Guarding the Soul
God, according to His divine power, has given unto us, all things that pertain unto life and godliness. He has called us to glory and virtue through the knowledge of Him and Jesus our Lord. As we advance in our knowledge, His grace and peace will be multiplied unto us that we may ascend to higher heights. His word is full of exceeding great and precious promises that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. He says to us, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7.
His divine plan for the development of Christian character represents a ladder of Christian progress. So in the second letter, addressed by Peter, to those who had obtained “like precious faith” with himself, we are admonished to give all diligence to add to our 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.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) For if these things be in us and abound, they will make us that we “shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8.
The road that leads to eternal life is narrow, the gate is strait, and so we cannot be slothful if we desire to have a share in Christ’s kingdom. There can be no stand still in the life of a Christian. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, all these are rounds on a ladder that reaches to heaven and we need to climb step after step if we are to reach Christ’s ideal for us. Ours should be a life of continual sanctification, daily drawing nourishment and strength from God the Author and Finisher of our faith. When closely connected to Him even as a branch is connected to the vine, our trials will serve as God’s workmanship to work in us that faith which is more precious than gold which has been tried in the fire.
Having received faith in the gospel the next step will be virtue. This step will cleanse the mind preparing it for the reception of the knowledge of Christ. As we abound in the knowledge of God, we shall be moved by the working of His Spirit in us to mount up to the next step and add temperance. Through temperance, we will know how to keep under subjection our bodies, we will thus be guided by reason and not appetite or passion in all things we do. Though all things are lawful, temperance will teach us that not all things are expedient, not all things edify. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” says the Lord, “touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you unto myself.”2 Corinthians 6:17.
Seeing then that we have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God, we will seek to glorify God in all things we do in word or actions, whether we eat or drink. Our bodies will become the temple of the Holy Spirit. Since God dwells in holiness, we will strive to guard the soul temple against all that will defile it and thereby drive away His Spirit. It is through the Spirit that we are lead unto all truth, convicted of sin, and righteousness. As He quickens the word in our hearts, it will lighten all the dark chambers of the soul. How important is it then, that we keep our eyes single unto Christ? The light of the body is the eye, and if our eyes are single to Him, than our bodies shall be filled with light.
To have this Light, which is the life of man, we will “set no wicked thing” before our eyes. (Psalm 101:3). A consciousness of the ever presence of God will influence and lead us to read, watch or listen to those things that will ennoble and refine the character. Like Daniel, we will purpose in our hearts not to be defiled with articles of food and drink that do not promote good health but becloud the mind and benumb the senses. How else can you “gird up the loins of your mind” and “be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ?” 1 Peter 1:13. Clothed in modesty -not with gold, or pearls or ornaments- with a meek and quiet spirit, a Christian will walk among men as an ambassador of heaven, knowing that his life is an epistle that is read by all men.
Our God who is able to do exceedingly more, will aid us at every step. He has written to us all these things that we may not sin but live a life of praise to Him. If His seed remain in us, we will not sin. But if any man sin we are not to remain hopeless in that condition for, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1John 2:1. We are to humble ourselves before Him in repentance, and seek the Lord once again. To some this may seem as a hard thing and they may comfortably go on living their lives lacking in these things. Such, the apostle says, are “blind and cannot see afar off,” they have forgotten that they were “purged from old sins.” 2 Peter 1:9.
An unrighteous life may appear to give benefits and promise pleasure, but these are all temporal and will pass away. But a life which is hid in God, through Christ Jesus, will remain unto the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore the rather, let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure. If we do these things, we “shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered” unto us “abundantly into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10, 11).