Add To Your Faith Virtue
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.”—2 Peter 1:5
Someone has offered as a first help to failing lives this suggestion, “To think without confusion clearly.” If there ever was a day when people would have to have eyes in the back of their heads as well as in the front, as far as giving diligence is concerned, it is in our day. You have to watch diligently if you are going to find the right road to Glory. There are so many substitutes and substitutions that you have to go to God’s Word earnestly to find the way.
The thing that makes my heart sad, is that I am asked to speak to so many young people’s organizations, and find so few young people who have been converted and born again. I would not be surprised if half of you never knew what it means to be born again. You know what it means to belong to the Church and to Christian Endeavor Societies, but as far as fellowship, real definite fellowship with Jesus in your heart, is concerned, you have never experienced it. You pray and talk about it, and stammer away at it and try to testify, but haven’t anything to testify about in your heart.
You want to be good, and are just as sincere as can be, and have been living straight. You have somehow come by the way of the cold ice chest route, and have never been shown how to get into the fellowship of Jesus and enjoy the power of the Holy Ghost in your heart. If there is any class of folks in the world that I pity today, it is the young people of our times. They have been dragged up through the Sunday School, told about the things of the Bible, the things in Genesis, and Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and Moses’ writings, and taken to the New Testament and taught something there, but never had anybody get down to business and show them Jesus until they knew that Jesus was abiding in their hearts.
One young man was telling us about his Christian career in the church. He said that as a boy of nine years of age he came to the altar. Nobody talked to him or said a word. When he was about sixteen years of age he felt the throbbing of his heart again, and a desire for Jesus, and wanted to have Jesus in his heart, but did not have the light. He went to the altar again, but nobody said a word to him, and finally a minister came and said, “Your name has been handed in as a probationer, and the six months are up, and we would like to take you into the church.” The boy stood there, and his heart had no joy in it. He did not know what it meant, and didn’t have any enthusiasm about being taken into the church. Who would unless they knew Jesus and His Word?
The man looked at him and said, “Well, of course, if you don’t want to come in you don’t have to.” And for years he drifted without Christ. About three years ago God got hold of him in the powerful conviction, and then he found Jesus Christ to the salvation of his soul, and a real work of grace began in his heart. All because a man was led of God to take the bible and show him God’s plan of salvation.
The Lack Of Assurance
There are thousands like that in the day in which I live. I know what I am talking about, for I talk at conventions and movements like this every little while, and I have talked to some of the leaders in departmental work, who don’t know a thing about Jesus. They will talk their heads off on plans but don’t know a thing about prayer. That is the last thing they think of. They have every scheme up their sleeves to try to get people to work—committees and methods until you are black in the face, but no power, no juice, no light on the matter from Glory. It don’t take long to get tired and quit when you are supposed to be working for Jesus and are really looking for popularity. Plans and parade are a poor substitute for a life of power in Christ. There is nothing so delightful in all this world, as a crowd of young people really saved by the power of Jesus Christ, and there isn’t any sacrifice you can ask them to make that is too much. The old folks sit around and worry about what some folks ought to do, but when you get young persons really saved, you don’t have to tell them to leave the world, they leave it, and have a joy the old world cannot give, and, thank God, cannot take away.
I have no substitute to offer for happiness, for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the down-right old-fashioned religion, for you know “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” It is to this blessed Gospel, young people, you should give all your attention. Into it you should throw all you are, for all that God is and has He has thrown into it.
If you want power with God I want to talk with you tonight. I have said what I have to sting you and wake you up and get you to thinking whether or not Jesus Christ is your personal Savior living in your heart.
The Power Of Testimony
He said to the woman at the well, “If you drink of this water that I shall give you, out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” Let that tide start running tonight. The glory of Jesus Christ begins within and rolls out. This tide is your testimony. With it you wake up folks around you; wake them up to the fact that you have something on the inside of you from God.
We are living in a day of formality, when they are trying to make folks Christians like you make nails—run the wire in and chop it off. We think we can make Christians like they make graduates from schools. But all the courses of studies about Christianity will not make one Christian unless the heart is changed.
One day after a big young people’s service two young women came and said, “Mr. Rader, we never knew the time we were converted.” I said, “Hallelujah. Get right down here now and know it.” I took my Bible, and got between the two, and a young fellow going with one of them was waiting nearby, and I dragged him down, too, and I said, “Do you see that you are lost?” They didn’t think they were, but I read, “We all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way.” I said, “You have gone your own way, haven’t you? What is the difference between your way and that young fellow gambling or that young girl of scarlet life? You are going your way and he is going his, she is going hers. You go after what you want, don’t you? You haven’t gone down in the way people call down. You haven’t gone down and out, like some do, but you have gone up and out, and what is the difference? You are going your own way, and you haven’t taken the life of Jesus to be your life yet.”
