War Against Your Soul

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.”

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-32).

So, we are not to live like we did before we believed in Jesus Christ. Sin is to no longer be our master. We are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. So if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, it won’t end in eternal life with God.

So, by the grace of God, and in his power and strength, we cast off such sins as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, sexual immorality, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing, etc. For the grace of God trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14). And we now long to drink from the word of God and to obey our Lord in all things.

1 Peter 2:4-5 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.”

The church is not a building built by human hands. God does not dwell in buildings built by man. The church is not an institution of man nor a business nor a corporation of the state nor a church denomination. Those are all of man. I am not saying God has never used any of them. I believe he has. But they are not the church, the body of Christ. The church is the people of God who have died with Christ to sin and who are obeying him.

The building that is of God, which is the true church, is not made of brick and mortar. It is made of people. It is not physical, but spiritual, although the people are certainly physical in nature, but they are also spiritual in nature, and the church is spiritual, with salvation as her walls (Isaiah 26:1-2; Isaiah 60:18). And we are being built up spiritually as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.

So, what kind of spiritual sacrifices? Well, for one we read in Romans 12:1-2 that we are to present ourselves (or our bodies) to the Lord as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship of God. And holy is separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. And so we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world but to the ways of our Lord.

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.”

Under the Old Covenant, priests served as mediators between man and God, and once a year the high priest offered a sacrifice for his own sins and for the sins of the people, and only he could go into the presence of Almighty God. Well, when Jesus died for our sins, that veil that stood between us and God’s presence was ripped in two, symbolizing that we, by faith in Jesus Christ, can now have direct access to God the Father.

So, we no longer need human priests to mediate between us and God, for we, by faith in Jesus Christ, can go directly into his presence. And, as such, we are to live holy lives in all our conduct, and we are to forsake our sins to follow Jesus in obedience. This is what it means to be holy. Now we are the Lord’s possession and we are no longer our own, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus, and so we honor Jesus with our bodies.

And now we live by faith in Jesus Christ, and we do as he commands, by his power, for he called us out of darkness (sin) into his light (truth, righteousness, holiness). He delivered us from our slavery to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And so we should also share this message of salvation with other people so that they can be delivered from their sins and walk with Jesus in holiness and righteousness.

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.”

As followers of Jesus Christ we are not to be of this sinful world. We are to live in the world among the people of the world, and we are to be the light of the world to the people, but we are not to be of the world. We are not to love the world in the sense that we are not to go after the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, but we are to love the Lord Jesus and forsake our sins and follow him in obedience to his ways.

Since Jesus called us out of the world, to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, and to be like him in character and actions, we are sojourners on this earth. We are strangers. This world is not our home, we are just passing through on our way to heaven. And we need to live as though this world is not our permanent home. Therefore we are to abstain (keep away) from the sinful passions of the flesh which wage war against our souls.

So, here’s the bottom line. Our salvation from sin means death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. It means we are no longer part of this sinful world for we now belong to Christ, and so we are to honor him with our lives. Therefore, we are to keep our conduct pure and untainted by this sinful world because Jesus died to set us free from our sins, but also as a testimony to the world of God’s saving grace.

But if we don’t, and we choose to continue in deliberate and habitual sin, especially without conscience and without genuine repentance, then we do not have salvation from sin, and we do not have the hope of eternal life with God unless we repent and we turn to follow our Lord in obedience to his ways. So these instructions for us here in 1 Peter 2 are not just recommendations. They are commands of God that we are to obey.

So please take them to heart.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Lord, Move Me

An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

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