Once Saved Always Saved?

There are some who believe that we can lose our salvation. But I dont see that in scripture.

Our salvation depends on God, not man. If we do not remain firm in the faith, then we were never saved to begin with. If we continue in the faith firmly established, then God has reconciled us to present us holy and blameless – but if we dont remain steadfast in the faith, then we never truly had it in the first place. Paul said many times we are saved if we remain firm in the faith. Jesus said He never knew those who claimed to be His but didnt live righteously. In fact, Paul said those who leave the community of faith were never part of the family of God.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Colossians 1:21-23

21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Romans 9:11-18

11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

Nowhere in scripture does it state you can lose your salvation,nor does it say you can walk away or turn your back upon Christ, or give up your salvation.

ALL that the Father gives to the Son will come to Him. ONLY those the Father grants can come to faith in Christ. All that believe will have eternal life and be lifted up by Christ. When we believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of Redemption. It does not depend on us, but upon God.

We might claim to be believers, but if we do not have the righteousness of Christ, then we do not belong to Christ – in fact, He never knew us if we dont live as God said. People who do not remain part of the body of Christ were never OF the body of Christ.

John 6:37-40,44, 65

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Ephesians 1:13-14

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 4:30

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

You are only saved if you repent, turn to God and trust in Christ until the end. That repentance will be part of what God uses to change us and move us toward him. In fact, it will cause of to have deeds appropriate to repentance.

Acts 26:20
20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
If we are saved, we will walk away from a pattern of sin. If you dont repent, believe, and continue in faith, then Christ never knew you. If you leave the community of faith, then you were never of the family of God.


John was clear we must practice righteousness. Otherwise we do not belong to God.

1 John 3:4-10

4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

This is not to say we wont sin, but we wont live a pattern of sin. If we sin, then we have an advocate in Christ.
1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

Some believe that we stand firm by our own power, but Paul says GOD causes us to stand firm, that GOD anointed us, seals us, owns us, given us His Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

But if we have this faith, we are saved and will not loose that salvation – for you have been sealed by God, and will not be snatched from the hands of Jesus, not even by you yourself.

John 10:27-29

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Not only can no one snatch us out of Jesus’ hands, but He will not drive you away. More than that, Christ will lose none of those the Father has given Him, but everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life and He will raise them up at the last day.

John 6:37-40

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

There are people who say that certain verses show that we can lose our salvation: Revelation 3:5, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 6:4-8, Hebrews 10;26-29, 2 Timothy 4:3. So I thought I would address those verses.

Revelation 3:5 – speaks of those who overcome – these are the truly saved, not the ones who claim to be saved and are mistaken.

2 Peter 2:20-22 – this speaks of people who have learned the truth but are not of Christ – do not have true faith. They were not saved and never had been saved. These people thought they were saved but were not.

1 Timothy 4:1 – this speaks of no longer believing, which means the person who thought he was saved, but was not.

Hebrews 6:4-8 – This speaks of the one who thought he was saved and did not remain in the faith, which Jesus, Paul and John all said means they were not saved to begin with.

Hebrews 10:26-29 – This speaks of those who have learned the truth but refuse to repent and keep on sinning. They were never saved to begin with.

2 Timothy 4:3 – This is more of the same – people who are part of the community of Christ but not of the family of God. These people are not saved and never were saved to begin with.

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Why do we suffer and where is God in all of it?

I have heard so many people crying out, wondering WHY they are suffering, why their child is suffering, or their mother, or…. Its overwhelming sometimes, to think of all the usfffering in the world… And we want to know where God is.

First, let me say I’m sorry these things happen – that we have to suffer. As little comfort as it provides, I am here to tell you, you are not alone in your suffering. While I would never compare the depths of your pain to my own, I too have had to live through difficult times and wondered where God was in the midst of it, or what God was doing.

My only response is that we go through difficult times for a multitude of reasons: to help us find Him, to help us learn something, to provide us with something that can help others in the future, or sometimes because we are fragile sinful humans living in a world damaged by fragile sinful humans, to discipline us (How does God discipline and punish today?).

Sometimes we are being sifted by Satan – Peter was sifted by Satan when Jesus was arrested.

Luke 22:31

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;

Sometimes the consequences of our actions have long and far-reaching effects – sometimes they affect different generations to the third and fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations

Sometimes the suffering we face is due to our own choices: .

Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Sometimes God disciplines people so they might seek his righteousness:
Hebrews 12:4-11

4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

God determines when and where people live so they might find Him.

Acts 17:24-27

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Sometimes we suffer because of our selfishness, or that of others.

James 4:1-3

1 What is the source of quarrels and… conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Sometimes we suffer so the work of God can be shown in the midst of our suffering.

John 9:1-12

 1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”

Sometimes we cry out to God and dont seem to get the response we think we need/want. But sometimes we dont get because we dont ask, or we ask with the wrong motive, or we ask while we are actively rebelling, or we are being disciplined, or Satan has asked to sift us, or to show God’s love and power. Sometimes we dont see God because others in our lives make it difficult for us to do so. Sometimes we suffer because we are doing the right thing and others are not. Sometimes we suffer because we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. Sometimes we suffer because we live in a world adversely affected by the sin of people.

I cant explain why we suffer and where God is in the middle of our suffering,  but I can provide an analogy: I know that sometimes parents have to let their children fall and get hurt so they can learn to walk or to run or to ride a bike. Sometimes we watch while our children hurt or get hurt as they learn to navigate in this world filled with people. Its painful to watch, just as it is painful to experience. But its sometimes necessary. And it doesnt mean we dont love our children or that we are not there for them. In fact, sometimes it means exactly the opposite of that.

Sometimes God says He will do as He sees fit.. He is our creator and is able to do with His creation as He wishes – just as children build Legos creations and can do with them what they wish.
Unless God chooses to explain to us why He chose to allow or ordain certain things to occur, we may never know why until we are in the afterlife. But this doesnt mean we are alone in those difficult times. It just means we cant always tell He’s there.

rebuttal to Five dangers of Calvinism



 

This video was presented as being a good argument to show that the ideas presented by Calvin are wrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch6niCdIv_Q

Maybe I am wrong, but the guy in the video seems to base what he is saying MOSTLY on how he believes, rather than what the text is saying.

Let’s look at his points:

1) Total depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin).

He stated that the “free gift” spoken of in Eph 2:8-9 is salvation, not faith.

There is support for the gift being salvation, and there is support for faith being the gift, and there is support for grace being the gift. “That” is a neuter gender word in Greek – where the words for ‘salvation’, ‘grace’, and ‘faith’ are all feminine in gender. I will skip the Greek, but there are arguments for all three. I think the best support is for it being the entire phrase “by grace you have been saved through faith” and ‘that’ referring to grace, salvation, and faith.  Let us look at the context:

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Obviously, eternal life is a free gift.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But many people want to believe they come up with their own faith – that they believe on their on impetus, rather than because of what God has done.

But scripture is clear CHRIST is the author and perfecter of faith:

Hebrews 12:2
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is more clear when you look at the fact that the work of God is that you believe in Christ.

