Revelation 13:9-10; Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:2-11; 2 Timothy 6:11
If anyone is able to hear, let him listen:
Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God’s people).
Revelation 13:9-10 AMPC
Brothers and sisters, would you agree that we are living in a time where there is a call of the Spirit in the Church for her patience and faith and fidelity? Would you agree this is just the beginning? Would you agree this call for our patience, faith and fidelity at this present hour is a preparation for what is to come?
Patience: endurance, steadfast. HELPS Word-Studies: remain or remain under, especially as God enables the believer to remain (steadfast, endure) under the challenges He allots in life.
Thayers Greek Lexicon: Steadfastness, constancy, endurance. In the New Testament the characteristic of a person who is unswerved from their deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
This kind of steadfastness, this characteristic of a person is nothing we can find in and of ourselves. A person without Christ might be strong-willed and determined. But a steadfastness that holds onto hope and is unswerved even in their greatest trials and sufferings is a person who has begun and continued progressing on the narrow path of themselves being decreased and Christ in them being increased. Let us not for one minute believe that in our seasons of trial and difficulty we can be unmoved or unshaken in and of ourselves.
First and foremost, have we come to the point in our journey where we can say with Paul, I was buried therefore with Christ by my own personal baptism into His death… – This is not merely about a baptism with water that one might have experienced early on. This is an inward work and is another way of saying that we recognize and accept that we have been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer I who lives… – Romans 6:4 continues, so that – SO THAT – just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, SO WE TOO might habitually live and behave in newness of life.
It is Christ Who is the newness of life. Not mere adherence to an outward acceptance of Christian things or even Christianity. Christ. Christ. Christ is our newness of life.
T. Austin-Sparks put it this way:
The sum of everything in the new creation is in Christ, or, to put that in another way, it is outside of man himself. It is apart from man, and it always will be. Although Christ, the sum of the new creation, may be in us, that new creation will remain in Christ, and we are only in it by reason of our union with Him. He becomes the fullness of everything in us, but the practical outworking of that fullness will ever, and always, be purely and solely on a basis of faith.Daily Open Windows, August 29th From: The Essential Newness of the New Creation – Chapter 3
You may find it beneficial to make that personal so that it would read:
Christ is the sum of the new creation in me. I am only in that new creation by reason of my union with Him. He becomes the fullness of everything in me, but the practical outworking of that fullness – His fullness – in Whom there is no lack – will ever, and always, be purely and solely on a basis of faith.
Faith: HELPS Word-Studies: Is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. Faith, for the believer, is God’s divine persuasion – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence) yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they knew what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will (1 John 5:4).
Faith. Not sight. Faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
The Amplified Classic addition there at the end really clinches the deal for us humans who demand that we see to believe. Faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. There is much being revealed to the senses these days. There is more of the senses being spoken and shared within the Christian community than that of faith or Christ. What a a sad, sad fact!
Let us not forget what it stated above: The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer…so, we must be a yielded Church or we have lost our salt & light and simply resemble the rest of the world.
What T. Austin-Sparks wrote is a clear illumination on the remainder of Galatians 2:20: And the life I now live in the flesh (this life we have on this earth, here and now in the physical) I live by faith – by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in the Son of God.
What are you adhering to? What are you relying on? Where is your complete trust? These are somber questions and will require prayerful attention in order for the Lord to reveal to each of our hearts the truth of the matter. Not what we’d like to think. Not what is widely accepted. But what is the truth of the matter.
Returning now to this steadfastness, let’s go to 2 Peter 1:2-11 –
May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.
For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),
And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),
And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.
For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall.
Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Wow! The Amplified Classic really draws it out in richness for us! Are we supplementing, developing, cultivating our faith with these qualities that Peter writes of? In verse 8 it says, as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you,
Increasingly abound. What should be increasingly abounding in us? Christ. As anything of our carnal nature, even a so-called strength or determination of will, is not Christ but of ourselves.
Peter, by way of the Holy Spirit, tells us that whoever is lacking in these qualities is spiritually blind!
Brothers and sisters, there is no condemnation here! But this world we are living in (and should not be of) is growing darker and more chaotic. Are we the Lord’s vessel of salt & light? Or are we blending in? Are we marked by the seal of the Lamb in our spirit man? Or do we hold a form of religion, yet with our mouths and lives deny the power thereof?
Let Paul in 1 Timothy 6:11 encourage us:
…aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.
Then, and only then, will we lose the flavor and sounds of this world which are ringing not just within Christianity, but around the world, like a clanging symbol, and we will become evermore conformed to the image of the Son.