comes through the TRUE KNOWLEDGE of God. Faith is the first steppingstone on the path to the truth about God.
The faith movement was very popular when I became a Christian. I read a lot of books written by the leaders of that movement. The faith movement also reduced God to a vending machine. They taught if we have enough faith, we can get anything we want from God. That message is very appealing and false.
I never had enough faith to get what I wanted. Eventually, I developed a nagging thought that would not go away. Where is God in this? In the early 1980s, I attended a convention of the popular faith teachers that answered the nagging question.
I filled up my notebook with the faith formula to get what I wanted from God. As soon as the teacher ended his sermon, someone spoke a message in tongues. I will never forget the interpretation that followed: “Not formulas, not formulas, in my presence all your problems will fly out the widows like birds of the air.”
God told us the preacher’s message was false. Yet everyone praised God for the interpretation, and then they continued teaching about formulas as though God had said nothing. Their response answered my nagging thought. God was not in this doctrine.
I threw away a lot of books and purposed to pursue God and God alone for an understanding of my faith. It was a long journey. I did not get the answers until the late 1990s, when I started writing Steps of Faith to teach a Sunday School.
There are a lot of good people in ministry that God uses to help us, but we should never accept what we are taught until we have researched it in the Bible.
2 Peter 1:5-8 NAS95 (5) Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, (6) and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, (7) and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We need the qualities Peter listed to be fruitful in the true knowledge of God, and that knowledge gives us grace, peace, and everything we need to live a godly life. When we understand Abraham’s faith, we will have the foundation to discern moral excellence. But we won’t understand that excellence if our faith has been corrupted with human ideas. When we understand moral excellence, we will understand the limited knowledge we have about God, and God will be able to add to that knowledge. When we understand the knowledge we have about God, we will understand why self-control is important. Only then will we understand why God shows such great restraint among us when we do so much evil to each other. That understanding will give us a reason to persevere in our faith. In our perseverance, we will develop godliness. When we are like God, we will be kind to each other, and in showing kindness to one another, we will understand what it means to love. But it all begins with understanding faith. Until we get faith right, nothing else will be right because we will not be acting out of love.
Galatians 5:6 NAS95 (6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Some Christian Jews believed the Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved. Paul wrote Galatians to explain why that is not true. We are not saved by circumcision. We are saved by faith that is expressed through love. And there is a very good reason why.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NAS95 (1) If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Our spiritual gifts are nothing but an irritating noise without love.
(2) If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
All our wisdom, knowledge, and power to make things happen mean nothing without love.
(3) And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Our good deeds and our sacrifices will not benefit us unless our deeds and sacrifices were motivated by love. Without love we are nothing. Without love there is no benefit.