Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 11:03 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 4:1-11 (NASB).
Arm Yourselves (vv. 1-2)
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he died to put sin to death. In fact, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). He didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, and to free us from condemnation, and to promise us heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When we put our (God-given) faith in him, to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24; cf. Ro. 6:1-23). “Our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7).
So, we are to arm (equip and ready) ourselves with the same purpose (objective) as Christ, which is that we should cease from living in sin, i.e. that we should no longer live our lives for our human and fleshly lusts, but that we should live our lives for the will of God, holy and pleasing to God. This is why he died, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). When we believe in Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, he doesn’t just forgive us our sins, but he eradicates sin from our lives. In other words, he delivers us out of slavery to sin so that we might become bondservants of his righteousness. No longer should we live like we did before we came to Christ, but now we should live to God. Sin should no longer have mastery over our lives, because Jesus set us free!
So, how do we arm (equip and ready) ourselves with the same purpose as Christ? Well, we have to begin with the right foundation. The commission Jesus gave to Paul to preach the gospel describes for us the essence of the gospel message. He told him that he was to open blinded eyes, and to turn them from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God so they could receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (Ac. 26:16-18).
And, then we need to die daily to sin and self, and by the Spirit be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, putting off what we know is wrong and putting on what we know is right. And, we have to conduct our lives according to the Spirit (in the power of the Spirit) and no longer according to our sinful flesh (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4). In other words, we have to get serious and radical about sin and about obedience to our Lord. We can’t toy with sin, or test fate, or take sin too casually, or excuse it away, or use God’s grace as free license to keep sinning. We have to cut out of our lives whatever hinders our walks of faith and whatever leads us into sin, and we have lay aside (renounce) the sins which so easily entangle us so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us by God (Heb. 12:1).
They Malign You (vv. 3-6)
For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
When we get serious about God, and about sin, and about obedience, and we no longer do the fleshly things we did before, but now our goal is to live for our Lord, to please him in all ways, we are bound to face both rejection and ridicule for our step of faith. Some of our friends, acquaintances, family members, co-workers and fellow Christians might even try to shame us or pressure us into doing some of the things we did before. They might, as well, try to convince us that making Christ truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives is not normal and that we need to join in with them in some of their revelry so we don’t stand out, and so we don’t seem odd or peculiar. To them, a life controlled by the Spirit of God, and not by the flesh, is just too weird. They think we need to be more fleshly and worldly in order to be considered sane. They think we need to be more fun and less serious, as though life is to be about self-pleasure, games and parties. It isn’t!
Keep Fervent (vv. 7-11)
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
We need to remember why we were put on this earth, and why God called us, and to what he has called us, too. We aren’t here to make people like us, and to do what other humans do so no one will think we are strange. We are here to give honor, glory and praise to God, and to give him our worship, our submission, and our obedience. We were called to holiness and righteousness, not to self-pleasure and a life given over to entertaining ourselves. We are to live in the fear (respect, reverence, honor) of God, i.e. to take him and his Word seriously by doing what he/it says. And, we are to remember that he redeemed us (bought us back for God) with his blood, and our lives are no longer our own, so we are to honor God with our lives.
We are to love one another and forgive one another, for Christ forgave us. We are to love as Jesus loved us and gave his life up for us. This is God-like (agape) love which prefers what God prefers, and that thinks about what is in other people’s best interest. It does not placate or excuse away sin, though. It confronts willful and unrepentant sin in hopes that the wanderer will come to his (or her) senses and will turn from his sin and follow our Lord in obedience. And, its goal is to restore such a one to fellowship with God and to see him be renewed in his faith and in his commitment to Christ. Then, we are to use our spiritual gifts to encourage, strengthen, urge, inspire, teach, and counsel one another in the Lord so that we can all be built up in our faith and in our walks with Christ, and come to maturity. And, all this is for the praise, honor and glory of God, who saved us from our sins.
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!