6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
First, God gives us faith. Second, we develop moral courage and power or virtue from that wanting and choosing to do right, and we desire to know Christ through His word to have knowledge of Him and His will. Then we come to temperance or self-control doing all things in moderation and under Christ’s authority.
Here, Paul uses a form of temperance in using an athlete as a type of Christian.
1Corinthians 9:24 ¶ Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Temperance is the last listed in Galatians 5:22,23 and presumably highest of the fruit or proof or evidence of a Christian having the Spirit of God dwelling in them. Solomon wrote about this character trait.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Of course, temperance applies to such things, as well, as gluttony and drunkenness.
Deuteronomy 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
But it is in the expression of anger, self-righteous judgment, and paranoia that the conservative Christian will often find the most danger in intemperance when dealing with his or her own family or the body of Christ.
Patience is synonymous with longsuffering, one of the fruits or evidence of a Christian having the Spirit of God in him.
Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Peter will emphasize the Lord’s longsuffering toward us as being why we have the opportunity for salvation later in chapter 3. We need faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, and patience. We must be patient to endure suffering. Many Christians in lands in the Middle East and Africa and Asia suffer horrible tribulation and persecution and must have great patience to endure as those in the Great Tribulation at the end of this age must have.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
To have godliness we must have built on the previous values. Do you have faith? Do you have the courage of your convictions to do right? Do you know Christ, and His will for your life? Do you have self-control and have you brought your flesh into a disciplined state? Do you have patience and longsuffering in waiting on God and trusting in His promises?
Godliness is the next listed. To live in a Godly manner is to possess Godliness. Many Christians think that Godliness is a negative trait, based on defining yourself by what you do not do. If they don’t swear, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t watch certain TV and movies, and don’t do really bad things then they view themselves as Godly Christians. But, Godliness is defined more by what you do than what you don’t.
Godliness is manifested in how your religion is expressed.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Godliness is revealed in how you treat others as shown in Jesus’ parable on the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, in the Sermon on the Mount, and in Paul’s writings in Romans 12 and other places. In fact, the Bible can almost be said to be a book on how to live in a Godly manner. This can be attained on one level by your will but on a deeper level it can only be attained by letting God speak to your spiritual heart through His words. Also, you cannot hope to live a Godly life if you aren’t willing to die for Christ, trusting in Him. Christians who live in a state of constant fear and paranoia do not trust Christ nor can they accept His will for their lives.
So, added to the faith God gives, is the moral courage of your convictions, the knowledge of Christ through the words of His Bible, self-control and moderation in temper and consumption, patience and a longsuffering attitude in waiting for Christ’s promises, and then living in a manner pleasing to God.