The Whole Point

I Peter 2:1-3 ESV

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

We read in the first chapter of 1 Peter that, as obedient children, we are not to be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance (of our former sinful lifestyles). But, as God who has called us is holy, so we are to be holy in all our conduct (actions, behaviors). And, to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God now living within us.

Thus, by the Spirit, we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are to be walking (in lifestyle) now according to the Spirit of God. For, this is why Jesus died that horrible death on a cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, the sinful behaviors of our former lives, from before we believed in Jesus Christ, are no longer to be currently active in our lives. We should have put those off, or we need to put those off if we have not already. And, in place of those sinful behaviors and attitudes, we should be craving the Word of God in its fullness, much like a baby craves his mother’s milk, but not just intellectually, but in practice in our daily lives. For, this is how we will grow to maturity in Christ when we are in God’s Word and are obeying His Word.

Put These Off

So, some of the things we need to put off are listed for us here, which include malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. I believe these all are interconnected, i.e. that they go hand-in-hand with each other. And, I believe they all stem from envy (bitterness, resentment). For, out of the bitterness in one’s heart can flow all of the rest of these sins.

For, as humans, we can sometimes get the idea that certain things are our rights or that they are something owed to us, and that is because we are self-deceived, which is really where it all begins. For, by nature we are selfish human beings, wanting what we want, when we want it, the way that we want it. And, then if others do not meet up to our expectations, we thus get angry, which then leads to bitterness and resentment, if the anger is not dealt with appropriately, and if it is allowed to fester in our hearts.

And, if we don’t forgive others, and if we don’t get the proper perspective of ourselves and who we are and of how to love others, then the bitterness will continue to fester and it will roar its ugly head whenever we feel that our rights have been stomped on.

And, from that bitterness of spirit comes purposeful hatred, meanness, cruelty, slander, and sinful addictions, too, which are then covered up with hypocrisy and lies, and then are enabled to continue on course via self-deception, i.e. via believing one’s own lies about oneself. So, we need to get into the Word, and we need to follow what it teaches us, for therein we will find the truth, so that we can obey the truth, and so we can reject the lies.

I Peter 2:9-10 ESV

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.

God chose us to be holy, set apart from the world of sin, and set apart to God and to his service, i.e. to his will and purposes for our lives. He didn’t just forgive us our sins so that we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die, though. He rescued us out of darkness (sin, wickedness), and he brought us into his marvelous light (truth, righteousness).

And, as God’s holy people, we are thus to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (v. 5; cf. Rom. 12:1-2). We are to give our lives over to the Lord fully, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable service of worship of him. And, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and to living and walking in righteousness.

For, Jesus didn’t die merely to forgive us our sins, but he died to eradicate sin from our lives and in order that we might now be his possession, i.e. that he might be truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and that we might be his bond-servants committed to following him in obedience to his commands.

And, then, we are to proclaim to others the excellencies of Christ who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are to be telling others about Jesus Christ, about who he is, and about what he did for us on that cross. And, we are to be sharing with them the gospel of our salvation that delivers sinners from their slavery (addiction) to sin, and that sets them free to now walk by the Spirit of God in righteousness and holiness.

I Peter 2:11-12 ESV

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.

You know, for many years I have been teaching the Word of God, from Matthew to Revelation, and including the books of prophecy (which includes the Psalms). And, I have come to the conclusion that there is no way anyone can miss the true gospel if they read Matthew to Revelation, in context. The true gospel message is all throughout the New Testament, but it is also in the books of prophecy, too.

So, for anyone to teach that repentance and obedience to Christ are not required components of believing faith in Jesus Christ, they have to be ignoring most of the New Testament. For anyone to teach that all one has to do is say some words after someone else and then they are congratulated that they are now God’s children and that heaven is now guaranteed them, and it can’t be revoked, is also to ignore most of the teaching about the gospel of our salvation.

Jesus saved us from our sins so that we would be delivered from our bondage to sin and to Satan, and so that Satan and the flesh would no longer have control over our lives, but so we might now be under the control of the Holy Spirit of God and of righteousness. This couldn’t be more clear!

How We Live

So, we are supposed to live as strangers (aliens) in the world. We are not supposed to love the world as we are supposed to love God, and we are not to give ourselves up to the world, as we are supposed to give our hearts, minds and whole beings in surrender to our Lord. The world should not love (embrace) us as its own, either, but the world should hate us because we are not like the world, but because we are becoming like Jesus.

And, we are to abstain (not partake in) the passions of the flesh, like we should not be watching, listening to, or involving ourselves in any way with anything that is a lie, that is immoral, or that is crooked. We shouldn’t be filling our minds with sensuality or sexual immorality, and we shouldn’t be allowing ourselves to be entertained by lies, theft, cheating, murder, etc.

We need to keep our conduct honorable always, especially among all those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. For, if we are no different from the world in speech, behaviors, attitudes, and thinking, what is going to lead them to want to believe in Jesus Christ, too?

But, even if we are honorable in all our conduct, this is no guarantee that unbelievers will be led to Christ, or that they will not mock, reject, criticize and falsely accuse us of wrongdoing. For, they may, at least for now, but later on they may be led to Christ.

So, the whole point of this is that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to live holy lives separate from the world of sin and surrendered to Jesus Christ, our Lord, in walks of obedience to him. And, then we are to be sharing the gospel of our salvation so that others can come to know him, too.

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

7 thoughts on “The Whole Point

  1. Excellent post Sue. I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the OT as of late and as you state, the message of the true Gospel and the holiness of God is woven throughout. I marvel at it’s richness. Grace, peace and blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

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