Thursday, August 23, 2012

1 Peter 1

Post for August 22

The focus of chapter 1 is a reminder of the implications of believing in and following Jesus. This is summarized in verse 3-4 "By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you,"  The heart of our faith and the hope that sustains us is seen in the resurrection of Jesus.

Because of this new hope 1 Peter issues a call to holy living. By following Jesus we give up the old ways, desires and indulgences and move toward holiness. The common mistake at this point is to focus on the external behaviors that presumably reveal one's holiness. The truth is much more interesting. Holiness is an inside job. If I just focus on the "holy people don't do the following or always do the following" legalistic aspects that often get emphasized then I will never move toward true holiness. True holiness is becoming like Jesus Christ and this process is worked from the inside out. I become holy by getting close to the Holy One and through the transformation of my heart and soul I begin to exhibit this holiness in my external life. To put it another way: the deeper in love I am with Jesus the more I will love the people of the world (whatever their state of grace) and the more I will work to bring the Kingdom of the Heavens to earth. One cannot have the first without the second -- spiritual depth without missional engagement is a phantom and pipe dream and is often lost in a self centered spirituality. However, missional engagement without moving toward holiness is social work and not biblical Christianity.

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