For His Own Possession

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.”

I like this part, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” We have many such “if” statements in the Scriptures which we need to pay attention to. For the word “if” means it is conditional or suppositional (presuming or assuming), such as in “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus…” (Ephesians 4:21) And all God’s promises to us are conditional on us meeting whatever requirements he has of us for those promises to be fulfilled. So watch for the “ifs”.

[Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 11:17-24; 1 Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 1 Jn 2:24-25 – some of them]

Although these letters in the New Testament are largely (if not wholly) written to the church in various locations, frequently we will see “if” phrases which could be saying, “providing that,” or “assuming that,” meaning that what is being discussed is for a very specific group of people and that not all the recipients of these letters may fit within those criteria. So it is letting them know the criteria required in order for the discussion to include them.

And to taste is to eat, and to eat is to partake, and to partake is also to participate, and it is to share in, and it is to contribute to, and it is to be partners with, i.e. it is to be intimately and personally involved in what is going on which includes doing our part. For we all do have a part in our salvation, but not in trying to earn it or to deserve it, but as a heart and faith and love response to our Lord in doing what he requires of us.

So, basically what this is saying is “if” by faith in Jesus Christ you have participated with him in his death to sin and in his resurrection to new life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, and you have been delivered from your slavery (addiction) to sin, and you have been born again of the Spirit of God to now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, then this is the way that you need to live.

You are to put away from your life all malice (hate, meanness, evil) and all deceit (lies, manipulations, trickery) and envy (jealousy, greed, bitterness) and all slander (making deliberate false statements about others with the intention to damage their reputations). And you are to put away from your life all hypocrisy (the practice of claiming to have beliefs and practices to which one’s own actions do not match; saying one thing but living another).

And then, like newborn infants (not childishly, but childlike) crave or long for the pure spiritual milk, we are to long for the pure word of God that by it we may grow up (mature) into salvation, providing we do what it says. For, you see, our salvation is not just about being forgiven our sins so that when we die we get to go to heaven. We are saved out of our lives of addiction to sin so that we can now live holy and godly lives to the praise and glory of God.

We are saved out of lives of living in sin and for self, still under the captivity of Satan, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus whereby we now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to our sinful flesh. For the grace of God, which brings us salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we are still on the earth, and while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23).

1 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.”

The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. They teach that he died what we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life for us, and who was resurrected from the dead. For he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor and glorify God with our bodies (with our lives).

[Rom 6:1-23; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Pet 2:24; Eph 4:17-24]

And they teach that, by faith in Jesus Christ, that we are now God’s holy people, his possession, called of God to holiness and righteousness and to obedience to our Lord and to his commands.

[Rom 1:6-7; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-29; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 1:9; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Gal 5:13-21; Eph 1:3-4; Eph 2:10,21; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22; Col 3:12; 1 Thess 4:7; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:5-9,24; 2 Pet 1:3; Tit 2:11-14; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 2:3-6]

We now belong to God. We are his possession. And we are now to do his will. We are to do the works which he prepared in advance that we should do as his workmanship. For we are created in Christ Jesus for good works. Yes, we are not saved by our own good works, of our own flesh, but works are required of us for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. It is just now that they are the works of God that he is working in and through us as we participate and cooperate with him in his work.

[Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17]

And not only do we now belong to God to do his will for our lives, and not only are we to be living holy lives and no longer walking in sin, but we are to be proclaiming his gospel message to all people who will listen. We are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness (sin) into his marvelous light (truth, righteousness, holiness). And we are to tell people that they must die with Christ to sin and walk in obedience to him if they want salvation from sin and eternal life with God.

1 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.”

If we are true followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ, and if we are following him with our lives in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), we are going to be strangers (sojourners, aliens) while we live here on this earth. We will not fit in with most people, not even with most people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and not with institutional churches which are marketing the church to the world and who are altering the gospel to appeal to flesh.

And that is largely because God has called us to come out of the world, not to not live in the world, but to not be partakers in the things of this sinful world – the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. For we are to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls (surely they do). And we are to keep our conduct honorable and pure (unstained by this sinful world and its sinful practices).

So, make this your practice. Live godly and holy lives for the praise of God, and no longer live for the sinful pleasures of the flesh. And you will be blessed by God. Amen!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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