They all admitted that that was true, and that there never had come a time when they had said, “The life of Jesus is the life that I will take. His life in me, revealing itself to my heart, until I live by the power of Jesus Christ. I call Him Master and Lord, and He is my Christ and my Savior, my God, the sovereign power of my life. He came to give new life and put that old life away, and substitute that new life in my heart.” In a few minutes they did say it with their hearts, and I thought they would hug me or the boy, but they hugged each other, and they are happy in Jesus and have gone on through the days like that. Whenever you get around where those three young people are you will hear them tell about how Jesus really comes into the heart. They never went around telling that they didn’t know the day they let Him in after that.
“He witnesses,” this Bible says, “His Spirit beareth witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs,” and if you haven’t that witness in your heart, there’s a nice chance now for every man, woman or child that wants to come and settle the thing. You may know beyond a doubt.
“Giving all diligence.” In the day in which we live you have to keep your eyes open, and the best way I know for a man to “think without confusion clearly” is for a man to think of close things. Don’t get dreamy, and away off there on the feather-edge of a cloud—think about the close thing. God always puts His finger on the close things. Don’t get dreamy and philosophize. God puts His finger on sin in your life. S I N, sin, and you know what I am talking about.
If I were talking to a bunch of Chinese and a man were interpreting, on sin, that brings the sorrow into their hearts, they would know what I was talking about, not just the sorrow from death, but sin. God has His finger pressing down on it. That is the question that God talks about.
Listen to what God’s Word says. He says, “Come now and let us reason together” (and this is the way God reasons, in the next part of the verse). “Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” God talks about sin. What is sin? Sin is going your own way. Sin is wanting your own way.
That is the way the devil started, with his marvelous beauty, created by God, he got stuck on himself and his own beauty and power. Read what God’s Word says about the devil, and not what some highbrow says about him. He was beautiful. Don’t think of him with hoofs and horns, he is a mighty beautiful, powerful being and God made him so, and then he was carried away by the joy of his own brightness, by his own beauty, and began to say, “I am powerful,” and then he cried out his “I wills.” He said, “I will ascend into heaven—I will exalt my throne above the stars of God—I will be like the most high.”
It is as if a young secretary in an office turned traitor. Here is the president that picked him up and made him what he is. That fellow gest to be a man and tries to reach in and get the president’s power, and with no gratitude in his heart he reaches up and tries to break up the company and take it; and he goes out the dead-set enemy of the president that made him. Why? Because he wants his own way. He wants to swing something of his own. We see it every day round-about, and that is sin.
The devil said, “I will be as God.” You, with your emotion and your will and your intellect and your body. God has given you a spirit, soul and body, and He gave you all that that you might be obedient to God, and you have taken it, and let yourself run along to suit yourself. There isn’t a more damnable infidelity in our times than appealing to your reason when God commands you. God doesn’t appeal to reason. I have no right to appeal to my child’s reason. It is the business of my child, whether it understands or not, to come when I call. What do you think of the child that says, “Well, tell me why you want me or I won’t come?” All I want is two minutes and one shingle, and it will soon know the reason.
Have you been standing around philosophizing about God? Why don’t you mind God? You will get reasons all you want when you learn to mind. You are the temple of the Holy Ghost. God made you hook up with God, and because you are not in the depths of immorality and the offscouring of the world, you think you are pretty good, and you are running your own life and are stuck on yourself. Your mirror is a delightful thing, and you think about yourself and what is coming to you, and call yourself Christian.
The Christian is the man who sees that his life is no good, and he is lost and undone and going away from God and needs the life of Jesus Christ and Jesus gives him a new heart, and he can love God, and wants to mind God. He cries out, “Old things have passed away, behold all things are become new. He is my Savior, my life, my joy.” We have a lot of substituted stuff in our day, and it is a different kind entirely than what Jesus wants to give the Christian, different from the real life of faith in the power of Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of God knocks at your heart’s door, trying to get admittance. He wants to talk about something close, and He talks about your disobedience and your sin. He don’t speculate about these other things that are a million worlds away, but about something that is close. Will you give diligence to the thing about which He is talking?
I had a friend by the name of Shug, a cow-puncher in Wyoming. He never got any mail. Came from some place in the East, and was a peculiar fellow. He taught me to be a cow-puncher, and tied me on the first horse I ever rode. We were working together, and one day the boss told us to go out and hunt some cattle, a bunch of cattle that was out on the prairie, and bring them in.
