2 Peter 1:5 – And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2 Peter 1:6 – And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2 Peter 1:7 – And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Hello readers, I hope you had a great week. For this blog, I want to talk about charity. I hope this blog will be a blessing to you, as thinking about charity has been to me. Before the great 1 Corinthians 13 “love chapter” in the Bible, in the final verse of chapter 12 Paul says “and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” And today I am talking about “a more excellent way”.
There’s a way of life and there’s a way in life called charity, which we as Christians must put on if we are to be something and our lives are to amount to something rather than nothing in this world. Without charity, we are nothing. It doesn’t matter how much you know, how much you understand, how much you speak, how much you do, it doesn’t matter how gifted you are, it doesn’t matter your achievements, it doesn’t matter even if you are right… without charity, we are nothing.
At the outset, I want to say that I believe charity is distinct from love in the Bible. A lot of people use the two interchangeably, even substituting the word love in for charity in 1 Corinthians 13. But if God wanted it to say love, he would’ve said it that way. But he didn’t. And the fact is, charity and love are different words, and things that are different are not the same, and they are different for a reason.
So rather than changing the Bible to what we think it should be, let’s come up to what the Bible is teaching us. Because what God is teaching us is something that will change each of our lives. 1 Corinthians 13 is truly the mountain peak of Christianity in the Bible, as it’s a way of life far above this world, our flesh, and our power. It’s a way of life made possible only by the faith and grace of God. It is so high that we tend to think of charity as a reality that we cannot attain to as we gaze upward at a way of life too high for us. But if we could not attain to it, why would God tell us about it? And without it, we are nothing, so charity is something we must have!
In the book of 2 Peter, the Bible says that there are things that should be added to our faith. The starting point for every born again child of God is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That must be the foundation. And maybe it is yours, you believed and were saved. But there is a purpose to why we are saved, there is an end to which we are saved. Yes you believe God, that’s necessary and great… but God doesn’t save us just so we get to go to heaven. God will change who you fundamentally are, something which no religion or self-improvement of man can do. Maybe you are satisfied with who you are and you think you’re pretty good. But maybe you hate your own person and character, and guess what, Jesus Christ can and will turn someone from a life of pride and lust to a way of charity. And wouldn’t you rather be that person?
As I’ve thought about charity, I’ve realized it is something I don’t have. We are told what it looks like, we are told what someone who has put it on thinks and speaks and does, and I’m really none of those things. Do people see charity in me, or do they see an obnoxious, arrogant, better than you, self righteous idiot? And we are so used to copping out on coming short on charity, but there is no excuse. I actually can put it on, because Christ has given it to me to put on, just I refuse to put it on. It’s God’s grace not sufficient for these things? As I’ve gone on in my Christian life, I’ve realized charity is lacking from my life, and I have been nothing, just as the Bible says. Because I can know stuff, believe stuff, and even be right and hold the right positions and even have some faith and hold to some hope… and yet without charity, I am nothing. It’s just incredible, but life is about far more than believing the right thing, though necessary, there is an end to believing the right thing rather than just being right.
You can search for all the times charity is mentioned in the Bible, and it appears only in the New Testament. But as you read each time it is mentioned, you will realize that charity is what this whole Christian experience is about. Charity is WHY we are Christians. Charity is to what end we are a Christians. Charity is the whole point of what we believe. This is why Paul wrote this to son Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” What we have been told, and what we know and understand and believe is meant to produce charity in our lives. God doesn’t just give us knowledge and understanding so we can know and understand… it’s given to us, and Jesus died for us, so we could be new creatures, the sons of God. Shouldn’t the sons of God have a character and manner befitting the sons of God? And so the end of the commandment is charity. All that law and teaching and instruction is to the end of producing a life marked by charity.
There are some verses which especially provide us with an understanding of what charity is. Because people struggle to define it, and really I haven’t seen people able to define it. And yet we are told what charity is. Colossians 3:14 “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” So that’s what it is. To understand this better, think about what we are told in Hebrews 6:1 to “let us go on unto perfection” and Paul writing in Colossians 1:28 “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”. So you know what? We are meant to be perfect! Wow. And furthermore, Jesus Christ himself said in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. Hmm! Know anyone perfect? But we are meant to be perfect.
