Summary: #3 In the scriptures there is the assumption that anyone who is born again of the Spirit of God, that that person has the very power of God to live a life of godliness. This is not a life that is some unproductive barren wasteland, but a life that is full
The Enlargement of Life
"Living Knowledge manifest in Self-control”
Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
(Read 2 Peter 1:5-7)
We have over the last few weeks been examining this passage in 2 Peter, in order to see some of the principles of Kingdom living, that when applied brings a fruitfulness and abundance in our Lord, and the knowledge of Him. In fact when these things are fully operational in an ongoing way, we discover that the possibility of us stumbling not only diminishes but actually disappears. Peter puts it this way; "...for if you do these things you will never stumble;” So the recurring nightmarish treadmill that some people find themselves trapped in, of growing in the Lord, knowing His hand of blessing and deliverance, then falling when a particular temptation to a particular weakness comes along, is something that can be a thing of the past. In fact I would go even further and say on the basis of what the scripture teaches it is something that we need never succumb to again. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1)
STAND FAST is in the Perfect Tense, there has been an event which has happening in your past, which if you permit it to run its course, will drive you, will thrust you, will propel you into even greater things far in advance of your past and current experience.
Other ways translated: to be stationary, to persevere: abide.
So this is not some quick zapping from heaven that transforms us into people who don’t even have to try, like someone who has won a holiday all you have to do is lay back in the sun. Our Lord has set us free, He has given us all the tools that we will ever need to stay free, but He is saying to us; "use them and you will remain free."
In the Scriptures there are many analogies and pictures used to assist us for the grasping and application of the things of our Lord, and the ways of His Kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 9, we have a picture of the Athlete, one that Paul uses on more than one occasion. Here we have a person who has an objective, they are looking for the winning of the prize, they have become a person of singular thought and purpose and no matter what, and they are going for it. They dedicate themselves to the training and self-denial that is required for them to reach their goal. Yet the training is not enough, you can have the fit person who could cover the race distance is half the time of the others, but if they do not compete according to the rules, then they are disqualified. You can be the most super fit person you could ever hope to be, but if you don’t know the rules, or you even break the rules, then all your efforts have been in vain. Paul puts it this way; “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified”
Samson is the classic example of someone who knew the anointing of God, who knew how under such an anointing, how to overcome the enemy from without, but he never knew how to overcome the enemy from within until it was too late. Such was his self-deception that when the Spirit of God had left him, he did not know it.
Paul writes here to the 1 Corinthians 9:25: "...everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things...." Now that word "temperate" used here is the same basic Greek word that is used in 2 Peter 1. where we are told to ’add to the revealed and experiential knowledge of Him, and in particular the Moral excellence of our God that we have received by faith and in the given faith, add to this temperance/self—control’. The Greek word EN-KRAT-EIA is used here. ’En’ holds the meaning of "something that has a fixed position." ’KRATOS’ holds the meaning of "dominion, might, power and strength." It also is used of a person who is Content. So both Peter arid Paul are saying to us, “Be a person who has the dominion of righteousness within you. A person who is in control and not controlled by anything that is external and foreign to what you have become in Christ Jesus.” The controlling force in our lives has now become Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit is the agent of His control.