So the two of us went together and were riding along, and before long we saw a bunch of animals over on the hills. I said, “There is a bunch of horses off there on the hills,” and he said, “No, that’s a bunch of cows.” “No,” I said, “that’s a bunch of horses.” He answered back, “That’s a bunch of cows.” The dog hair was up on both our necks, and we were ready to growl and bite and fight in a minute. I said, “You will have to admit they are horses and not cows.” “No, sir, they’re cows.” We went on discussing it and discussing it, and pretty soon a jack-rabbit jumped out in front of us. I was on a pinto, an Indian pony, and he jumped after it and we began chasing that jack-rabbit and made it do a tango as we stirred up the dust with the lead. We didn’t happen to hit it, but kept running our horses after him as fast as we could go, and the first thing you know we were face to face with this bunch of animals. There they were straight in front of us.
Listen, I wasn’t fool enough to look a cow in the face and tell her she was a horse. There was no need of that sort of thing. We both had argued. What was the trouble? We were both too far away to argue, and when we got close enough it was easy to see what they were. I felt chagrined and was glum about it, and he said, “Oh, cheer up, old boy.” “Well,” I answered, “how can I, after making a mistake like that?” “Oh, I didn’t know they were horses,” he said, “I took the other side for the sake of argument.”
Now, to think without confusion clearly you have to learn to think about something that is close. God will bring you face to face with your sin, and you will dodge and begin to speculate about hell or heaven or some other thing that God will explain to you later. Some of the hardest problems in the world you will bring up, and say, “I am not clear, and I want to be a real Christian, I want to be honest.” You old hypocrite, if you wanted to be honest you would ‘fess right up that you were a sinner, lost and undone. Any man that wants to be honest with God will deal with the thing God is dealing about, and God is dealing with that thing under His finger, and that is sin.
I claim that the Spirit of God is in the world convicting men, and men know about sin, every last one of them. I have interviewed missionaries, and said, “Don’t all those folks know about sin?” Every last one of them knows about the awful ache that comes into their hearts, and they have no peace because of this awful thing that comes into their lives. They know it because the Spirit of God is against sin.
Men call the actions of men under the sting of sin “religion” without seeing or admitting that it is the sting they are trying to get away from.
They explain their different religious forms of worship; but whenever you get God’s attitude, you will know why they do the things they do. What they go through with, what the world calls a religion, is “an itch they can’t scratch,” and an ache that they cannot put any balm on. And because the hand of God is on every man’s life, because of man’s sin, men are trying to do what? Trying to lift that finger of God pressing on sin.
Did you ever hold a baby’s hand and try to make it be quiet. It will try its best to get loose. That is what humanity is doing. They call it religion, and they will do anything, walk along on the streets with nails in their shoes, and lie on a bed of spikes, and do all sorts of things to get away from God’s finger. If you make a religion of it men and women will follow it. You can get people to do almost any kind of religion. The strongest religion of our day is where some fellow can do something hard or good and think he has made himself square with God. Poor old Luther thought he was getting somewhere by climbing up the steps of Rome and doing penance, trying by something he could do to get right with God.
Some of you think you are leading a religious kind of a life, and are going to be saved by it, and you are as bad as any heathen that ever walked because you think it’s your goodness that will save you. You don’t know what Christianity is. You haven’t the outside conception of it. I don’t care if you are a professor in one of the universities. You don’t know what Christianity is if you think that by keeping an ethical or moral standard you are going to be saved; for it is not by any struggle that we are saved, there is only one thing that will lift the judgment of God on sin, and that is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and nothing else. You are to believe that His death settled the sin question.
You will never find anybody with a shadow of peace in their bosom that doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ and His shed blood. You can take all the isms and cults of our times, and they will tell you they have peace, and smile like the cat that ate the canary, and everything is lovely, but listen, it is going no further than their lips. No man ever got a shout in his heart, a real genuine shout, that did not see that
“Jesus’ blood on Calvary spilt
Was the thing that took his guilt.”
You think you will get some religion of your own, and work out some philosophies, but God’s finger only lifts sin from human life when they see that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty. “The ages of sin is death,” and every man fears. He fears that a cloud may come, that the wind may blow, that some poisoned thing may touch him, and death is pressing upon him all the time.
Sin is the close thing. “Give diligence” and see how God deals with sin; and when you deal with sin in your life, through the blood of Jesus Christ, you will know more about God in five minutes than all the professors in the world can ever teach you, outside of Jesus Christ. I don’t care how long you have gone to church, and how many sermons you have listened to, if you haven’t dealt with your sin before the Cross of Calvary, and seen that it is paid, and can stand up and say, “My sin is gone. Jesus’ death has paid it and I am free,” you will find the finger never lifts in your life, and you will try to do something—join another committee, work your head off, trying to get yourself saved by works; but the finger of God don’t come off that way.
