Honor Christ the Lord in Your Hearts

1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

There are many people in America professing faith in Jesus Christ who have not turned away from evil to do good. And they have not kept their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit. They are still spewing out lies, many of them in the name of truth. For they have adopted the teachings and philosophies of human beings in place of the truth of God’s Word, and so they are finding ways to excuse away their sinful practices instead of making a full confession of wrongdoing and then truly repenting of the sin.

These modern-day market-driven institutional churches are big feeders of these lies and deceptions, as the gospel that they are mostly presenting is not the gospel that Jesus taught, and it is not the gospel that the New Testament apostles taught, not in whole. For what most of them are spreading is a half-truth (lie) gospel which bases its doctrines primarily on Scriptures taught outside their context and then twisted to say what the Scriptures do not teach (in context).

They are the self-indulgent, the workers of iniquity, the intoxicated to sin who use lies and deception as a cover-up for evil and to excuse away sinful practices. They know right from wrong and yet they continue to do wrong and then they look for ways to excuse away their wrongdoing by calling it something else like, “I messed up.” It is as though they accidentally knocked over a glass of milk and it spilled on the floor rather than the truth of the matter which is that they are still living in deliberate and habitual sin.

First of all, everyone living in sin is responsible for his (or her) own behavior. The Scriptures teach that all of us are without excuse if we deny who God is and if we choose to go the way of the flesh instead of the way of God and of his righteousness and holiness (Romans 1:18-32). Yes, there may be certain situations and factors which lead people into sin, but all humans are responsible to God for what we do with those temptations to sin and for what we do with the knowledge of God which we have been given.

And we are all going to be held accountable to God for what we did with him and with Jesus Christ and with the truth of his gospel. So if you choose to hold on to your sin and to not die with Christ to sin, in daily practice, but sin is what you practice, the Scriptures make it clear that you will not have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption and destruction. But if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

Now when we point out to people what is talked about in verses 10-12 we are not going to be widely loved and accepted. And that is because we are telling people what the Scriptures say which is that the face of the Lord is against all those who are doing (practicing) evil. And yes, God is gracious. But his grace, which is bringing us salvation, instructs 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).

God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin without guilt and without remorse. It is not permission to keep on in deliberate and habitual and addictive sin all in the name of God’s grace. God’s grace to us frees us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we will no longer be enslaved to sin but that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And God’s grace to us empowers us to live godly and holy lives to the praise and glory of Christ who died on that cross to free us from our bondage to sin.

And when this says that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, this is speaking of those who are living righteously (1 John 3:4-10), not just those who believe they were made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. For faith in Jesus Christ is not of ourselves. We don’t get to make it up in order to suit our flesh. True faith in Jesus Christ involves us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him in holiness and in righteousness and in walks of obedience to our Lord Jesus.

So, when we share the truth of what the Scriptures teach with regard to the faith in Christ Jesus which saves us from our sins and which promises us eternal life with God, we are going to be opposed, and we are going to be rejected and falsely accused and persecuted for speaking the truth in love at a time when so many are speaking the lies that itching ears want to hear. For we will be sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death. For they didn’t like Jesus’ teachings, either.

But we are not to fear what humans might do to us. We are not to fear the possibility of the retaliation of the double-minded who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ all the while they are continuing in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord. We just have to do what God says to do, and we have to speak the truth he gives us to speak, and then we must leave the results in his hands. For if our consciences are clear that we have acted justly and righteously and in love, then we just have to rest in the Lord.

Now, the Lord Jesus put the song “Mary Did You Know” in my mind. And Mary had a calling of God to be the mother of Jesus, to bear him in her womb, although she had not been with a man. For she was impregnated of the Holy Spirit of God, and she accepted that assignment of God knowing full well that people would think she sinned and that it might even cost her her life. But she willingly chose to suffer for the sake of God rather than to reject God’s assignment for her life in order to preserve her own reputation.

And that is the approach that all of us who are true followers of Jesus Christ should take to following Jesus with our lives. We should be willing to be hated, mistreated, misunderstood, judged falsely, and persecuted for the sake of Christ and his gospel. And what was the result? Jesus was born and then he died on that cross to save us all from our sins. And when we choose to obey the Lord and to speak the truth of his gospel, we also are contributing to the saving of human lives, too, by our obedience to our Lord.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Mary, Did You Know?

Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re
Holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know?

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