Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To My Beloved.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 2 (Quoting select vv. NASB).
Putting Aside (vv. 1-2)
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). We “who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). Thus, we should no longer be walking in sin. Instead, we should, by the Spirit, daily be putting to death every type of sin which might still be trying to get a grip on us (Rom. 8:1-14); daily dying to sin and self (Lu. 9:23-25). And, we should be living according to the Holy Spirit.
This means that we don’t live like we did before we believed in Jesus Christ. We don’t make sin our practice. We don’t make compromises with the world to be accepted by the people of the world or so we will not be rejected, or for our own entertainment. We don’t accept any amount of “dirt” into our lives so we appear “normal,” either. It is ok to be different. We, as followers of Christ, are called to be different from (unlike) the world, because we are being made to be like Jesus. This is what it means to be holy. We are not called to “fit in” with those who make compromises with the world.
So, what should we do? As those who believe in Jesus Christ, we are to make him our only Lord (owner-master), and we are to be his bond-servants. We should now hunger and thirst after righteousness, not after the pleasures this world has to offer us. Entertainment should not be what we go after, but we should thirst for God and for his Word. We ought to pray for the Spirit to speak to our hearts God’s messages to us, and then we must walk in the truth we have been shown. This way, we will mature in our walks of faith, and grow in our understanding of God’s will for our lives.
A Living Stone (vv. 3-8)
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
“And coming to him…” Notice that we don’t “come” to Christ, then it is a done deal, so we go on about our lives living however we want, and one day, when we die, we get to go to heaven. Our salvation is not a one-time deal. It is progressive. We were saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns and our salvation is complete. Faith in Jesus means we are continually coming to Christ, not in new birth every time, but in our spiritual walks of faith. Faith, as well, is not a one-time deal. If you read Jn. 3:16 in the Greek, you will see that “believes” is actually “believing,” just like “coming,” which means it is present tense and it is active, not passive. And, believing means we are walking in the Spirit, and we are no longer living to please our flesh.
We, as part of God’s family, his household, the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit, if we truly are in Christ Jesus, are being built into a spiritual house (building), which is to be holy, set apart for God and for his service. We are to offer up to God spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. This reminds me of Romans 12:1-2, where we are being urged, by the mercies of God, to give our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and to God and to his righteousness (purity, morality, uprightness, honesty, decency).
But, not everyone has faith. And, not everyone who says they have faith really has faith. James said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. But, they don’t have eternal life, because they do not accompany their faith with obedience, so it is not saving faith. So, rejection of Jesus Christ is also not always a mere verbal rejection of Christ, but is a rejection of him which is evidenced by how we live our lives (by our lifestyles). Many profess the name of Jesus, but it is lip service only, because their hearts are far from him. They hear with their ears what he says, but they don’t put his words into practice. They are still making sin their practice, instead.
A Holy Nation (vv. 9-12)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
But, disobedience to the word of God, as our practice, should not be what defines one who truly has faith in Jesus Christ. God chose us to be holy, to be set apart from the world, to obey Jesus, and to walk in his ways. We are God’s possession. We belong to him. Our lives are no longer our own to do with what we want, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ, therefore we are to honor God with our lives. If we are in Christ Jesus, through faith in him, that means God rescued us out of darkness (sin) and he brought us into his wonderful light (righteousness), so we are to proclaim this to the world around us, not try to be like the world.
I don’t know why so many people get this idea that salvation from sin is just deliverance from hell and the hope of heaven when we die, but that God requires nothing of us in between. All throughout the NT we read that we, as Christ’s followers, are to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul, that we are to put on the armor of God, and that we are to walk in the Spirit and to Christ and to his righteousness. This means that we should not be practicing lying, cheating, stealing, gossip, gluttony, adultery, or fornication, nor should we find ourselves being entertained by such as this. Our lives should be above reproach, so that we honor God with our lives, and so others see that we are walking in holiness, to the glory of God.
To My Beloved / An Original Work / November 14, 2011
Based off I Pet. 5:6-9; Eph. 6:10-20; Jms. 4:4-10
Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Put on His full armor in your fight
Against the enemy of your souls,
And resist him with all your might.
Take up the shield of your faith within you.
Salvation’s helmet – you put it on.
Put on the belt of truth,
And walk in the Spirit,
And you’ll not be ashamed.
Love your Lord Jesus; call His Name.
Call on your Lord and Savior, Jesus, and
Make Him Lord and King of your hearts.
Obey all of His teachings He has given
To you to follow in all His ways.
Repent of your sins. Return to your God.
Follow Him where’er He leads you now.
Humble yourselves in full
Surrender to His will
For your lives today.
Bow before Him, and humbly pray.
Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Obey your Lord in ev’rything, always
Keeping His teachings in your hearts near you.
Walk with Christ in ev’ry way.
Resist the devil. He will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and He’ll be near you.
Wash your hands you sinners
And double minded.
Weep and wail o’er sin.
With Christ, your new lives begin.