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent

The problem with saying you can choose and that faith is not a free gift from God is that salvation would then depend upon you, and Scripture is clear it does NOT depend on the person who wills (desires) or the person who runs (works), but upon God.

Romans 9:16

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Those who believe that it is only salvation which is the free gift miss the point that is made in Ephesians 2:10 – we are GOD’s workmanship, created to do the good works which were prepared by God beforehand so we would do them

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Apollos helped those who believed through grace (not those who believed through their own decision)

Acts 18:27

And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace

Faith, grace, salvation – all come from God – not from man.

Some would say its unfair of God to not give faith to all. But its clear that JESUS spoke in parables so not everyone would believe.

Matthew 13:10-17

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 15 For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’

So it is fair? Scripture says God has mercy on whom He has mercy, and hardens whom He desires. Some were prepared for destruction. Some were for mercy. He called from among the Jews and the Gentiles.

Romans 9:14-24

14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles

Now let’s look at his second point:

God will draw all men to Christ for salvation.

The preacher seems to think the fact that Christ draws all to himself (since He has been lifted up) means they are drawn to Christ by the Father for salvation.

But we have to be careful with who is doing the drawing and for what purpose.

Scripture tells us that the FATHER draws people to Christ for salvation.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

But the Father is not the Son.  The Father will draw people to Christ to come to Christ and Christ will raise him up on the last day. Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself. The question is why will CHRIST draw all men to Himself?.

John 12:31-33

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

I think it is clear, if we realize that Jesus came originally to call sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:32

I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

He did not originally come to judge – but to save.

John 12:47

If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

But we see in John 5:21-22 that all judgment was given to the Son.

John 5:21-22

21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

Jesus said He will judge. In fact, Jesus said that there will be two resurrections – one for judgment and one for eternal life. ALL will come forth – some to a resurrection of life, and others to a resurrection of judgment.

John 5:25-30

25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

So, the term ‘draw’ is used for different purposes – one to be saved (where the Father draws some to come to Christ to believe and be lifted up), the other where Christ draws all men for resurrection – some for life and some to be judged.

Some want to say it is not the fault of those who cant believe that they do not believe. This is where Romans 9:14-26 comes in. We see that God has mercy upon whom He has mercy and compassion upon whom He has compassion. Here we see it does not depend upon the man who wills OR who runs. No one can resist God’s will. But some were made for honorable use and others were made for common use. That is to day that God made vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, just as God made vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory. Some were from national Israel, and some were from Gentiles.

The preacher’s next point is that if someone believes God elects some and not others, why would we want to have missionaries.

The answer is simple – people must hear the word of God. This is the avenue God chose to give faith to people. We go to tell people the good news. Some would say its not necessary, since God has to give faith. I reply that by that logic, It was not necessary for Christ to suffer and die, since God can save whom He wishes how He wishes.

But the fact is, God chose to send His Son to become human, life a perfect life, and suffer and die to pay the price for our sins. People have to know who God is and what God has done and what God requires of us, and what God will so. This is why we send missionaries. We do not know who that hears the message will respond, or if they will respond the first time they hear it or the second of the fiftieth time they hear it. We do not know what it will take for each person to come to the point where they believe. God knows.

God works all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

The preacher made the point that God has chosen to save everyone who will believe. And he added “and that’s their choice.”

God HAS chosen to save everyone who will believe. But the choice is God’s. Romans 9, John 6, Ephesians 2. Its not about us and our choice – but about the faith, the grace, and the salvation God gives.

The next point the preacher raised was that in John 3:16, “the world” and “whoever” means that anyone has the opportuinity to believe.

John 3:16

 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

This does not say everyone gets the opportunity to choose to obey or not. This says that anyone who believes – it is a description, not a command.

But the preacher ignores what total depravity actually is – the fact that man is totally affected by sin. Let us see this in scripture:

Man’s heart is evil, as seen in Mark 7:21-23

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Man’s heart is deceitful and sick, which we see in Jeremiah 17:9

9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Man is a slave to sin, as seen in Romans 6:20

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

No one is righteous and no one seeks God, as seen in Romans 3:10-12

10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11  There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12  All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”

The natural man can not accept or understand the things of God:

1 Corinthians 2:14

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

By nature, man is a child of wrath – Ephesians 2:3

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

So then those who believe in the total depravity of man recognize that He does not choose God without God first working in them – which is what we see in Philippians 2:13.

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

2) Unconditional election

The speaker used Ephesians 1:4 to say that God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be made holy and blameless, but did not choose to put us in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

But he ignored verse 5.

In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will

It is evident that God DID choose to adopt us through Jesus Christ to Himself – that is to say that God DID put us in Christ.

Then the speaker mentioned in passing that God is not willing that any should perish .

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

So then to whom does “all’ refer? Note that God is long suffering TOWARD US (believers) not willing that any (who is it that God was long suffering toward? believers) should perish, but that all (who? believers) should come to repentance.

Now DO we have an example in today’s world where any and all would be limited by the object of discussion? Yes: “Eat the cookies. We don’t want any left, but all should be eaten.” This is not speaking of all cookies everywhere. It is speaking of the cookies the speaker is concerned with – those he wants to be consumed, not all the cookies in the world.

His only reason for not accepting that God chooses who will be saved and people still want to be missionaries seems to be because he cant understand – he cant understand that God gets to choose; he cant understand that God’s ways are not our ways, and that what God thinks makes more sense to God than what man thinks – even though this man thinks his ways would make more sense than what God has decided.

He cant understand that God puts a desire to see people saved in those who love Him – even if we do not know who God will save.

This is no different for the Arminian who claims his salvation is based upon his own choice – why evangelize when we don’t know who will be saved? Because we do not know who will be saved nor how. This same answer is true for those who understand that God gifts us faith.

He thinks it would make more sense for God to tell him which few God has chosen in his audience instead of “wasting” his time. How is this any different than it would make more sense for God to tell him which few would choose to believe? Most of his sermon is simply being his beliefs instead of scripture, and he’s rude and condescending while he’s preaching.

Then he turns us to look at John 5:39-40, as if this is saying they could choose to believe

39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

This simply says they will not come to Christ to have life.  This does not say they could or could not.

But what IS Unconditional Election? Unconditional Election is the idea that God does not base His choice of someone on anything He sees in the person.

Ephesians 1:4-8

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

Romans 9:11

for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls

 

Romans 9:16
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

The third point in TULIP is Limited Atonement

The preacher asked the question “Why would Christ have to die for everyone in the world if only some would be chosen?”.

He believes that when Christ died, he died for all the sin of all the world and salvation is for “whosoever.”

But let us look at John 3:16 again. Let’s discuss this idea of “world” the word translated as “world” is actually kosmos. This means universe. It is the word from which we get cosmos. It is translated as form of government, or world, or universe, or humans, or worldly affairs or a collection. Its translated almost exclusively as world. But the word actually means universe.

So God loves His creation that whosoever believes has eternal life – this still does not mean anyone can choose to believe. This is a description “who ever believes has eternal life’. This is not saying any one will have the ability to believe.

The preacher said that God is not respecter of persons, so what criteria would God use to choose one over another, stating that if there were ANY criteria, that God would be a respecter of persons.

