1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, was crucified on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die with him to sin, and that we might live with him to righteousness. Through his shed blood on that cross, for you and for me, he bought us back for God so that we could and would now honor God with our lives – with our minds, hearts, and actions (deeds).
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, we die with Christ to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, to be lived to his righteousness. The old has gone; the new has come. We have left our old lives of living for sin and self behind us to now follow Jesus Christ in surrender and in obedience to his commands (his instructions to us). And, this is what it means to be “born again” (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
It is a living hope, too, because it gives us true hope, for our salvation from sin does not merely forgive us our sins and promise us heaven when we die. Our salvation from sin delivers us from our prisons (bondage, slavery) to sin, and it frees us to now walk in holiness and righteousness in the power and strength and wisdom of God’s Spirit now living within us. And, too, we have the hope that one day we will be delivered from these flesh bodies, and we will be given glorified bodies, and we will be forever with our Lord.
But, this inheritance is not just the promise of heaven when we die. This inheritance begins the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, and it continues on throughout our walks of faith with Jesus Christ. For, what we inherit is eternal life with God, which we have now that we are believing in Jesus Christ. And, this life with Christ is a life of holiness, purity, and integrity, which is only possible because of what Jesus did in putting sin to death on that cross, and in rising from the dead victorious over sin and Satan.
But, this inheritance is only promised for those who are walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we walk according to the Spirit, then we have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
When Jesus Christ saves us from our sins, and we are given this living hope in Jesus Christ, we not only have the responsibility to live for our Lord, and no longer for our flesh, but we also are assigned the responsibility of taking his message of salvation from sin to other people, so that they, too, can know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and so that they, too, can have the hope of eternal life with God, and can walk in his holiness.
Also, he has given the men of the church the responsibility to lead their families and to lead their congregations to forsake their sins and to walk in holiness in God’s power and strength. He has given them the responsibility for the care of his spiritual sheep, who are those who are followers of Jesus Christ. They are to nurture them in the Lord, and they are to help them to grow in their walks of faith to spiritual maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Nonetheless, it appears that the vast majority of the men in our congregations across America are spiritually AWOL when it comes to leading their families and to leading the church to walk in holiness and to no longer live to satisfy the cravings of our sinful flesh. And, so this has left the church wide open for invaders to come inside and to teach what is false, and to lead God’s people, and those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, to follow after a cheap grace gospel which requires no death to sin or living to righteousness.
And, since these invaders are opposed to the true gospel of our salvation, which demands that we die with Christ to sin and live with Christ to his righteousness, they are also coming against those of us who are still teaching the truth of the gospel and who are still teaching that we must repent of our sins and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.
So, those who are still preaching/teaching the truth of the gospel as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it, are facing strong opposition to submission to Christ and to his gospel, for the light of the gospel is colliding with the flesh of man, which is the foundation for this false cheap grace gospel, which is substituting the true gospel. For, the cheap grace gospel has its foundation in what is dishonorable, corrupt, immoral and fleshly/worldly.
1 Peter 1:13-19 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
But, despite all opposition we might face to the true gospel of our salvation, and to submission to Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, we must persevere in telling people the truth, and in calling them to lives of holiness through faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace.
For, God says we are to be holy in all of our conduct, for He is holy, and we are to be like him. And, to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, we are not to do the things we did before we believed in Jesus Christ, i.e. we should no longer be living to please our sinful flesh, but now we should be living to please our Lord in all that we do.
So, we shouldn’t be people who make sin our practice, our lifestyle. We should not be those who make it our habit to lie, steal, commit adultery, lust, gossip, hate, be unforgiving, or watch raunchy movies or videos, tell dirty jokes, and ignore God and his Word in favor of pleasing our flesh.
But, our desire should be for our Lord, to follow him in all of his ways. He should be the reason we exist and live and breathe and go about our days. We should be living to please him, and not our flesh. For, Jesus ransomed us from our old lives of living for sin and self so that we would now honor him with our lives, and so that we would now follow his commands.
And, even if we are opposed, and challenged, and rejected for our faith and for our testimonies for Christ and for his gospel, we should persevere in following our Lord, in doing what he says, and we should keep on sharing the only truth that is going to set people truly free from their sins. For, we should love others more than we love ourselves, and we should be willing to be hated, mocked, falsely accused and mistreated in order to see others go free from their addictions to sin and be free to walk in God’s holiness.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.