Rusted Nail’s Column
Add to Your Faith, Virtue
God is the God of glory. Glory is uniquely God’s. It is not easy for us to fathom why God gave His glory to us, sinners. Why God has done, that is something we find difficult to understand no matter how hard we try. It can only be explained that it is out of His virtuous nature that He decided to share His everything, which is good to us.
People generally like to have exclusive possession of things that seem good to them. However, God likes to share the good things He has. He knows so well how ungrateful beings we are, and yet He gladly showed His kindness to us. He treated us with honesty and kindness; He empathized with our suffering; He showed consideration to us; and He served us. And for this, He humbly lowered Himself, exercised self-control, and sacrificed Himself.
By coming to know God who called us through His glory and virtue, we have come to enjoy everything that belongs to His life and godliness. God desires for us to no longer live according to the desires of the flesh but be partakers of His nature.
Our own merits have nothing to do with how we came to possess the glory of God. It was only by faith. And for us who have received this great grace, God expects us to have virtue above all else. He wants us to take after His nature and demonstrate that. In the same way that God did to us, we need to be honest before others, we need to show kindness, know how to empathize with their pain, and be considerate and serve our neighbors. Yet these things cannot come forth naturally. We would have to lower ourselves, exercise self-control, make sacrifices, and be disciplined. Otherwise, the people in the world who are worn down by lies will not open their hearts towards us.
Though we may have virtue, without knowledge, we cannot share the glory of God we possess to others. Hence, we ought to have precise knowledge regarding the truth as well as the spiritual world. We are unlike the people of the world who worship gods they do not know. Attempting to lead others without having the right knowledge is like the blind leading the blind. On the contrary, regardless of how knowledgeable one may be, without virtue, it is meaningless. For a person without virtue, having knowledge is the path to arrogance.
If knowledge is unable to restrain one’s body and actions, that is not true knowledge. If one knows that the church is the body of Jesus, he ought to serve the church; if he knows that praise is offered to God, he must sing with all his heart; if he knows that tithes belong to God, he ought to give it to God properly. In this way, perseverance is needed in order to continue a life where the word takes control over our bodies and actions. We need to be cautious, however, that perseverance will not lead to self-cultivation that goes on to please oneself. We have to be mindful that we are in God’s presence always and never lose godliness.
A pursuit of godliness in our lives should not be demonstrated as indifference and apathy towards the members of the body. True godliness and holiness cannot overlook love and consideration towards the faith community. Love between members is the new commandment Jesus gave as the foundation to the church’s survival and growth. Love between members of the church should not become closed and a “league of their own”. We need to expand the horizons of brotherly love even to the sinners who do not know God and thus fulfill the will of God who wants to make us a source of blessing.
People who overlook these may self-claim to have faith, but they are the blind who do not understand spiritual mysteries. They will soon forget the fact they were sinners who were doomed to hell. On the other hand, those who practice the above mentioned will never fall, and finally, be more than able to enter the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. He who possesses the glory of God must have knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. But virtue must precede first and foremost.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center