Acts 10:34

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

But lets look at the context of this: In speaking with the Centurion, Peter realized that God didn’t discriminate between gentile and Jew – the righteous person who fears God is welcome to God.

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

But again, this does not say whether God had to give the faith necessary to fear God and have the righteousness of Christ – only that people from both Jews and Gentiles (every nation) would be saved.

And the preacher returned to what would the criteria be to select between two people, claiming it was not fair. We are not told. We are merely told that God does create some for honorable use and some for common use.

And again, we return Romans 9:14-25 – God is not unjust in selecting to make one for one purpose and another for another purpose.

Then he brings up Hebrews 2:9 to say that Christ tasted death for everyone.

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

But let us again look at the word translated as “every”: Pas. This word means

  1. individually a. each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
  2. collectively a. some of all types

The thing is, we see in scripture where “all” does not mean “all”. An example is seen in Mark 1:32

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.

 We know not all the sick and demon-possessed of the world were brought to Jesus. So “all” doesn’t always mean “all”.

So what DOES the “every man” refer to? Continue on to the next verse to see – the “every man” is in context to the many sons for whom Christ is the author of their salvation. So Christ is referring to tasting death for those whose salvation He authored.

Hebrews 2:10

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

So then the preacher brought up that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2
and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

I see a number of possibilities for what ‘whole world’ means:

  1. This COULD mean that Jesus atoned for the sins for everyone – whether they would come to believe or not.
  2. This COULD mean that Jesus atoned for the sins for everyone who might believe, regardless of whether they will 0r not. I fail to see how this is any different than the first option.
  3. This could mean that Jesus atoned for the sins of everyone and everyone will be saved. We know from other scripture that not everyone is saved (Matthew 7:21-23), so it can not be this one.
  4. This could mean that Jesus atoned for the sins of everyone, but it only is effective, it is only applied, when one has faith in Christ.
  5. This could mean that Jesus atoned for the sins of all kinds of people, people of every nation – which sounds similar to what we see in
Revelation 5:9
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation

Personally, I think both #4 and #5 fit the text well.

But what DOES Limited Atonement mean? It means that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, but only effective for some. We see this in scripture.

Jesus’ blood was poured out for many – Matthew 26:28

for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Christ lays down His life for the sheep – so… does that mean for everyone?

John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

John 10:15

even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

We see in Matthew 25:32-46 that the sheep are the righteous ones and not the goats, who are the unrighteous ones.

32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

41 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Indeed, Jesus interceded only for those given to Christ by the Father

John 17:6-9

6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours

The church is what Christ purchased with His blood – not everyone.

Acts 20:28

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood

 The fourth point he address is Irresistible Grace.

The preacher used Acts 7:51-53 to show that man can resist the Holy Spirit.

51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

What he, and other arminians, fail to understand is that all men resist God – until God works in them to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:14). It is at THAT point when it is impossible to resist God.

Anyone who says sinners are not really dead in sin or unable to come to God, have to come up with an answer to the question of “how do they cooperate or respond to the Spirit if they always resist Him?”.  The depravity of people will cause them to always resist God, until such time as God works in them.

But which scripture is often used to show that God’s grace can not ultimately be resisted?

John 1:12-13 shows that people who believe in Christ are reborn by the will of God – not the will of man or flesh.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

John 6:37 is used to show that everyone God gives to Christ WILL come to Christ.

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Acts 13:48  shows that those who had been appointed to eternal life believed.

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Philippians 2:12-13 shows that God works in us to desire and to do for God’s good pleasure.

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

John 6:28-29 shows that the work of God is that people have faith in God and Christ.

28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Romans 9:16 shows that whether people are saved does not depend on peoples desires or actions.

16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

The final point the preacher addressed was Perseverance of the Saints. It is obvious this preacher has no concept of what Perseverance of the Saints means. He thinks it means people do not know for sure they are really saved. He spent a bit of time setting up that false argument. It means that once you are saved you are saved.

 

John 10:27-30

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

 

God will glorify those God predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. Nothing can separate believers from the love of God.

Romans 8:28-39

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Everyone God to Christ will come to Christ, will not be cast out, and will be raised up on the last day, and will have eternal life.

John 6:37-47

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

Those who believe have eternal life, does not come into judgment.

John 5:24

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

So those God saves have eternal life, do not lose that eternal life, and can not lose their salvation. This is what is meant by perseverance of the saints.

1 Peter 5:1-14

1 Peter 5:1-14

“Do it God’s way!”

 

1To the elders among you,

Peter is now writing directly to the leaders of the churches. But this applies to leaders everywhere.

 

I appeal as a fellow elder,

Acts 1:12-14. Peter was there when the church began. And by the time he wrote this letter, he would have been getting up there in age as well. Peter is reminding the elders that they have reason to listen to him – he’s earned that.

 

a witness of Christ’s sufferings and

Acts 3:15. Peter not only was there when the church began, but also when Christ suffered. This is more ammo to bring against people who might not have wanted to listen to him.

 

one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

1 Peter 4:13. Peter loads more ammo into the gun he is about to fire. Peter is saying He is a believer, was there when Christ suffered and was there when the church began. He has every right to speak as he is going to speak.

 

2 Be shepherds of God’s flock

Peter is reminding the church leaders that the people they are supposed to care for are GOD’S people. And he’s reminding them that GOD put them in positions of influence. He’s also reminding them that they are to be shepherds – people who guide and protect those under their care. Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:16 – If you are in a position of influence, it is because God put you there. And that’s the case whether you are own a company, or are a manager, or a teacher, or a mother, or a father, or a big brother or sister. GOD put you there. This is true for any of us in positions of influence! And since GOD put you where you are, you need to be the leader God has called you to be.

 

that is under your care,

Guide and protect those God has given you authority over. Don’t worry about people who are not under your leadership – don’t borrow trouble. You’ve got enough to worry about with the people God HAS put under your control. Acts 20:29-30. Be aware of what’s happening with YOUR people – you might have a wolf in sheep’s clothing among your flock. KNOW those whom God has given into your care.

 

serving as overseers—

            SERVE! Don’t lord it over them, be a servant leader. An overseer is a superintendent, a supervisor, someone who manages something for someone else. The people God has given you influence over are there because of God. Do what GOD wants you to do, not what the world says. Don’t try to lead using the world’s patterns, lead by the Word of God! To do that, you MUST KNOW the Word of God – you have to know Christ, and you have to know the Bible. To do THAT, you have to pray daily, minute by minute sometimes, you have to be OPEN with GOD. You have to READ the Bible. You have to study the Bible. THEN you can LEAD by the Word of God.

 

not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;

And we are to lead with the right motivation. God wants us to be willing to be where we are. God wants us to be WILLING to be the leaders he has called us to be. God wants us to have the right heart for the job – don’t be doing it out of pride, or anger or compulsion, or because no one else will do the job (although sometimes God removes other choices for leadership to make it so we have no choice but to become a leader, but if that’s the case, be sure its what GOD wants, and not what others want). Do it because God wants you to.

