The chosen ones
Today I diverted my attention to 1 Peter 4 and 5, the subject of tomorrow’s Sunday School lesson. Since we have been studying the book “Enough” the last few weeks, we have not used our Sunday School quarterlies. Rather than picking up with the November 15 lesson, I decided to do a synopsis of the last three weeks: Be holy, The Chosen Ones, and Suffering for Christ’s sake.
Peter emphasizes the same sentiment found in the old Testament, as God is holy, be thou holy likewise. As we have stated already in this blog, holiness is a process by which we come to know and act like God our father. God expects holiness of us, but because of our sinful nature we can not attain holiness in and of ourselves. Because He is God, He cannot lower His expectations. But–and here is the great part–because He is God, He provided holiness for us through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
Peter then goes on to talk about our being chosen. Just as the Israelites were promised they would be delivered from bondage in Egypt, Peter reminded these new Christians that they, too, were delivered from the bondage of sin by Jesus’ sacrifice. And, just as the first century Christians were chosen, we, too, have been chosen and will be delivered if we only believe. Awesome.
Peter finishes by talking about suffering for Jesus’ sake. Suffering is something we in America know little about, other than what we have read. Oh, people may make fun of us from time to time when we take a stand for Christ, but that is little to pay in order to be able to express our love and gratitude for the one who gave His life for ours. Peter makes it clear, too, that if we suffer because of our own actions that is not the same as suffering for His name’s sake.
Peter says we are to suffer according to God’s will. This does not mean what you think it does. God does not will us to suffer. God’s will for us was the Garden of Eden, but man had a different idea. So we now live in a world system not driven by God’s love, but dominated by sin. We suffer because of bad decisions we make; we suffer because of bad actions by others over which we have no control; and one day, the Bible is clear, we will suffer for Christ’s sake.
But praise God, we have been given this wonderful gift of grace. There is prevenient grace that God poured out upon us before we even knew we needed; there is saving grace that is like a life preserver thrown out to us in the midst of a sin-tossed sea; and there is sustaining grace that will accompany you until you breathe your last breath.
Do you seek after holiness each day? Do you understand what it means to be chosen? Are you ready to suffer for Christ’s sake? Do you know it’s all about grace?