Are You Making Good Use Of Your Knowledge?
What good is it, if we study the Bible, but do not apply the Biblical rules to ourselves? Perhaps we have been drinking spiritual milk for a long time. Is it not time that we began eating other food, such as “strong meat?” This means having a deeper and more perfect knowledge of the Bible. When we eat earthly food it has to be digested before we can eat more. It gives us strength and energy for our needs. But if we eat and then just sit and sleep, doing no work or exercise, before long we will become fat and sluggish. This is also true with spiritual food. If we just read and study the Bible, even digging in deeper to better understand what God is telling us; and yet never apply it in our lives, we become spiritually fat and sluggish. In fact, it is possible to choke on the strong meat of the Scriptures when we do not chew well the message. Note what our Lord had to say in John 12:48: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” We could miss out on the heavenly calling and the wonderful rewards attached to it by not being faithfully obedient.
Returning now to James 2:24, 26 the Apostle continues: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” As an example, take Satan and his demons who know the Bible: Satan even quoted it to Jesus (Matt. 4:6). They believe that there is a God and tremble. Yet what good does it do them to have the knowledge of the Bible without applying it to themselves? Mere knowledge alone does not convert them. They still remain the same -- demons.
From all of the above, it is clear then that we should be more than just readers, hearers, or students of the Bible. We must apply to ourselves all that we come to know in God’s Holy Book. If we do it, it will change our lives, correct our errors, renew our minds, and our general behavior will come into harmony with what we have studied and what was revealed to us. The Apostle Peter was of this same mind when he wrote: “Therefore, brethren, be diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).
But let us ask: Do what things? How should we give diligence? For an answer, let us go back to verses 5-7 in the same chapter. There Peter says: “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge selfcontrol, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
Here are eight ingredients we must include in our Christian lives if we expect to make our calling and election sure:
1) Faith. 2) Virtue. 3) Knowledge. 4) Self-control.
5) Perseverance. 6) Godliness. 7) Brotherly kindness. 8) Love.
The Christian life is not what some people make it out to be. God requires all of the above virtues to be in our daily Christian lives or we are going to miss the mark. What is the point Peter is stressing? He is emphasizing the need not just to grow in knowledge of God’s Word, but also the need to make personal application of all these ingredients in our lives. 1 John 5:3 tells us: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
Peter adds in verse 8: “For if these things are in you and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Fruit trees are raised to produce fruit. A fruit tree that doesn’t produce fruit is usually cut down and burned. Notice for example how the fig tree, with no figs, was cursed by our Lord in Matt.21:18, 19; and the warning of John the Baptist to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Even now the ax is laid to the root of the tree. Therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones…every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’” (Matthew 3:7-10). We cannot afford to be barren, we must be fruitful. Jesus tells us in John 15:8: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”
But if these things enumerated by the Apostle Peter are not in us, then what good has the attaining of knowledge been to us? In verse 9, we find the answer: “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” That is one of the most dangerous traps a Christian can fall into.
Let us now return to the “strong meat” that the Apostle Paul tells us about. This means to have an understanding of the deeper truths of the Scriptures. He urges us to press on “unto perfection.” Of course, he doesn’t mean physical or mental perfection for as we get older the reverse is true. Paul is speaking of spiritual perfection (completion). He is concerned that we don’t get bogged down with the preliminaries, the rudiments, the basic or beginnings of the Christian faith as millions have. If we do that, we will fail to make the progress we need to grow up as a mature Christian and be pleasing to God.
If we don’t practice what we learn and believe in our heads, eventually, such lack will cause us to forget what we have learned and we will no longer rely on the Lord’s Word to sustain us and then we would be in danger of falling away. For this not to happen, we must be doers of the Word and not just hearers (Heb. 6:4-6). We must be obedient.
You have heard of the parable of the talents which is recorded in Matthew 25:14-30. Please take time to read these verses. Now let us ask why the unprofitable servant was cast into outer darkness? It was because he didn’t do anything with the talent he had received from his lord for the sole purpose of trafficking it. So the lord took the talent away from him and gave it to one that would make good use of it.
Are we like this servant, hiding or neglecting the talent or talents the Lord has given us? Is it a possibility that we might be judged in the same manner as the unprofitable servant? The Lord has not given us these talents for us to hide or keep to ourselves, but to use them for a profitable purpose that would bring gain for the Master and definitely not to profit us. He has entrusted these talents to us for a time for a specific purpose. We must make sure that we use them well and hear him say those fine words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The third servant had a splendid opportunity to serve his lord and receive his approval with the one talent even if he only had gained one more talent by using it faithfully. By not using it he lost everything. Likewise, the Lord will take away from you or me the opportunities He has given us of the only true way of life - unless we use the knowledge and opportunities according to His expressed will. We have stated the negative aspect, but there is also a positive side. This is found in Heb. 6:9-11. Here it is: “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner… And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end.”
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