Christ A Substitute
Is it any wonder you cannot get testimonies in a modern church? In our modern churches we are talking about Jesus Christ as a pattern. I tell you He is a substitute. He died that I might live, and because He lives I shall live also. He paid the debt of sin and lifted the finger of God, and in the justice of God, Jesus Christ settled that thing. Jesus paid the debt and said, “It is finished,” and all He wants you to do is say, “Lord, I take the death of Jesus Christ.” When you deal with sin like that, and know He has paid the death penalty, you will get somewhere. Whether you are a preacher or whoever you are, if you haven’t a testimony about the personal, abiding joy of Jesus in your heart, it is because you will not go with your sin to the cross.
It is Jesus who has done it all. That is why people shout and say, “Oh, happy day.” That is what we mean by it. When you see that sin is put away your heart will flow to Him as your emancipator, your liberator, your freer from sin, the one that breaks the death penalty and broke the grave open and gives you life. Then you will not be ashamed of Him.
You think that in the day in which I am talking everybody ought to know the Gospel. The most ignorant crowd of human beings about the Gospel that I meet are some religious folks. I can preach out in the gutters and get fifty or sixty men to raise their hands and say, “I will take Jesus Christ as my Savior,” and get them to kneel on the pavement. But you go to some churches and you find they don’t know the first thing about the Gospel of Jesus. What is it they say? “I will do.” “I am going to do better.” “I am going to do this.” See it for once in your life—it is not what you have done but what He has done for you that counts. It is His merit, and His merit alone.
He never arose from the grave until He had paid the debt in a human body; and you will never rise with the resurrection life in your heart and the joy of Jesus in your bosom until you bring your sin to the cross. Hear what I am trying to say to you, that God will constantly deal with you about sin, until you see that Calvary’s cross has paid it all.
A little red-headed drunkard in Pittsburgh was walking back and to and saying, “I kind of think I am forgiven.” I said, “I want to say to you that when a man is hung he has paid as far as the state is concerned. All the government can do to punish sin is to kill a man. Jesus took death.” He looked at me with his eyes staring, and said, “Rader, if that’s true there isn’t a thing against me if I believe it.” He grabbed my hand and you ought to have heard him shout. Why? Because Jesus had paid the debt and he was free because God said the blood of Jesus pays.
He says next, “Add to your faith.” Let me tell you about that word “add.” In the Revised Version it says, “With your faith have virtue.” But this is one of the most beautiful words in the Book. Faith starts the whole business. There is one faith, the faith once for all delivered to the fathers. From the first of Genesis to the last of Revelation there is the shedding of blood for sin, for “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” God taught it all the way along, pointing to His Son that was to come to shed His precious blood and pay for our sin.
When Jesus died on the cross the veil in the temple was rent in twain by God from the top to the bottom. God’s hand ripped it, and God could come out to man, and man could go in to God. Why? The old score had been paid and now men can talk to God.
Faith is the pioneer, it goes ever first.
You all have it. Don’t say your faith is too weak. Anybody can believe what I have been talking about, unless he has a rebellious heart. Any man can believe that will just make up his mind to do it.
That little word “add” is what? Suppose someone comes in tonight and has a concert, and all these girls have a violin or an instrument. They will take the instruments and monkey with them and toot-toot-toot a minute, and ask Miss G— to give them a certain note on the piano, and then they being with their violins and go “ta, da, da, da,” and the cornetist goes “ho-lo-lo,” and what are they doing? They are all tuning up. To what? The note the pianist gave them, and until they are all tuned up to that note they cannot play. And I don’t want to hear them play unless they are. That is why people make such awful music in the world. Why? You are playing out of tune, and you call it Christianity, but if you will tune up to the faith the word “add” means, “tune up.” So tune up to the faith once for all delivered to the fathers. Tune up to the faith in the shed blood of Jesus for sin.
When my faith claims that I am clean in Jesus’ blood then I have courage. When I know that is true you cannot lick me with a mess of wildcats. I will buck the devil and the whole gang when I know that my God loved me enough to come and take my place in the slave-pit, and buy me, and pay for me, and redeem me, and burst death open and is in the Glory tonight. You cannot scare me. I will testify on the street, and nobody can bluff me now in your little Christian Endeavor meeting. No, no, no, all the devils in hell cannot scare you.
That little girl may be the weakest little thing in your whole organization, but she has a courage like a lion, and you cannot tame her. “Hallelujah!” That is what I want you to get—my Jesus in your heart, and His blood shed for you for sin, and then you will get courage to go out as a witness for Him.