Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Changed Life

Our ladies Bible Study is well underway and we are getting ready to wrap up 1 Peter very soon! We've learned quite a bit in the last few weeks and have had some great discussions. I wanted to blog after each week, but I've been so busy this has been my first opportunity to write. Sorry if it's too long but here we go.... Peter is writing to "the pilgrims of the Dispersion" which is a very important phrase to understand so that we know the context of the rest of the book. The word pilgrim (parepidemos in greek) means someone from a foreign country residing beside natives, a stranger, sojourning through a strange place. It is used to convey the idea that Christians are natives of Heaven and are foreigners on the earth living in the midst of an unsaved world. The word Dispersion (diaspora in greek) means a scattering and refers to Christians being scattered among the Gentiles. The reason all this is important is that the message of 1 Peter is a call to holiness and godly living for these Christians that were scattered among the unsaved. Peter begins by reminding us of our salvation and our future home in Heaven, urging us to remember this in joy when we go through trials because of our faith. When a Christian lives a holy life, set apart for God's will, it looks strange to the unbeliever. I have heard and seen far too many Christians blending in with the world and use the excuse that "Jesus spent his time with sinners, so I should too." This is a true statement, He did spend his time with sinners, he came for sinners of which I am one. However, He did not sit in a bar and drink with them to reach them. He met them in their homes, on the street, in the cities, and in the temple. He lived a holy life, different, set apart. He did the will of His father while ministering and witnessing to a lost world. If we are going to be a witness of the changed life that God promises through Jesus Christ, then we have to live a changed life. This does not mean you have to clean up your life to come to Christ, but if you truly come to Christ with a repentant heart He will clean it up for you. If we live just as the unsaved then what are we a witness to? I think 1 Peter 4:1-6 pretty much sums up the message of 1 Peter. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (meaning that sin no longer characterizes your life after salvation.... not that you will stop sinning) that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles (unsaved), when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." We will all have to give account to God one day. Has your life been changed by the blood of Christ? Are you living like it? I encourage you to read the book of 1 Peter and come join us on Sunday nights. This is just scratching the surface of the truths in this book.

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