Friday, December 21, 2012

with this, be this and do that‏

1 Peter 1:13

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.

Everyone prior to Peter’s generation looked forward in faith to the day God would make manifest His Gospel promised to them first in Genesis 3. This plan was revealed and fulfilled completely in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Peter is writing to a church that is suffering bodily and mentally the anguishes of extreme persecution. All of these sufferings could go away with a renunciation of their faith. Peter reminds his flock that Jesus suffered many things unjustly in delivering us from that which we justly deserved. In suffering like Him, we know Him more. It is in light of this reality that Peter begins verse 13 in summary by stating, “Therefore…”

We cannot forecast each and every trial that we may face. But we can be assured that the temptation to abandon Christ will be presented to us often. Our hearts have in themselves unfulfilled desires. We begin to melt our gold and cast a mold. We begin to make god out of a gift we desire. We want something that can only be given to us and we lust after it. If in ignorance we do not acknowledge this quality about ourselves or in arrogance assume we are above it, we will find ourselves like Aaron: totally dumbfounded.

Exodus 32:24

24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off,’ and they gave it to me. When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf!”

Or in other words:

“I was all like, ‘Let’s pool all of our gold together, make a mold of a cow, melt the gold down, pour it into the mold, let it cool, carefully remove it from the mold, and worship the image of the golden cow we just made.’ So they did what I said and after we did all of that, we had this calf. It is very curious, isn’t it? Anyways, as you can clearly see, this isn’t my fault! How could I have known it would play out this way?”
*** Thank you VVCSV for that clarification.

What did you think was going to happen Aaron? Some stuff is unforeseen. I will grant you that. This was not.

But I digress.
Back to Peter.

It is not unreasonable to think that you will come across temptations. These will likely be for good things. After all, temptations are usually simply our desire to make god things out of good things. Whatever we worship is our opinion of what is best (at least for us). It is not that sex, money, power, authority, or comfort are wrong. It is that they are NOT GOD!

I have never been so disappointed with things as when I assign to them godlike qualities and they do not come through. When people are not perfect, I get discouraged. When my car is not dependable, I get discouraged. When my children rebel, I get discouraged. This is not to say that discouragement is not legit in some of these cases, but rather my point is to emphasize that the more you are tempted to worship something or someone other than God, the more conflict you are preparing yourself to face with regard to that person and/or thing.

Get your mind ready for action. You are going to face temptations to stray away from Jesus. Do not be too proud as to believe this about yourself.

Because God has in good faith made good on His promise, be serious. Make every effort to find your heart and mind in concert with that in you that makes much of Jesus alone. How serious are you about addressing your sin in Jesus? How serious are you about anchoring your hope in Jesus? Let’s get real. Let’s get serious. There is too much at stake. This is not child’s play. This is big boy pants kind of stuff. Grow up. Please, for the love of God and your love of Christ, grow up.

Set your hopes completely on the grace of God revealed in Christ. Be careful to guard against former desires. Be careful to avoid casting molds for future idolatry. Be on guard against the old man within who was trained in unrighteousness and is eager to return to it.

Because God has done what He said He would do, place your mind, actions, heart, and hopes in what He has promised He will do today and tomorrow. God promises that those who aim for salvation by setting their mind on Jesus will find it. No one who by grace through faith seeks God in Jesus will be denied. This is not merely a hope for when we die. This is a hope for enduring through today.

Peter said it this way a few verses earlier:

1 Peter 1:8-9

8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy,9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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