"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

    Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

    And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

    And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

    For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

VIRTUE divine 1

KNOWLEDGE divine 2

PATIENCE divine 3


GODLINESS divine 5


LOVE divine nature 7

Deliver Us

from Ourselves

by Roy Gardenier

In 1 Samuel 8 we read about a very significant event in the history of Israel. A delegation of elders comes to the aging Samuel to complain about the unjust rule of his two sons and to demand an unheard of thing: an earthly king to rule over them in order that their nation might become like the other nations. Samuel is upset by this request and seeks the Lord on the matter. God assured his faithful servant:  "Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them". (1 Samuel 8:7-9)

     Slowly, clearly, carefully Samuel spells out the situation and all the unfavorable implications of their request He uses the very words that God has given him. He shows the people that their desire for a king involves a decided change of heart and spells out all the disadvantages of seeking an earthly king to replace God as their Ruler. God does not batter down the locked doors of hearts that are closed, but if the people hardened their hearts in this matter, things would never really be the same again for them as a nation.

      God had led His people out of bondage of the oppressive Egyptian government, had guided them firmly but tenderly throughout the difficult wilderness years, had shown them, step by step how to defeat their enemies and how to secure the land He had prepared for them. As their sovereign King, the Lord was fulfilling in detail every aspect of the covenant that He had made with HIS Chosen Ones. But now the people as a nation were again not satisfied. Now they were demanding of God, through Samuel, something that God had never promised them - the hope of becoming a people who are like the other nations. This demand would cause the people to lose their uniqueness and to fall into a more subtle type of bondage.

God knew that His people wanted and needed human leadership as well as His own Divine Guidance and He had made adequate provision for this. But God also knew that His chosen people, His elect, His called out ones, did not need to be "like all the nations" (1 Samuel 8:5). Israel was insisting upon a change in their position that would irrevocably alter their relationship with the Lord. But God remains faithful; He does not change. Men and nations do! They want deliverance - for awhile; but then, it seems they want deliverance from deliverance which adds up to saying that, in some instances, humans really prefer bondage!

In Jeremiah 17:9-l0 we read: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”

Bearing in mind the foregoing incident in Israel's history, I think we can draw a meaningful parallel in reference to some trends and teachings prevalent in the Church today. In inviting Jesus into our life as Saviour and Lord we accept Him as our King. Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and wanting all that God has to offer us, we allow ourselves to be immersed in Divine Love and begin to experience what it means to be led by the Spirit of God. We exult in the reality of true freedom, "the liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). Under the Lordship of Jesus we become spiritual and take God's commandment seriously: "Make not provision for the flesh" (Romans 13:14). We submit to God's direct guidance and begin to be discipled by God Himself. Like the Israelites of old, we keep our eyes on the cloud and the pillar, as God Himself leads us out of bondage, through the wilderness, into the land that He must conquer and continually secure for us.
When we have yielded to the Holy Ghost we are given the understanding that God uses all kinds and conditions of men and all manner of circumstances and situations to keep us out of bondage and enable us to experience the imperturbable rest that Jesus has secured for us in spite of and in the midst of the tribulation (pressure) of the world.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Praise God! Jesus has overcome the world and in Him we have peace; in Him we have security; in Him we have confidence; in Him we have everything! The wise people of the world will always try to explain just exactly how God operates, but those who are directly submitted to God alone, their confidence, their assurance is not contingent upon the clearest explanations or the most clever systems devised by the most eminent and wisest of humans, for:

"The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

It is so wonderful and exciting to lead a spiritual life! What a glorious adventure; what a magnificent challenge; what a beautiful relationship! God, our loving Father, knows just what we need and graciously supplies it. Usually we ourselves only know what we want. By the living example of His life, death and resurrection, Jesus lovingly teaches us the truth about the two worlds that we continually experience and reassures us that His world is the real world. The Holy Ghost quickens the Word to our spirit, builds us up "into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ". (Ephesians 4:15), reminding us that "without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
       Satan, the enemy of our souls, the great deceiver, is determined that we will not become and remain spiritual. The devil is not at all disturbed about our becoming religious. We can become Baptists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, etc. without phasing him one bit. I'm sure he's not overly disturbed if we become Pentecostal, evangelical or even Charismatic. And you can be doubly sure that our ancient adversary is working overtime to make certain that spiritual people fall into the trap of over-emphasizing some aspect of their spiritual walk. If Satan can get us tangled up in one or more doctrinal-moral disputes or side issues so that our eyes are more on human ideas rather than on Jesus, then he has caused us to fall back into a type of bondage more subtle than the kind from which we were delivered.
Satan would have us become more concerned about the idea that we've been baptized in the name of Jesus only, or that we have absolutely infallible knowledge about how and when to keep the Sabbath, or that we're a bona fide, card-carrying Children of God person, or that we're a sheep submitted to shepherd X who in turn is submitted to pastor Y, who is being discipled by Mr. Big Evangelist, etc. etc. Satan would much rather have us involved in this type of thing than to have us keep our eyes on Jesus as our King and our mind on the mammoth truth so simply stated in Psalm 23:1; "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Our common enemy wants to do a number on us as he did upon our forefathers in the faith making us believe that there is something lacking in our walk with God. If he can't intimidate us in this area, the devil will try to make us strive for something that God has never promised us simply because we, like our predecessors, have an innate desire to be like the other nations. We thrill to the challenge of coming out from among them and being separate (2 Corinth. 6:17 & 18); yet, at the same time we still want to be like the rest of men in that we long to be assured that we belong to or are intimately associated with some one or some group closely connected with, yet distinct from, God. Herein lays the danger: the wrong desire to be like the other nations; the distorted determination to have a king other than God Himself. I believe that this is a rather subtle, but a very real temptation. The Israelites succumbed to it. I'm convinced it involves a failing of faith. God's Word tells us it involves a rejection of God. I'm certain that this temptation is prevalent today.
"Make us a king to judge us" (1 Samuel 8:5) is an imperious demand. I feel that this command can issue from the heart of any Christian at any time, no matter what the circumstances or the duration of his walk with the Lord. God is always faithful, but there is always the possibility of our becoming unfaithful, or at least less faithful. I know that this particular temptation is currently more acute owing to an inordinate amount of emphasis on submission and discipleship which sprang up in the Church in the early 70's. Having a king must have seemed like a good thing to the leaders of Israel. Being a disciple of this particular teacher, having pastor X for a shepherd must seem exceedingly good to many Christians, especially to new Christians, and particularly to Christians, who have recently been led out of some form of bondage, who are very eager to know and to do the perfect will of God, and who are longing for direction as to how to handle their new-found freedom in the Spirit.
I feel that those who are in authority in the Church today must make good and true use of God's Holy Word which does, indeed, contain a history of the human heart. Like Samuel of old, we must be upset at anything that could lead to a rejection of God. Like God's faithful servants throughout the ages we must seek the Lord about the validity of any teachings no matter what the source. Should we see any inherent danger in any teaching, then, under the Spirit's firm guidance, we must "protest solemnly" as well as lovingly pose the questioning plea:

 "Before you Gentiles knew God you were slaves to so-called gods that did not even exist. And now that you have found God (or I should say, now that God has found you) how can it be that you want to go back again and become slaves once more to another poor, weak, useless RELIGION of trying to get to heaven by God's laws! You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don't do on certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you, I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing." (Galatians 4:8-11, Living Bible)