The Spiritual Supplements With Lasting Benefits  

In today’s world many people put significant effort and money into staying healthy. The health supplement market is a multi-million-pound industry that has capitalized on the desire of many who believe their natural diet is deficient and want to ensure they have all the nutrients they need for a healthy body. There is a plethora of pills and potions that we are urged to take to supplement our natural diet.

The Spiritual Supplements With Lasting Benefits

Certainly, these supplements are essential for some people, while for others they are a lifestyle choice. However, there are virtues that all believers are commanded to add to their faith. Although we are justified by God through “faith alone, in Christ alone”, the believer has an essential role to play in practical sanctification, that is, becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Without saving faith in Jesus Christ the supplements are pointless, but they are essential and effective when built on the foundation of faith in Christ.

Every believer should seek to have a vibrant and healthy faith and this requires continual persistence in adding certain characteristics to that faith. When Peter wrote to believers who would be exposed to false teaching, he expressed his desire for them to be increasingly fruitful and sure of their salvation. 

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

Earlier in his letter Peter had written that God’s power has given us all that we need for life and godliness and, through the promises in His Word, we are enabled to develop this life and godliness. Because of His power and promises we can add to our faith the seven virtues that will bring present and future benefits. Our faith must be supplemented by seven elements of holiness, not by adding them one after another but always working on all of them. 

Let’s briefly consider these seven supplements we need to be continually diligent in adding:

1. Virtue – The idea here is of “moral excellence” or “praiseworthy courage”. Our faith in Christ should cause a striving for Christlike morality. Then, even when surrounded by immoral actions and words we will stand morally upright and not succumb to the prevailing culture. This is only possible by the power of God working in a regenerate person, but it is possible for all those who have been regenerated. We must continually add this to our faith.

2. Knowledge – God does not want His people to be ignorant but to increase in knowledge that will be manifested in wise living. Knowledge comes from understanding God’s Word which is then applied in all areas of life. Without knowledge the believer is susceptible to be shaken and led into areas of thinking and living that are not aligned with God’s will. The proper pursuit of knowledge, with the goal of growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ, is an essential supplement.

3. Self-control – To increase in holiness believers must strive to live a self-controlled life. They should seek to control their passions and lusts. The false teachers whose views Peter was exposing believed that knowledge freed people from the need to control their passions. However, self-control is a part of the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in a believer’s life (Galatians 5:23). When we think of the sporting world, we know that successful athletes must be self-restrained and self-disciplined, denying themselves in certain areas and being masters of the body rather than slaves to it. In the pursuit of holiness this is even more important for the believer.

4. Perseverance – The theme of athletics is used with the virtue of perseverance or endurance . . .

“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).

Long-distance runners will be tempted to give up the race when it gets difficult but due to the self-control they have developed they will persevere. The Christian life can be compared to a marathon race in which each competitor is commanded to keep going. Although the end of the race will bring great rewards there are also present blessings for those who strive for spiritual stamina. The believer who is developing self-control will not easily succumb to the temptation to quit the race. 

5. Godliness – The thought behind godliness is being fully conscious of God's presence, and looking for His direction in every circumstance and area of life. It is the practice of “the presence of God”. Decisions, both big and small, are made in the knowledge that God is always present, even when no one else is. When this supplement is pursued there will be an increased reverence for the Lord.

6. Brotherly kindness – When we practise godliness there will be a corresponding desire to show kindness to fellow believers. The knowledge we have of God’s will means we are informed of the words of the Lord Jesus.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

An ongoing pursuit of truly loving fellow believers will mean a life of selfless sacrifice as we show love in multiple ways. We must know what true brotherly kindness is; it means showing love to those we might not have a natural affinity with. It will be a love that transcends age and culture. It may require acts that the world would judge unloving as we “speak the truth in love”.

7. Love – Finally there is “agape”. A love that is divine. A love that is from God, and that enables us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. God’s love is great. 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

The perfection of this love seems way beyond our reach. It appears to be something we cannot achieve, but that should not stop us seeking for it. If we are practising all the other virtues then we will be more able to show the kind of love that God shows.

 In 2 Peter chapter 1 verses 8-11 Peter informs us of four blessings that result from these seven supplements:

1. Vibrant and effective faith – “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.8).

2, Past forgiveness of sins remembered – “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (v.9).

3. Present assurance of salvation – “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (v.10).

4. Future rewards anticipated – “for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v.11).

Although you may not be taking supplements for your physical health all believers are commanded to add these seven supplements to their faith. Doing this will bring present and future reward.