 

not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

Don’t be a leader out of greed. Don’t worry about the money – if its too little, God will provide. But instead of greed, have the heart of a servant. In fact, Peter says to be EAGER to serve. We have to have the right attitude. God not only cares about WHAT you do, and HOW you do it, but also about the ATTITUDE you do it with. Do it because God wants you to. And if GOD wants you to do something, then he will definitely provide what you need to do the job – just rely on him, and not yourself!

 

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

            Don’t be bossy. Don’t take advantage of the situation. Don’t try to run people over. Don’t be a dictator. Don’t try to act like you are really something special. Don’t try to do it the way the world would have you do it – do it the way GOD wants you to do it. Be the leader GOD has called you to be. Be an example to those around you.

 

4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Being the leader GOD has called you to be, leading in the way that CHRIST led, by being a SERVANT leader, will gain you a crown that will last forever!

 

5 Young men,

Now Peter turns to those who are not leading. It says “young men”, but He’s talking to everyone who is not a leader in the current context. Of course, he’s speaking to those who are not leaders in the church, but it applies to everyone who is under the authority of someone else – wives, children, employees, citizens.

 

in the same way be submissive to those who are older.

In the same way that the leaders are to lead, with the right attitude, with the right motivation, in the right way, the people who are not in leadership need to follow. When the leaders of the church, or a family, or a company, make a decision, it needs to be respected – not rebelled against. Not gossiped about. Not ignored. It needs to be followed! If you don’t understand, then ask. If you don’t like it, then pray! Pray for God to reveal what HE is doing. Remember, God has put these people in the positions they are in and HE will work all things out for the good of those who love HIM. Pray for God to give you the right attitude and the ability to follow humbly. That’s not saying to not speak up, but first pray for what to say. And then pray some more!

 

All of you,

Now Peter is speaking to leaders and followers. He is speaking to everyone in the church. You, me, everyone in the church.

 

clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,

Humility is the act or state of being humble. Humble defined as “not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive”. The idea Peter is trying to express is to wrap humility about yourself and tie it on – like a woman does with a sarong. You have to wrap it just right, and tie it just right – otherwise you aren’t covering what needs to be covered and it will just fall off. You have to work at it at first; it takes practice. But eventually, you will be able to do it without thinking. You need to be humble with one another. Don’t be proud. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t try to act like you know more or are better or are smarter or are prettier or are taller or are anything that someone else in the church is not – you might be all of those things, but don’t ACT like it.  Be humble, not proud.

because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” a

            Proverbs 3:34. God will bless the humble – God will show grace and mercy to those who recognize their need for Him. When you know that GOD is in control and you’re not, then you wont be so proud. Be careful, God WILL teach that to you if you aren’t willing to learn it on your own!

 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Another definition for humble is “expressing a spirit of deference or submission.” Recognize where you belong in the hierarchy. As good as you may or may not be, God is at the top! So humble yourself, because you are no where NEAR as good as God.

When you submit to GOD, through faith in Jesus Christ, He will lift raise you to be in heaven when its time.

 

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

            God cares so much for you that he gave his only son that you might live. If GOD cares for you, what more do you need? You need trust in God. You need to know who God is, and what God has done, and what God is doing, and what God will do. To do that, you need to pray, read the Bible, and pray some more! You need to know that you can trust him with your car, your house, your finances, your family, your job, your church, your life. Once you can trust God fully, on every point, in every thing, you will have no need to worry, or for medication to help you deal with depression or anxiety or any other mental condition. It’s a process. Its not usually instantaneous. So don’t go throwing your medications out the window just yet! Instead, take that first step: trust him with your soul. Then once you do that, trust him with something else of importance. And then something else. And then something else. And then something else. Until you get to where trusting God is natural. THEN you can get rid of the medications.

 

8 Be self-controlled and alert.

Don’t let anything control you. Don’t let your emotions control you. Don’t let your body control you. Don’t let what the world says control you. Be in control of yourself! And be alert! Look at what is going on around you. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Be aware!

 

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

            If you’re not a Christian, then you probably have little to worry about – he’s already eaten you or could do so when ever he wanted and you’d never know the difference. If you are someone who trusts Christ, then the devil is gunning for you. And if you are walking in faith, he’s really out to get you. And the more you walk by faith in Christ, the more the enemy will try to derail you! He can’t take away your salvation, but he can definitely try to discourage you. He can make you doubt. He can make you not want to walk by faith. He can make you ineffective for Christ. Look out for the enemy and his works!

 

9 Resist him,

standing firm in the faith,

You don’t have to worry about what the devil is doing, just be aware of it and resist his attempts to shake your faith or to make you in effective for Christ. Keep  growing in your ability to trust Christ.

 

because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

            Like the people Peter wrote to, you are not the only one suffering. There are other people going through the same thing you are. In fact, some of us have already been there and done that and gotten the T-shirt. The thing to do is to talk about what’s going on in your life. Who knows, you might meet someone who knows someone who can help – or maybe you talking about it will help someone else.

 

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

Remember, God called you to faith in Christ! It was HIS doing. And while you might suffer now, in the end, you will be with Christ and THAT is what REALLY matters.

 

after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

You’re going to suffer. Its guaranteed. But hang in there. It wont last forever. And when its done, God will make it, and you, right.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Always give God praise.

 

12 With the help of Silas,[1] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. [2]

Peter is closing the letter with greetings from different people he is with or has recently visited. But notice something, Peter said Silas was helping him write the letter. If Peter could ask a brother in Christ for help, why can’t YOU? Rely on your family in Christ. What Peter said is true. Live a life worthy of name by which you are called – Christ. Live humbly, respectfully, self-controlled, not frightened, submit to those in authority. Love one another. Resist the devil. Stand firm on God’s grace. We all suffer, but God works all things for the good of those who love him – even our suffering. GOD will make it all right, and restore you is true. Believe what GOD is saying through Peter.


[1] Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 5:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 4:12-19

“Suffering For Jesus”

 

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering,

KJV and the NASB renders this as “the fiery trial which is to try you”. 1 Peter 1:6-7. The image here is that of silver or gold being refined through fire. Silver and Gold are refined through fire – so is our faith. Our faith is made more pure through difficult times, so don’t be surprised at the suffering in your life – regardless of whether it is at the hands of people who are not Christians (as in the case of those to whom Peter wrote), or is suffering of another kind.

 

as though something strange were happening to you.

Greek, “which is taking place for a trial to you.”[1] Peter wrote to people being persecuted, but the suffering Christians go through, all kinds, is not something that just happens. it is MEANT as a way to try your meddle! It is intended to grow your faith and make you draw closer to God. Are you someone who will stand up to the pressure of the trial or will you melt away? John 15:20; Matthew 10:22; John 15:21; 2 Timothy 3:12. If they persecuted Christ, they’ll persecute YOU, a servant of Christ!

 

13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, 

Notice this! There are two ways of looking at what Peter is saying here. 1) Peter is saying that they were suffering the same KIND of suffering that Jesus went through, or 2) Peter is saying that the suffering they were going through was the same as being part of the suffering that Christ went through! But either way, if you are being ridiculed the same was Christ was, if you are being persecuted the same way Christ was, then you are participating in the suffering Christ suffered. What an image! What a blessing – to be part of what Christ went through! Take a look at Acts 5:41. And when we can recognize it for what it is – participating in the suffering of Christ, then we can find ways to rejoice in being counted worthy! We can turn to Christ and be glad to be where we are, we can rejoice in our suffering rather than be depressed or worried or scared.

