According to the Bible and according to our experience, this life produces two categories of fruit. Second Peter 1 and Galatians 5 show the first category. The first category of fruit is the category of Christian virtues. Second Peter tells us that we all have been “allotted like precious faith” (1:1). Our faith has become our lot from God, a divine lot within us. Most of us understand faith as our believing ability. But we must go further to see that the very faith within us is the Triune God. The Triune God within us becomes the believing ability. Without God within us, there is no way for us to believe. We have been graced by God to believe into Him. We were sinners wandering in the world, and we had no intention of seeking after God. But one day we heard the good news of the gospel and believed into Christ. Formerly we may have thought that it was foolish to be a Christian. But now we think that Jesus is wonderful. Now we are “fools because of Christ” (1 Cor. 4:10). The Triune God put Himself into us to become our believing ability and also the very object in which we believe. He is the believing ability, and He is the One in whom we believe. Thank Him for the lot of faith we have received!
Some time after being saved we may have regretted our decision to be a Christian. We may have tried to leave Christ. When we say we will leave Christ, Someone within us will say, “You may try to leave Me, but I will not leave you.” Wherever you go, the Lord will be there. You may say that you do not want Him. But He will say, “I want you.” You may say that you do not need Him. But He will say, “I need you.” After being saved, many of us regretted that we had received the Lord. You may not like to be a Christian, but the Lord likes it. Our destiny is not up to us but up to Him. Our destiny is under His sovereignty. It was our destiny for the Triune God to come into us to become our allotted faith. The Triune God lives in us to be our believing ability and our believing object.
Second Peter 1:3-11 shows that we must add all diligence to supply something in this faith that we have received. In faith we must supply virtue (v. 5). Virtues are the beauties of the divine life. Human beings have some amount of physical beauty. But before we were saved, was our behavior beautiful? We may be handsome or beautiful in our physical appearance, but what about our behavior? When we lose our temper, we may look like a demon. There may be many ugly things in our behavior. But after we were saved, to some extent, we spontaneously became gentle, mild, meek, and humble. Those who knew us may have said, “Why are you so happy? What happened to you?” What happened to us was that Jesus came into us. Because He came into us, there was spontaneously an amount of beauty in our behavior of our daily life. We have the God-allotted portion of faith within us, and we have the beauties expressed in our daily life. These expressed beauties are virtues.
In virtue we should supply knowledge (v. 5). On the one hand, we are fools because of Christ. On the other hand, we are quite knowledgeable. We know where we came from, where we are, and where we are going. The unbelievers do not know these things. Virtue needs the bountiful supply of the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (vv. 2, 3, 8).
Then in knowledge we need to supply self-control (v. 6). Some of the saints become very excited in the church meetings. It is all right for us to get excited in the meetings, but when we get too excited, we need to learn to control ourselves. The young people have to sympathize with the older saints, who may not be able to bear so much shouting. They must learn to control themselves. Self-control is the exercise of control over one’s self in its passions, desires, and habits. This needs to be supplied and developed in knowledge for the proper growth in life.
Then in self-control we have to supply endurance (v. 6). Self-control and endurance go together as “twin brothers.” If we have self-control, we surely have endurance. Without self- control, we can never endure anything. Self-control is to deal with ourselves; endurance is to bear with others and with circumstances.
In endurance we need to supply godliness (v. 6). Godliness is God expressed. It is a living that is like God and expresses God. When we exercise control over our self and bear with others and with circumstances, godliness needs to be developed in our spiritual life that we may be like God and express Him.
(Our Urgent Need - Spirit and Life, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)