KNOWING GOD LEADS TO SELF CONTROL; as one of the fruits of the Spirit, self-control refers to mastery over sinful human desires in every aspect of life.  The Greeks considered this a highly prized virtue. Their focus, of course, was entirely on self-effort, but the problem was that self-effort always fails in the long run because it may control the body but does not affect inward desires.  We know from Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:22-23 that Christians have the Holy Spirit’s help to gain self-control.

The quality of self-control must then lead to patient endurance, the ability to steadfastly endure suffering or evil without giving up one’s faith.  Endurance is not a stoic indifference to whatever fate allows; rather, it springs from faith in God’s goodness and control over all that happens in believers lives.

Such endurance leads to godliness,  this is another word that is unusual to the New Testament, but common to Greek ethics lists of that day, we see that Paul emphasized godliness in the Pastoral Epistles as being the virtue that should characterize the life and conduct of the believers.  Godliness was the primary word for “religion” and referred to a person’s correct attitudes toward God and people, usually referring to performing obligatory duties.  Here we discover in 1st Peter the word describes an awareness of God in all of life – a lifestyle that exemplifies Christ and is empowered by him (the same word is used in (1st Peter 1:3).  Christians must have a right relationship with God and right relationships with fellow believers.  The false teachers claimed such “godliness,” but were sadly lacking in reverence toward God and in good attitudes toward others.

 

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