 

so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Matthew 5:10-12. If you are being persecuted – if you lost your job, been denied a promotion,, been denied a new job, been kicked out of your family, been made fun of, or any other thing has happened and it was because of who you are – a believer in Christ, then REJOICE! You have been counted worthy of suffering with Christ! I know its hard to find joy in suffering – but that’s only because we focus on the difficulty, we need to focus on Christ! When you have your eyes on Jesus, the rest gets blocked out. When your eyes are on your savior, you wont be bothered by the trivial things of life – and yes, the loss of a job or even a loved one is trivial compared to the importance of Christ in your life. God will provide you what you need and you will see your loved one again – if your loved one was a Christian and you are a Christian!

 

14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ,

you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

We just read where Jesus himself said we are blessed when we are insulted because of the name of Christ! If GOD said so, then it MUST be true. It doesn’t matter if you don’t FEEL like its true. It doesn’t matter if your HURT or FEAR is overwhelming – focus on Christ. Sometimes we don’t listen to God or recognize what He is doing, but rest assured, God is working things out for the good of those who love Him. If you are insulted or pained because of the name you go by – Christian – then you are assured that the Holy Spirit rests upon you!

 

15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

I don’t think most of us are murderers, or thieves – but if you are, then you need to get right with God and take your lumps for it. But notice that Peter puts meddling on the same level as murdering and stealing and all other sorts of crimes. Interesting, is it not? 1 Timothy 5:13. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a meddler is “someone who interferes without right in what is not one’s concern.” Are you sticking your nose where it does not belong? Are you getting into people’s business when there really is no problem at all? Romans 14 (esp. verses 1-6 and 11-23). There are certain things that really are of no consequence – some people will think that certain things are wrong, while others have no problem with those things – Paul says we shouldn’t worry about what the other is doing (as long as it is not sin), you take care of your own self and let others take care of their own selves. (As an aside note, there are two caveats: 1) don’t do something to make your brother stumble – Romans 14:13, and 2) don’t let your brother live in sin – James 5:19-20).  What ever is not spoken against in scripture is open for interpretation. But we shouldn’t do anything to cause our own suffering – we should suffer because it is what God wants, not as a consequence of our own sinful actions.

 

16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Suffering is, by definition, hard. But suffering for what you believe is VERY hard. It makes you doubt. It makes you wonder if its real or if its worth it. I promise you God is real. Christ is real. The fact that God sent his son to become human, suffer, and die for your sins, and be resurrected again is real. If you trust in what Christ has done, you’re your eternal life is also real. What’s a little pain or suffering or even death for the name of your God? If you suffer for Christ, you bring glory to Christ. You should give thanks for the fact that you have something worth suffering for. Glory in the fact that you have Christ as your savior! And BRING glory to God through your life. This is more than glorying in the name, saying “I am a Christian, isn’t it grand?” in a sing-song voice. It is living worthy of it all – as means as to glorify God. If a man is known as a Christian and does not live as one, he dishonors God. To bear the name is to take a responsibility, a great and glorious one, but none the less a very real and important and solemn one.[2]

 

17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

This “time for judgment” is a specific, planned, thing. The suffering you are going through is not unknown by God or even an accident. Judgment of this world has begun. It began with Christians. If things are so hard for Christians, imagine what it will be like for those who do not believe. John 3:36; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Judgment is two-fold: 1) do you have Christ as your savior and 2) what have you done with your life as a Christian? We will all answer for what we do. If we love Christ, then we will be found not guilty and will only have to answer for what we have done with what God has given us. Our judgment is of what we, as Christians, do. If you do NOT know Christ, it does not really matter what you have done in your life – you will go to hell. It does not matter if you go to church, or if you give to the poor, or if you give to the church, or if you do thousands of good things – if you do not know Christ, then your judgment will be guilty and it will be final, and the results will eternal death.

 

18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Proverbs 11:31 – Peter is quoting the Septuagint version of this passage. The idea is that while we might suffer in this life, imagine what will happen to those who do not trust what God has done. Matthew 19:16-26. Jesus pinpointed where this man was not following God – for him it was riches, for others it might be a person, for others it might be something else. The man went away sad because he did not want to prove he had followed what God had said – he did not want to give up the life he had for the life that will come. Are YOU following Christ, or are you pretending? It IS hard to follow Christ. Its not about doing the right kinds of thing – its about being the right kind of person. If you are the right kind of person, you will do the right kinds of things. Perfection is required to enter life – to enter heaven. If you have Christ, then HIS perfection is put to your account. Trust Christ. Prove you trust him by letting him change you.  Luke 13:22-30. Jesus himself said many people are trying to get into heaven, but only a few will actually make it. And if you wait too long, the door will be closed.  Revelation 20:11-15. Not everyone will be saved. In fact, If your name is not written in the book of life, you will be going to the other place.

 

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. [3]

Luke 23:46. Jesus committed HIS spirit to the father – he did what the father wanted him to do. You need to be committed to God and do what he wants you to do. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; Romans 8:28. The fact of the matter is that we all suffer temptation. We all suffer different things. We all suffer in different ways. Some of us suffer physical pain. Some of us suffer emotional pain. Some of us suffer depression. All of us suffer. But if you are suffering according to God’s will, it’s a good thing. Commit yourself to God and do good. Commit yourself to becoming to the person God wants you to become. Focus on God, and the suffering (as long as it is not of your OWN making) will count for something. Don’t be distracted by the things of the world. Don’t be distracted by the things you are suffering. Do not be distracted by the desires you used to have. Do not be distracted by the desires you have now. Focus on GOD. Become who God wants you to become. And prove your commitment to God by what you do and how you live.


[1] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. (1 Pe 4:13). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] (4:16) G. Campbell Morgan, Searchlights from the Word, p. 366.

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 4:12). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Peter 4:1-11

“Attitude, Ascension, Administer”

 

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 4:1-11. If you’ve been following along in this series, you know that this was written to believers in various churches in what is now Turkey about 64AD, just a few years before Peter’s crucifixion. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

Earlier, Peter wrote about how we need to submit to whomever God has placed in positions of authority: government, employers, husband. Peter said we need to love and live holy. He also said that all Christians need to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.”

Peter reminded us that We need to always be ready to give an answer for our hope: we are saved through faith in the resurrection of Christ, and we are baptized as a symbol of accepting what Christ has done for us.

 

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude,

Matthew 26:36-44. BECAUSE of what Christ has done, BECAUSE Christ not only was ready to suffer for our sins, but also because Christ DID suffer in his body for our sins, we need to have the same attitude. 1 Peter 1:13. We need to be prepared. We need to ready ourselves. Ephesians 6:10-18. We need to be prepared for battle! The battle is not with other believers . The battle is with the enemy! We need to arm ourselves with the same attitude that Christ had.

