Thursday, January 16, 2014
Scratching the Surface of 1&2 Peter
Scratching the Surface of 1&2 Peter
As we've been scratching the surface of the Bible as the best way to scratch the surface of our relationship with God, several consistent themes have emerged; including (1) A recognition of God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior; (2) The best way to love Him is to love like Him as best exemplified in Jesus and best explained in Holy Scripture; (3) "Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey"; and (4) While never not needing Jesus as Savior because we cannot earn salvation (works righteousness), we are expected to show our praise and thanks to God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior by praying and working to be wholly holy in/through/for Him (righteous works).
I like how Tozer put it: "Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined...It is not enough for preachers in their pulpits to try to define love. The love that God has promised must be demonstrated in the lives of the believers in the pews...God wants His people...to demonstrate all of the outworking of faith in their daily lives and practices."
Simply as well as summarily, authentic believers who really recognize God as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior walk the talk.
Every book of the Bible fleshes that out as Jesus fleshed out His divine self.
Peter's letters continue that education of believers for enfleshment by believers: "set apart...for obedience..."
Or as Peterson paraphrases, "God the Father has His eye on each of you...to keep you obedient..."
Peter's letters acknowledge the challenges in time for Christians who are living in time as preparation for eternal life with the Lord: "You have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith...may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Essentially, Peter emphasizes authentic Christianity as a call to be wholly holy for Him no matter who, what, where, when, or why in honor of Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life here and now and forever: "Be holy in all your conduct."
Noticeably distinguishable by enfleshed belief consistent with the perfect pattern of Jesus as prescribed in Holy Scripture.
Jesus and those who knew Him best in time never said loyalty to Him would insure immunity from life's miscreants, meanness, madness, and misery.
Indeed, He said we would catch hell for declaring heaven only through intimacy with Him: "You will be hated because of Me."
Thankfully, He also promised that fidelity in time to Him would be more than matched by His fidelity to us forever: "If you die with Me, you will also rise with Me."
Of course, that's why Paul exclaimed so enthusiastically without equivocation, "I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed...Nobody/nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Peter's letters proclaim people who get that/Him look/act like they get that/Him.
People who get that/Him remain loyal to Him whether it's smooth sailing or rough seas.
People who get that/Him know the challenges of a world hostile to Him and, therefore, His do not build their character and commitment to Him but rather expose their character and commitment to Him.
Hence, Peter notes behaviors indicative of believers regardless of the weather such as "...a sincere brotherly love...pure heart...born again...servants...honorable...self-controlled...sober-minded...being examples...humble..."
The eschatological expectation with its reward for those who keep keepin' on for the King of kings is unmistakable: "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you...Rejoice...as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed...If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed...For it is time for judgment...The day of the Lord will come like a thief...we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
19th century German pastor Johann Christoph Blumhardt summarized all of Biblical Christendom as well as Peter's letters as having one ultimate goal: "...readiness for God's kingdom...Awareness that the Lord will come has made people gird their loins and have their lamps burning."
Or as I have come to accept with revived passion while scratching the surface of the book, we're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else; hence, establishing Him as our first priority in all things at all times in all places with all people is a no-brainer.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!