So what is perfection? It is completeness, wholeness, fullness. So after we are saved, Christ through his Holy Spirit perfects us, and we are made perfect in him. But how many of us are lacking this perfecting power in our lives. A life without charity has not been made perfect and is not perfect. And you may even have faith, and know some things, and even be right… but you’ve not gone on unto perfection. And no, this perfectness isn’t saying you won’t sin or battle with your flesh, but it does mean that as we go along in a life that was birthed in faith and grace, we are meant to build upon that, not just stay there.
What has been added to your life since you were saved, if anything at all? Or you got saved and you’re still the same? Where is the virtue, the knowledge, the temperance, the patience, the godliness, the brotherly kindness, and the charity? And so I have realized from God’s word that charity really is Christian perfection on earth. Man, I haven’t got there, I am not there at all. Why am I coming short? You may think you’re perfect, but if your perfection isn’t looking like 1 Corinthians 13 perfection, you are not perfect in Christ at all. There’s a lot of perfectionists and people trying to perfect themselves, and people satisfied with how perfect they are… and that’s what this whole world does religion or not with their self improvement and new leaves and do better and be better… but they never Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
We should not be lacking in these things, but as I looked at 1 Peter, I realized I have been lacking… and that has resulted in a barren and unfruitful and short sighted life. I haven’t been able to see beyond being right, I haven’t been able to see further on to why God saved me to begin with, to what end he saved me, for what purpose. Yeah, maybe I am right about something, but what’s the point? Without charity, what good is being right doing me or others? Without charity, what good does what I know do for me or for others? And I realized the superiority of the way of charity, because charity, ironically, is something I can be here and now. Ironic, because charity is the thing we think we can’t be. But charity is a state of being, it is who I am, my manner and character, whereas everything else is “in part”. If my life is about what I know, well I don’t know everything. If my life is what I can do, well I can’t do everything. None of that completes me, but charity is Christian completion.
“Above all these things” Paul wrote “put on charity”. Far out. Above what? Because before that Paul is talking about stuff that we should put on, as a result of having been saved and having new life inside us. If you can put it on, it means God has given it to you to put on. As we know, Jesus Christ gave gifts unto men, how about we take them and put them on in our life? And so as we go on, we can and should put on things which God has given us, such as mercy, kindness, humbleness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing, forgiving… and all those are important. But the most important is charity. Above all!
In 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible tells us “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Wow. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God, and faith is what give us access to this grace wherein we stand. So faith is absolutely vital! And yet charity is greater? How can that be! Well it’s because faith is the foundation and starting point… but it’s end is to charity. It’s a faith that has produced a changed person from a new life. We weren’t created just to be right and believe the right things. There’s a way to live life, there’s a spirit in which to live. Christianity isn’t just about being right… and really, what’s the point without charity? Don’t let charity be missing, because that is the whole point of everything! Have faith yes, believe yes, hope yes… but 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all your things be done with charity.” What needs to change is not circumstances and situations in our lives… God needs to change us. I don’t have it, I can’t do it, I need the grace and power of God.
The final thought for me today comes from Jude 1:12 which says “These are spots in your feasts of charity…” as it is talking about fake Christians and false brethren. Notice, feasts of charity! Charity is a feast! Feasts are happy and joyous times… and a life of charity is a feast. You can enjoy your Christian life and bring joy to others. Or you can take that dull Christian life, that barren and unfruitful life, why not take your life to a different plane. Charity is just so necessary. “Charity never faileth”. You want to never fail? You sick of failure? We measure success and failure very differently to God. Get charity! A way that never fails is the way of charity. It is the more excellent way.
The Corinthian church needed a more excellent way, and so do we. I do hope this will change your life. Yes it’s great to have faith and be right and know what the Bible says, absolutely, but we need to add charity to what we know and do and speak and live, because without charity, you’re just going to sound like someone that nobody wants to listen to. All they hear is your lack of charity, not what you think you know! All they see is a lack of charity, not what you can do! We read elsewhere that charity covers a multitude of sins, shouldn’t that be something we are interested in? So let’s put on charity, and let us abound in it, and be fervent in it, because charity will turn your Christian life into a feast, and your success depends upon it. Pray for charity, charity is a more excellent way.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)