 

because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

Romans 6:6-7. Christ was crucified, when we believed in Him, we too were crucified with Him. The idea is that though we may suffer doubt or not want to do what God has in mind for us, we need to be faithful. We need to battle our bodies if it comes to that, and do what God has called us to do. We need to remember that we have been crucified with Christ! If we remember that, then we can remember that we no longer NEED to sin. We have the ABILITY, through the Holy Spirit, to live as though we are dead to sin. We need to live like it.

 

2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires,

Romans 8:5-10. A Christian MUST not live the rest of his life here on earth driven by the urges of the world. We must NOT be distracted by television, by radio, by what we read – unless it is the BIBLE. We must NOT be living like we used to live, or even like we might sometimes want to live. We need to live like Christ lived!

 

 

 

but rather for the will of God.

John 6:40; Romans 12:2. The main thing God wants is for people to believe in what He has done! The fact that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us so that people who believe could have eternal life with HIM shows what God’s main ‘will’ is.

But the other major will of God is that we not stay like we were. We need to be transformed! We need to be changed! And the way we are changed is NOT by just going to Church on holidays or even once or twice or seven times a week. No – we are changed by learning about God – who he is, what he has done, what he will do, what he expects. We are changed by being in a relationship with Christ, by walking with Christ daily. We are changed by praying day and night – hour by hour – minute by minute. We are changed by being with other maturing Christians who will challenge us to not be stuck where we are. We are changed by reading the Bible and letting the Word of God change us.

 

3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

Debauchery is defined by the dictionary as “extreme indulgence in sensuality“. Lust is defined as “an intense longing or craving”. Drunkenness is obvious – drinking to excess. Orgies is defined as “a sexual encounter involving many people”. [1] In the New Testament times, sometimes going to pagan temples involved drunken orgies. Carousing is going to parties of drunkenness. Detestable idolatry is putting ANYTHING in the place where GOD should be in your life. Don’t be like the world! BE like Christ!

Turn to Galatians 5:19-21. When we focus on the things that used to interest us, that used to drive us, we are not focusing on God. We need to remember that GOD did it, and we need to move past the things that the world does, or that we used to do, or that we still do. We need to not do things that keep us from God, instead we need to focus on God.

 

4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

The word for ‘abuse’ is literally, blaspheme[2]. The people who did not believe lied about those who did. The believers Peter wrote to suffered shame and abuse at the hands of unbelievers, because of what they did. BECAUSE the believers would not participate in what was normal life for so many unbelievers, they were ridiculed. The same is true today. Often we get funny looks or snide comments for not living like people who do not know Christ. But you know what, if what those people say is true, change so that its not. If its not true, then ignore it, count it a blessing, and serve the Lord.

 

5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Turn to Matthew 12:36; 2 Timothy 4:1; John. 5:24. God will judge the world, through Christ. If we have Christ, then when we are examined, we will not pay the ultimate price – because Christ already paid it. We will not be condemned. However, if you do NOT claim Christ as your savior, then you will be condemned to hell. Its real. Its final. It may sound harsh – but its not. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. If you do not know Christ, then accept what he has done for you. If you accept that you are not perfect (that you’re a sinner) and that you can’t get into heaven on your own merits or works, that you need what Christ has done – if you believe that Christ is the only way to heaven and that he died for your sins so that you could be with him in his Father’s house in heaven, then you are saved and will not be condemned.

 

6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead,

Romans 1:18-23; Acts 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:5. The Holy Spirit preached to the people around Noah in those times. The prophets preached to the people of Israel. People can see evidence of God in the world.

I’ve heard a story from a missionary who was delivering the the “Jesus” video in remote parts of the Ukraine. After showing the video, one old woman came forward weeping, and she related a story of how she had dreamed three nights before of a man coming to her telling her that she would learn the way to be with God – and it was the image of the same man who was the actor who played Jesus. She accepted Christ fully then and there!

People always have an opportunity to know God. But they have to WANT to know Him.

 

so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body,

            People WILL be judged based upon the choices they make in THIS life. If you choose Christ, then you will not be condemned. But if you choose to NOT accept Christ, if you put it off until you die, then it will be too late, and you will in fact be condemned to the lake of fire.

 

but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

But once you’ve accepted Christ, you need to live according to the Word of God. You need to live with the Holy Spirit guiding you. You need to have the right inside to match the outside. Going to church will not save you. Being the child or parent of someone who claims Christ will not save you. You need to be saved through faith in Christ. At the instant that you have this faith, you are saved. And once you are saved, you need to LIVE like it! You need to not be jealous, or spiteful, or wanting revenge, or trying to “get yours”. You need to be humble, meek, loving, kind, respectful, honest.

 

 

7 The end of all things is near.

Mark 13:31-33. Christ is going to return soon – we do not know if it will happen in a minute, or a day, or a year, or when it will happen. But the end of all things is near. We need to live like it. We need to keep our eyes on Christ and the future we will have – not be bogged down with pain and suffering and worry in this life. The end of all things is near.

 

Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Because the end of all things is near, we need to be sober minded – clear headed. And we need to be in control of ourselves. We need to not be driven by fear. We need to not be driven by greed. We need to not be driven by jealousy. We need to not be driven by lust. We need to not be driven by anything other than the love of Christ. If we do that, then we will be able to pray and pray effectively.

 

8 Above all, love each other deeply,

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. love = agape (same word, both passages). Self-sacrificing love – where one CHOOSES to love rather than has an emotion of love. This is the type of love where one chooses to do what is right for someone else, in this case other believers.

1 John 3:10-13. You should be identified by love. You need to be identified by the love you are supposed to have within you – the love of Christ. If you do not FEEL love, that’s ok. Sometimes we need do the action before the emotion comes. Sometimes we need to feel the emotion before the actions come. But you need to pray to God to help you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. You need to live according to the Spirit of GOD.

 

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Are you someone who gets easily angered or frustrated by others? Are you someone who wants to TEACH everyone the RIGHT way? Do you need to talk about the weaknesses or failures of others, or their children? Turn to Proverbs 10:11-12; Proverbs17:9. We need to be people who love each other. We need to express that love by NOT stirring up dissention. Is what you have to say said in an attitude of love? Is what you have to say said in private, to the person who needs to hear it, rather than to your “friend” or “the pastor” (before you have gone to the person you have an issue with)? I’m not saying you should never go to someone else when someone is in sin, but there is a process for that. Have you followed that process? Do you know that process? If not, I suggest you find out and then follow it. But the first thing to do is PRAY for that person and that situation and yourself.  Be sure you are acting in love, not out of any other motivation. Love one another – for THAT is the will of God.

 

9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Turn to Matthew 25:40-46; Matthew 10:41; Luke 14:12-14. Love of and for Christ involved helping those who need help, especially believers. Does a pastor need a place to stay? Does a missionary need a place to sleep? Does a believer need a place to stay? Hospitality would be you making an offer to put him up, either at your place or to pay for a motel room.

 

10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 29–31; Romans 12:6–8 (more concrete example: Matthew 25:15-30; Luke 19:13–26). Each of us is different. Each of us have different gifts from God. We have different interests, talents, and spiritual gifts. Love for Christ and others involves you using what God has given you for the good of the church universal and the local church. If you love Christ, you will seek out the gifts God has given you and use them for the glory of God. Using your gifts for God’s purposes is the will of God. Administer God’s grace in the ways that God has given, or is giving, you.

