Not of Our Will, But of God’s Will

1 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.”

As Obedient Children

This is a continuation of thoughts that began in the first chapter. There we are instructed to be serious-minded in our walks of faith, to prepare our minds for action, and to set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, when Christ returns to take us to be with him, which is when our salvation will be completed. For we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved when Jesus returns.

As obedient children, we are not to be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance, but we are to be holy in all our conduct, as our Lord is holy. For, we are to conduct ourselves in the fear of the Lord, in giving him all honor, respect, reverence, obedience, and worship. And, having purified our souls by our obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, we are to love one another earnestly from a pure heart.

And we are to put all these things away – malice (hatred, cruelty), deceit (lying, false testimonies), hypocrisy (pretending to be what we are not), envy (lusting after what others have), and slander (lying about others with evil intent to do them harm). For, Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin, so our lives are no longer to be given over to sin, but we are now to walk in purity of devotion to our Lord in his righteousness.

And when this says, “like newborn infants,” it is not suggesting that we live in spiritual immaturity and that we behave like infants. It is speaking of how we should long for and desire and crave the pure word of God. Reading the Scriptures should not be a chore, or a drudgery, or just something we do out of routine so that we can say we had our “quiet time” for the day. We should hunger after the Scriptures like we hunger for food and thirst for drink.

And hungering for the pure word of God is not to be for intellectual knowledge or so we can win arguments. But through the reading and the studying of the Scriptures (in context) we learn what God expects of us, and we learn how we are supposed to live as followers of Jesus, and if we then apply what we are learning to our daily lives, we mature in our walks of faith as we are becoming more and more like Jesus in mind and in conduct.

Godslovenotunconditional

“If” Clauses

And then we have another one of these “if” clauses. When we see this word “if” in Scripture it is usually an indication of something that is conditional. And so we need to pay attention to that word “if” because what we will see is that God’s promises and his grace are conditional upon us doing what he says we must do. His love is not unconditional. For the first thing we learn is:

“But as many as did receive him to them he gave authority to become sons of God – to those believing in his name, who – not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man but – of God were begotten” (Young’s Literal T).

Only those who “receive” Jesus have the authority of God (the right) to become his children. And to receive Jesus is to accept and to welcome into our lives all that he is and all that he has done for us and all that he requires of us in thought and word and deed. He comes as a whole package. We can’t just “receive” the parts that we like and throw out the rest and call it “receiving Christ.” For receiving Jesus goes way beyond just words we say.

Also, we must be “believing” (actively, presently) in his name (his divine character and will). And true faith (belief) comes from God, is authored by Jesus, is perfected by Jesus, and is gifted to us by God, and is persuaded by God. And it is not of our own will, but of the will of God. So our faith will be in accord with God’s will for our lives which is that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we leave our lives of sin behind us, and that now we follow our Lord in obedience to his commands.

So, when this says here, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good,” it is not assuming that everyone listening to or reading this has indeed “tasted that the Lord is good,” which we can only do through genuine faith in Christ. For not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ has genuine God-given faith in Christ. And not everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord truly submits to him as Lord of their lives. So, we cannot claim for ourselves the promises of God unless we meet God’s requirements for us to receive those promises.

For, we are not “born again” of the will of humans, nor of the will of flesh, but only of the will of God. And the will of God for our lives is spelled out for us quite articulately in the Scriptures. We are to be those who forsake our lives of living for sin and for self, who have been transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and who are now walking according to the Spirit in obedience to our Lord, and no longer according to our sinful flesh.

[Jn 8:31-32; Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; 2 Pet 1:1-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 2:24-25; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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