Do we live what we say we believe? Or, is our belief just words? Or, is it just a religion? Or is it just religious practices, rituals and ceremonies?
The Lord Jesus led me to read 1 Peter 2 (Select vv. ESV).
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Vv. 4-5
In the Old Testament, and up until the time Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, God’s house, his temple, was a physical building, built by human hands. God’s presence was found in an inner sanctuary within that temple, which was called the “Holy of Holies.” Only the high priest could go in there, once a year, to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. For, there was a veil which hung in front of this inner sanctuary which kept all other people from entering this room, into God’s holy presence.
But, when Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins, that veil was torn in two, and the way was made for all who believe in Jesus Christ to enter into God’s holy presence. We no longer need human priests to offer up sacrifices to God for our sins, for Jesus Christ became our high priest in giving up his own life for our sins, once for all. We who believe in Jesus Christ are now a holy priesthood, for we can now go directly to God through Jesus Christ. And, the sacrifice we offer up to God is our very lives, as living sacrifices on his altar, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable and acceptable worship of him. We, as well, offer up sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to him.
So, we who believe in Jesus Christ are now his temple, God’s dwelling place. God lives within us, and that is where we find his presence. We are his church, his body, his building, of which we are all living stones. And, Jesus Christ is our chief cornerstone, our foundation, on whom all of us are being built up to be a holy people, pleasing to God, and to give sacrifices to God which are acceptable and pleasing to him. And, we, like Christ, will also be rejected by men, but in the sight of God we are chosen and precious.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Vv. 9-10
When Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, he became sin for us, thus taking upon himself our punishment for sin so that, by faith in him, we would no longer stand condemned, but so that we would be acceptable to God. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, and his blood shed for our sins, he redeemed us, i.e. he bought us back for God with his blood. So, we are now his possession. We are no longer our own to live our lives however we desire, but we are his, the sheep of his pasture, a people belonging to God. Now he is our Lord, and we are his bond-servants, here to do his bidding.
As well, when he died for our sins, he put sin to death, on our behalf, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. In his death and in his resurrection he conquered sin and Satan, so that we might delivered from the power of Satan and sin, and so that we might walk in freedom and in the power of the Spirit of God to righteousness and in holiness. For, Jesus didn’t die just to deliver us from the punishment of sin, but he died to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin. Through faith in him we can now walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. Amen!
But, not only has he delivered us from darkness, and brought us into his wonderful light, and not only has he delivered us from the power of Satan and brought us into relationship with Almighty God, but we are God’s chosen people in order that we might proclaim his gospel message, and how he rescued us from our slavery to sin, and how he has given us new lives in him, free from bondage to sin, and free to walk in his righteousness. We are to declare this to others so that they can come to know Jesus Christ, too.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Vv. 11-12
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. V. 24
But, this proclamation of the gospel of our salvation cannot be in words only. We must walk in that truth. We must live our lives, no longer to please our sinful flesh, but to please God in all that we do, are, and say. Our testimony is our lives, and how we live them, either for ourselves, or for the glory of God. Either we will lead people to faith in Jesus Christ, by our lifestyles, or we will lead them away from him, because of how we live in comparison to what we profess. We need to speak the truth, but we must also live the truth if we want to please God, and if we want others to know Christ, too.
Just a Closer Walk with Thee
I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more,
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom, dear Lord, to Thy shore.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Monday, January 8, 2018, 2:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Help us all, I pray, to live what we say we believe. Amen!