 

11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.

A preacher should teach the word of God. A Bible teacher should teach the word of God. A prophet should preach the word of God – and any prophecy of the future MUST be tested by what the Bible says and whether or not the prophecy comes true (once a false prophet, always a false prophet). A believer should talk to people about God, using the word of God. All of us, who open our mouths, need to speak the very words of God! And we need to not be apologetic about it, we need to be bold about it, so that people recognize the power of God. I’m not saying be ‘in your face’, or rude, but be strong and sure of what you say.

 

If anyone serves,

he should do it with the strength God provides,

Acts 6:2-4 division of labor. Again, when we serve God, which is supposed to be daily, we need to rely on HIS power, not our own. Whether we serve tables, or clean the church, or print bulletins, or preach, or teach, or call people, or pray for others, or visit others, we need to do it in GOD’s power. When we do it in our own strength, we will tire and weaken and our attitudes will suffer and we will not be up to the task. But when we pray, and rely upon God, it is amazing how before we start, we might not have any energy, but somehow there’s always enough for God’s work.

 

so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Everything you do needs to bring God praise through Jesus Christ. People need to look at your life and praise God. They need to look at your volunteerism and praise Christ. They need to look at your attitude and praise Christ. They need to hear your words and praise Christ. They need to look at your private life and praise God.

 

To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. [3]

Always remember, the praise and glory always go to God. His is the power that lasts eternally. He is the one who created everything. He is the one who sustains everything. He is the one who gives what we need. He is the one who works all things for the good of those who love Him. He is the one who loves us all. We need to remember, even when things are hard or difficult or bad, God is good. We need to thank him and praise him and let others know where our faith lies.


[1] Merriam-Webster Online.  Available 4/17/2005 [http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=debauchery&x=0&y=0]

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 4:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

1 Peter 3:1-12

1 Peter 3:1-12

“How to Act”

 

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 3:1-12. Those of you who have heard my earlier messages in this series will recall that Peter wrote this first letter around 64AD to Christians who attended various churches in what is now Turkey. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

Up to this point, Peter has reminded the believers that they had obeyed Christ and believed and so were born again, and that God shields them. Even though believers suffer, the suffering comes so God can get glory. Believers have to live lives that are self-controlled, free of the evil desires that consumed them before coming to Christ, obedient to God – holy lives, ridding themselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Believers are to crave spiritual food –Bible reading, prayer, relationships with more mature Christians, and walking in faith – the way a baby craves milk. Believers are being built into a priesthood and a holy nation – as such, we need to be holy. We need to submit to the government, and to whomever God has placed as authority figures in our lives (the law, our boss, leaders in our lives). We are free from slavery to sin, but should not try to use that freedom as a license to sin. We need to live like people of God, showing proper respect to everyone, loving believers, fearing God, and respecting the human government.

In this chapter, Peter continues the idea of How people should treat each other. He addresses three categories of people, wives, husbands, and everyone. So we continue with the text…

1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands

This text is specifically addressing married women. This is not speaking about trying to get women to submit to men in general – the text says nothing about women submitting to men in general. Inherent in this statement is the idea that men are to be the leaders in the family. In the same way that people are to submit to their bosses – the original text was written to slaves, but the general principle applies to employees of all kinds, paid, volunteer, indentures, or slaves – a wife is to submit to the authority of her husband – whether he is a man of God or not, whether he is a good man or not. Peter is not saying a wife should like her husband (though it certainly helps). Peter is not saying to trust your husband (though if there is no trust, your marriage is on definite rocky ground). Peter is saying a wife is to trust GOD and in faith submit to her husband.

I can hear the collective, “yeah, right! Nuh-uh!” going on in people’s heads, So let me start out by defining what submission means. For some of you, this will be review, because you have already heard me speak on submission to authority. Bear with me – this is important.

Submission often causes people in our culture to cringe, because we are a culture which prizes independence. We often think that if we submit to someone, that person has beat us up or is better than us in some way. We think that if we submit, we are caving. That way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let us examine this word carefully. The Merrian-Webster dictionary describes submit as “to yield to governance or authority.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New and Old Testament Words describes it as a military term, “to rank under.” There is no mention of the person doing the submitting is less or more, better or worse, than the thing or person being submitted to. This word does NOT mean to resist with all your might, as some people seem to think is means. But NEITHER does it mean to NOT speak up when it is called for. It means to yield to governance or authority. Submission has nothing what so ever to do with competition or arguing or fighting. It has nothing to do with who is better or worse. It has to do with there being a hierarchy. It has to do with responsibility.

Let me give you an analogy: a Captain is in charge of his ship. The Executive Officer is the second in command. It may be that the Executive Officer is smarter, more good looking, went to a better school, is a better leader, and has more training and more experience with a particular ship. But the Captain is the one who has the ultimate responsibility for the ship, not the Executive Officer. As such, he has to give directions and those directions have to be followed. It is the DUTY of the Captain to seek advice and listen to the thoughts and/or concerns of the people who work for him. It is the DUTY of the Executive Officer to play devil’s advocate sometimes, trying to find holes in the Captain’s plans. It is the DUTY of the Executive Officer to share his thoughts on the ship and plans the Captain may have. But ultimately is the Captain’s responsibility on how the ship is run and to see to it that the orders of the Admiral are followed. The Executive Officer submits, yields, to the authority of the Captain. But by the same token, the Captain submits, or yields, to the authority of the Admiral. If a Captain goes off on his own and ignores the advice of his Executive Officer, then he will eventually run the ship to ground. If the Captain ignores the directions given to him by the Admiral, then he will have to suffer judgment.

This is true for a family as well. Ephesians 5:22-24. God put man in charge of the family, and put a woman, his wife, under his authority. She may be smarter than him. She may be better at doing the bills. She may be stronger or in better health than him. She may be a better leader than him. But GOD put the man in the leadership position of the family. God is the Admiral, in our analogy. The husband is the Captain, and the wife is the Executive Officer. The husband is ultimately responsible before God for how the family runs. HE will be judged by how well he does it. The wife is responsible to GOD to follow her husband’s lead. SHE will be judged by how well she does it.[1]

So. Why submit…?

 so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

If someone claims Christ as their savior, but there is no change, one has to wonder if that claim is real. If someone claims Christ and yet continues to live a pattern of sin, one has to wonder if that person knows Christ or simply does not get what it means to be an adopted child of God. If your husband is not living like he needs to be, it may be he does not know Christ. Peter is saying that if they do not believe, YOUR LIFE has to be so much a reflection of Christ that they are won to Christ by your  example.

“George Müller [who was a such a strong man of faith in God that over the course of his 60 years as a Christ, founded a Christian Institute, orphanages, and a missionary society without ever asking a single person for money – he would pray and God would provide.] told of a wealthy German whose wife was a devout believer. This man was a heavy drinker, spending late nights in the tavern. She would send the servants to bed, stay up till he returned, receive him kindly, and never scold him or complain. At times she would even have to undress him and put him to bed.

