Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (1Peter 2:11).
THE BIBLE IS THE MOST WONDERFUL BOOK. It tells us where we came from, what we’re doing here and where we’re going when we leave this world. It tells us how to get to Heaven and how to live in this world until we get to Heaven. God does some things for us that we have nothing to do with. Which of us had anything to do with our being born into this world? We woke up one day and here we were, hungry and in need of a change.
IT IS GOD WHO MDE US AND NOT WE OURSELVES. We are told: Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
IN THE SAME WAY, IT IS GOD WHO SAVES US AND NOT WE OURSSELVES. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
BUT, WHO DOES GOD SAVE? For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) This is a quote from Joel 2:32: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered (saved).
FOR A LONG TIME, GOD HAS BEEN SAVING PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE SAVED and will call upon Him. I called on him in a bean market one night in October 1943 when I was nine years old.The place was full of people. The old rough lumber altar was full of people on their knees and there was no one available to talk to a nine-year-old boy who was desperate to be saved. That was no problem.
GOD DID HE SAVING WITHOUT ANYONE EXPLAINING THE DETAILS. Been saved ever since! Then came the learning of how to live the Christian life. Still learning. Peter wrote to help people live the Christian life.
STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS. That may not be who you want to be, but that’s who you are if you are a genuine Christian. After the world wears you out, you may think that’s a pretty good idea. Getting our eyes on where we’re going and who we are sometimes takes a while. Many people have labored for years to accumulate lots of toys and one day in their emptiness ask the classic question: “Is this all there is?” People listen to God better when they get tired of their toys.
ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS - Such desires and passions as the carnal appetites prompt to. A sojourner in a land, or a pilgrim, does not give himself up to the indulgence of sensual appetites, or to the soft pleasures of the soul. All these would hinder his progress and turn him off from his great design. Compare Romans 13:4; Galatians 5:24; 2Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:12; 1Peter 1:14.” (Barnes)
AT THE RISK OF BEING LABELED "DEVISIVE" the Christian in heart is faced with commands of the Lord that may be summarized in the verse above and the verses that follow. It is not enough to be “Good Americans” as wonderful as that is. There’s no other nation like America. But the Christian’s inner life is much higher than being a “Good American.” We are rather to be “Good Christians.”
PART OF THAT ROLE HAS TO DO WITH WHAT WE ARE TO ABSTAIN FROM. That's just one side of it, but it does exist and it is not legalism. We don’t do these things in order to be saved. We are to do these things because we are saved, and God desires us to become like His Son. That is God’s ultimate goal for every child of God. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29) That is, that Jesus might have many like Himself in love and purity of soul.
WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK OF US IF WE ARE UNWILLING TO LIVE LIKE EVERYONE around us? The Bible acknowledged that question two thousand years ago: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Peter 4:4). And what does God think of those who think you are “strange?” God has declared the future of those people: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead (1Peter 4:5).
ONE OF THE LEADING CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEYS IN AMERICA once told a group of us: ‘You are radicals.” He meant that he was convinced we were a genuine article and not a fake. We were about to go to court against the State of NC and he did not want to waste his time trying to defend the rights of phony Christians. “Radical includes “deep-seated, thorough, far-reaching, sweeping, major.”
A FOOTBALL THAT LOOKS LIKE AND BEHAVES LIKE A FOOTBALL...IS RADICAL. A Bible Christian is radical because he/she believes the Bible and acts like it. On TV, a radical is one who is unreasonable and dangerous. But, that’s not the dictionary primary definition. Millions of people claim to be Christians who are Christian in name only. A Christian may fall on his face into the pig pen, but he won’t stay there and make himself comfortable with the hogs.
JESUS TALKED ABOUT BEING THE REAL THING ONE DAY: Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).
WE ARE NOT SAVED BY DOING. WE ARE SAVED BY WHAT WE HAVE BECOME: a child of God through the new birth. A thing does what it is. An animal does what it is. A bird builds the kind of nest it’s programmed to build. A born-again Christian has the Spirit of God dwelling in Him and if surrendered to the Spirit, will live like a Christian and abstain from fleshly lusts.
GOD HAS A RIGHT TO MANAGE US. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19). Our job is not to fit in with those who exercise no restraint upon themselves. They are like those of old: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psalm 12:4)
WE ARE PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS ON THIS EARTH. When you become a Christian, you won’t fit in anymore. You are of the household of God and you look for a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews.11:10). In your heart of hearts, you know that’s who you have become: a traveler, a wanderer. Your permanent home is not here. Your citizenship is not here. Therefore, your real home and your real treasure is “up yonder.” Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 25, 2018 – THURSDAY
A.M. Exodus 9-10 P.M. Matthew 18:1-20
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Song for Today:
When Jesus Comes to Stay (2:41) ( Lester Roloff)
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