Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2012

My husband loves to golf. He loves watching golf, reading about golf, and talking about golf. And, maybe, just maybe, more than all those things…he loves explaining about golf and experiencing golf with me. Perhaps this is presumptuous of me to assume?? Maybe I’m a little off; he’s never actually told me that, I’ll admit. But, when I see the glow on his face when he explains to me, his little wifey, about the drives he made that day, the goofy way a golfer is swinging on TV, and when his face has lit up with sheer joy when I’ve ridden beside him through the course, watching him make his manly shots…I just know he loves it that I’m there.

He works at a golf course during the summer. He faithfully goes in just before the sun comes up to mow and water greens. I hear a lot about the heat, the dry grass, and the need for water on those golf courses. He tells me about how beautiful the course is on days it is well satisfied with drink, how green the grass is, how soft. The first time I rode with him on a round of golf, I remember he wanted me to experience how soft the greens were that he had spent so much effort describing to me. Truly, golf course greens are quite, quite lovely.

But even they have a limit to their beauty. Even they, after a day of dry heat, I am often told, can start turning brown and begin to wither. The green, glorious, good smelling grass that is full and thick and soft under your feet…withers and fades.

We read about this withering of the grass in God’s word, in 1 Peter 1:24. He compares it to the futility of our lives:

“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers, and the flower falls…”

The verse before it touches on what we have all undeniably been born into – a life that will perish; one that turns brown, eventually exhausts its supply of hydration, and ultimately falls, dead to the ground. That is what this life is; a life born of perishable seed.

But as God reminds us about the kind of life our flesh sees every day, he also reminds us who have believed in grace that we have been born again into a different life.

Born again, you say? Yes, born, not of the perishable seed. But of the imperishable; born of glory, born of the living, born of the abiding Word of God. For, God proclaims, the word of the Lord remains forever. His word, His seed, His life, is everlasting. Yes, this life is of the imperishable seed. For this life, rooted and grounded in the good news that was preached to us, has the flowing river of Christ as its source. This new life, unlike the grass, needs no extra watering. This life, it is like the living river.

Peter tells his listeners in chapter 2, that we have not only believed and been born again, but we have come to Him, the living stone. Do you remember, those of you who search the scriptures diligently…what it was that God brought forth for His people, as Moses led them through the desert?

Water. From a rock. And here we see again, God chose to bless His people through a rock. A living rock.

A precious one. A chosen one, He says. The best of the best. The One Rock who not only was precious Himself, but whose blood was precious. Flowing blood. Life giving blood. Blood that would be the source of thirsty souls forevermore.

And what was this blood poured out? Peter explains this to us as well, in verse 1:19:

…you were ransomed from the futile ways…not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers of God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

This blood Christ poured out was an act; an offering, a sacrifice. And we know, when we read accounts of Christ’s life in the gospels, that this act was an act of obedience. Holy obedience. We, who are familiar with these words and truths, remember that this act of perfect obedience was the offering that God required for our sin and disobedience, and this act of perfect obedience, this life giving river of flowing blood and water, is what all our hope rests on, for all things.

But.

Do we?

Rest on it?

For all things?

For, mixed in with these passages here in 1 Peter, we see a common call that weaves its way in and out among these truths of Christ’s act and the believer’s claim to the imperishable life. And, that call is, as difficult as it so often is to hear…obedience.

What does he call us to obey in this section? Several things.

1:14 Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.

1:15 Be holy in all your conduct

1:16 You shall be holy, as I am holy

1:22 Love one another earnestly

2:1 Put away all malice…deceit…hypocrisy…envy…slander.

2:2 Long for the pure spiritual milk…grow up into salvation

We read these kinds of commands, and add them to our mental to-do list. And, if we are really gung-ho about God and spiritual, we write down lists of verses and post them around our homes and start proclaiming that we’ll be changing our actions and attitudes.

But, how often do we fall back into these old habits of sin and disobedience? How often do we see God’s command to be holy in all our conduct and to be holy as He is, and bypass it? We so often willingly ignore the unattainable and in pride add the disclaimer that softens the command’s sting to our soul and helps ease the blow upon our guilt, “of course we know we’ll never be perfect here on earth…”

I know I do.