One night in the tavern he said to his cronies, “I bet if we go to my house, my wife will be sitting up, waiting for me. She’ll come to the door, give us a royal welcome, and even make supper for us, if I ask her.”

They were skeptical at first, but decided to go along and see. Sure enough, she came to the door, received them courteously, and willingly agreed to make supper for them without the slightest trace of resentment. After serving them, she went off to her room. As soon as she had left, one of the men began to condemn the husband. “What kind of a man are you to treat such a good woman so miserably?” The accuser got up without finishing his supper and left the house. Another did the same and another till they had all departed without eating the meal.

Within a half hour, the husband became deeply convicted of his wickedness, and especially of his heartless treatment of his wife. He went to his wife’s room, asked her to pray for him, repented of his sins, and surrendered to Christ. From that time on, he became a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus. Won without a word!

George Müller advised:

Don’t be discouraged if you have to suffer from unconverted relatives. Perhaps very shortly the Lord may give you the desire of your heart, and answer your prayer for them. But in the meantime, seek to commend the truth, not by reproaching them on account of their behavior toward you, but by manifesting toward them the meekness, gentleness and kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ.” [2],[3]

 

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

            Peter is not saying that women should not do their hair, wear jewelry or wear nice clothes. He is saying that your beauty comes from the inside. A gentle and quiet spirit is someone who trusts in the Lord, rather than henpecks or browbeats her husband, and prays and lives a life that points to God, not to herself. This sort of person is worth a great deal to God.

5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.

Women in the old testament were commended for putting their trust in God, rather than in themselves or their husbands. They showed their trust in God by yielding to the authority of their husbands. Gen 18:10-12 – In her HEAD, sarah called Abraham her master – the one in charge – like the master of a ship. Its not that he was better than her, but that she recognized that GOD had put him in charge of the family. She wasn’t going around saying to people, Abraham is my master.” If you know anything about Sarah, she also was not someone who was afraid to share her mind.

You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

            While Jewish women are descendants of Sarah, women who follow Sarah’s lead in this – who do not give in to fears of the world or fears of life or fears of their husbands. Women who rely on God and do what HE says – are daughters of Sarah. We needn’t worry about what will happen when our husband will not work or pay the bills. We needn’t worry because when we do what God says, we are blessed. We might have dificutlies in this world, but God is the ruler of all. He created it all. We need not worry in this life – Turn to Matthew 6:26, if he can provide food for the birds which do not work for it, he can provide what you need. We need to worry about what will happen if we displease God.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and

A Christian husband is to be considerate of his wife. He is to think of her. He is to be thoughtful of her. He is to be someone who takes her thoughts and feelings and words and actions into account when he goes through the day.

treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Look at 1 Peter 2:17. a Christian man is to respect everyone, this includes his wife.

Ephesians 5:25-33. Notice the terms love, feed & care. In today’s world, it can be considered an insult to call a woman someone of the weaker sex. But Peter was speaking of the truth: men and women are built differently. The average woman is not as strong as the average man. Most women are left-brained and are more prone to random, intuitive thinking. Most men tend to be right-brained  and are logical, sequential, rational. Both are valid ways of thinking. Women tend to be more aware of, and focus on, their emotions and often prefer to deal with other’s emotions. Men tend to ignore or avoid their feelings more and would rather deal with the concrete things. Both are necessary and valid ways of going through life. Women tend to speak more than men. Men tend to “get to the point”, and thus use their words less. Both are valid ways of communicating. Women tend to intuit things very well. Men tend to try to find the “logic” in things. Both of them are useful and valid ways of thinking. We’re different. But while we are different, we BOTH need to rely on God.

A Christian man must be understanding of his wife. Men have to realize that two of the most important things in the world to most women are her family and security. As a man of Christ, we must live with our wife considerately and respectfully. We do not need to act like a cave man. While God has put us in the position of head of the family, we are not to rule like a dictator with an iron fist. But neither are Christian men to live as emasculated men. You are to live as the leader in your family. Follow the example of Christ – be a servant leader.

What does your family need? What will help them grow in their knowledge and faith in Christ? I ask because, although we are each responsible for our walk with Christ, Paul said it is the man’s responsibility to see his wife cleansed by the Word and present her holy and blameless to Christ! Are you doing what you need to be doing to do just that?

Help your wife deal with her worries, don’t ignore them or make fun of them. God put you with her for a reason! And it wasn’t just to make babies. You need to value what your wife brings to the marriage. There is a place for intuition. There is a place for random thinking. Some of the best brainstorming (when you get together people and try to come up with any and all solutions) happens with random thinkers.

Husbands, live in a way that encourages your wife and that helps her feel fed and cared for in all ways – intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, AND physically.

If we do that, nothing will hinder our prayers. But men, if we do NOT do that, then how can we expect our prayers to be heard or answered?

This next part is written to everyone, husbands, wives, and those who are not married:

8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,

Turn to Matthew 5:39; Romans 12:17. EVERYONE needs to get along. We need to not be judgmental of others, we need to be sympathetic – this is most especially true when people are not doing what we think they ought to be doing. If we think they are in sin, there are steps to follow to try to help them get things straightened out. But we are to love our Christian brothers and sisters, being compassionate and humble. When someone insults us, or hurts us, or someone we are responsible for (like our child), we are not to “get even”, we are not to respond in kind when someone insults us. We need to bless them rather than hurt them. Don’t try to “get even” with the person who hurts or insults you. Don’t tell others what a terrible excuse for a human being the person who hurts or insults you is. Pray for that person.

 

because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

We need to live in love and pray for those who hurt us because we are called to Christ’s followers – we are to model our lives after Christ. Christ himself said to turn the other cheek. If he said it, and we are truly children of God, then we need to follow not only what he said, but also his example – he could have called the angels to protect him, or destroyed Israel or the Roman empire if that was what he chose to do. Instead, he submitted to the human authorities. He turned the other cheek, so to speak. And thank GOD he did! Otherwise, we would be doomed to hell!

                                        10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” a [4]

Psalm 34.12-16. Peter is quoting scripture, telling us to live lives that are worthy of the name by which we are called. Jesus never did evil. He was perfect. We’re not. But even so, we need to follow Christ’s example. This is especially so if we want to have a decent life. We need to not speak bad things, we need to turn from evil, we need to do good, we need to pursue peace. We need to ACT LIKE CHRIST! If we do that, GOD will attend to our prayers. If we do that, we will be obedient to Christ. If we do that, we will be holy. And THAT is what Peter is saying: Christians need to live holy lives.

Are you living a holy life? Have you accepted Christ as your savior? Are you being who you need to be? Are you trusting in Christ instead of yourself, your job, your husband, your wife, your parents? Are you acting the way you need to act?  Have you hurt someone in how you reacted to something they did or said? Have you offended God? Pray for God to let you know where you need to change. Pray for God’s forgiveness. Come to God. God accepts you the way you are, but he doesn’t expect you to stay that way! Ask God for what you need.


[1] Other verses RE: headship: 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1Ti 2:12–14; Titus 2:1-5; Ephesians 5:22-24

[2] (3:2) George Müller, in a periodical called The Word, edited by Richard Burson, date unknown, pp. 33–35.

[3] MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Pe 3:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 3:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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