But, is this really what this means, here? Is this really a call to perfection?

Listen to 2:5:

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.

Offering spiritual sacrifices?

Look around this verse. Right before it, Peter just told his listeners to “put it all away”, and then next, he reminds us how we have come to Christ, the living stone! The One chosen and precious to God, chosen before the foundation of the world, chosen for our sake, chosen to make Himself known to us through His act of obedience, obedience even unto death! Then, right after, in 2:7, Peter says, “…whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe…They stumble because they disobey the word…”

And so, Peter tells his listeners, put your evil deeds away because you are of the imperishable! You are of everlasting heritage! For, God has laid down his precious and chosen Son, and you are becoming like Him, because you were born into Him, into His new life. And because you are like Him, it is an honor to be like Him. And an honor to obey, an honor to be chosen, an honor to be living, an honor to be holy. They disobey. They do not believe. They, they have no honor. But you, you obey because you are holy. You were born into a holy, everlasting family; and you were chosen to praise Him with your very life.

So, read 2:5 again:

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.

It’s true. Our offerings of obedience will always fail to be acceptable to God; God has chosen His precious Son for this task, as only He could. We shall never attain perfection in this life. But we do not dismiss obedience, for, as 1 Peter 1:2 tells us, we, too, were chosen for obedience. We must remember those last three words in 2:5, “through Jesus Christ.” We offer up the acceptable, spiritual sacrifice of obedience through Jesus because His precious blood was poured out for this. You see, the pouring out of His blood was the perfect, acceptable sacrifice and ultimate act of obedience. And so, we call on the Father, the one who judges each one impartially, according to his deeds. Because, the deed we hold to, is Christ’s. We offer acceptable sacrifices – we offer up our obedience – through the one acceptable sacrifice. Which means, anything we offer up outside of Jesus Christ, is unacceptable to the Judge.

Remember what we read earlier, in 2:7?

“So the honor is for you who believe…”

The word “honor” here in Greek refers to the fixed price and value of something, as well as the honor that belongs to someone or the honor that is shown to someone.

The price has been fixed, beloved; it’s been set, there is no negotiating. And the price God has set is an acceptable sacrifice offering of obedience. This obedient offering, this price, has already been paid; and not just paid but given to many as their own. To those who believe, the honor of a perfect, paid, sacrifice has been given to them. And as we who believe and receive this honor, we become like him, sanctified in every way – alive, obedient, acceptable, holy, and royal. God’s own chosen and precious ones.

You see, the call to obey is an honor. It is an honor to be chosen to be holy, to be asked to be like the living stone. It is an honor to be born again of imperishable seed. An honor to be given the hope of glory and the ransom fee.

So, my question is, do we view the call “to be holy as our God is holy” as an honor? Do we see “obedience” as an honor? When we read through the bible and see lists of commands, do we see them as something of great honor and respect? An honorable sacrifice to be done in the One Whose Name we have accepted as our own? Are we resting and relying on the living stone, the precious flowing blood for our obedience? Because, isn’t it worth it? Doesn’t His grace mean much to you today?

Remember the golf course? My husband loves that place. As I think about it now, after reading this passage, I remember the joy it brings him. And I think what an honor that he would choose me to share that joy with. What an honor, that he would ask me to listen to him, to watch him, to ride along with him, to receive his instructions and accept his words. What if he had chosen someone else to tag along with him? I wouldn’t know the present joy of planting my feet on well watered greens.

You have a future inheritance, beloved. It is being guarded, undefiled, pure and glorious. It is in heaven waiting for you. What an honor that the One who planned it long ago, created it in past time, gave you life through His own, and keeps His eye on you… calls you to obedience. Praise God, praise God, you can offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to Him!

Read Full Post »

Friends,

Here is a sermon link by John Piper regarding 1 Peter 3:1-6.

“…let it not go without saying that God’s purpose for the church—and for the Christian wife who represents it—is her everlasting holy joy. Christ died for them to bring that about.”

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-beautiful-faith-of-fearless-submission

Read Full Post »