If there is any 'criticism' of modern, evangelical gospel presentations- it is an improper view of sanctification and very lackluster discipleship.
Because it is so important to stress salvation by Christ alone by faith alone by grace alone- we often fear/ de-emphasize a conversion that does result in a transformed life.
I would be the first to fight anyone who I though was teaching a 'Christ plus deeds' salvation and anyone who seems to venture into that category quickly suffers the odium theologicum (anger of the theologians).
So I write this blog with caution- but the Scriptures are clear- the truth of the gospel and the clear product of grace- is a life that pursues holiness and develops a trend of godly obedience.
No good deed ever merits righteousness- it is ONLY BY THE BLOOD of the LAMB OF GOD!
But... when we receive the ability to see the glorious mystery, it creates an opportunity to grow in grace.
Before we venture into Peter's view of this- let's see some other clear Biblical references:
Ephesians 2:8 For zby grace you have been saved athrough faith. And this is bnot your own doing; cit is the gift of God, 9 dnot a result of works, eso that no one may boast. 10 For fwe are his workmanship, gcreated in Christ Jesus hfor good works, iwhich God prepared beforehand, jthat we should walk in them.
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith obut does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 pIf a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 qand one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good2 is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith rapart from your works, and I will show you my faithsby my works.
Now, if I am honest I say that these verses tend to make me unsteady, because I see how sinful I am and struggle with my worldliness and apathy. But this is where Peter helps me so much. Read carefully, what he says here and let me make a few observations/applications.
I Peter 1:13 Therefore, gpreparing your minds for action,1 and hbeing sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, ido not be conformed to the passions jof your former ignorance, 15 but kas he who called you is holy, you also be holy lin all your conduct, 16 since it is written, m“You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if youncall on him as Father who ojudges pimpartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves qwith fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you rwere ransomed from sthe futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but twith the precious blood of Christ, like that of ua lamb vwithout blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but wwas made manifest xin the last times for the sake of you 21 ywho through him are believers in God, zwho raised him from the dead and agave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for ba sincere brotherly love, clove one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 dsince you have been born again, enot of perishable seed but of imperishable, through fthe living and abiding word of God;24 forg“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,25 hbut the word of the Lord remains forever.”And this word iis the good news that was preached to you.
If I reconnect this back to the last blog post- remember- it is the great mercy of God and the great sacrifice of Christ that is in full view here. But as we pay close attention to what has transpired, it does something very profound.
The gospel produces a new view of God, a new motivation for obedience, a new view of holiness, and a better fruit than the old administration of the Covenant of Grace!
#1 A NEW VIEW OF GOD- the Father- and we are children.
#2 A NEW VIEW OF HOLINESS- this is a biggie for me- I have always viewed pursuing holiness as a checklist of discipline. But the reality of holiness is much deeper- deeds yes- but the deeper motivation... "a sincere brotherly love- an earnest love from a pure heart"
#3 A BETTER FRUIT: A MAN FULL OF LOVE:
This is the most surprising part of Peter at the end of his journey. We know John had the reputation for love, something that exuded from him even at the time of Christ's earthly ministry. Paul seems to magnify joy in all things. The reason that love and mercy is so prevalent in Peter is the last conversation he had with Jesus after the resurrection as Jesus restored him, asking him 3 times if he loved him, And all Peter could say is "I love (phileo- not agape) you." I hope I get a chance to review that passage in John 21 especially the prophecy that Christ gives Peter about how he is to die and the changes ahead for his life.
Could it be that the boastful- hard charging- speak first- hard fish in' man called the ROCK saw the fruit of holiness as brotherly love that poured out of a broken heart of humility and was full of fresh grace from His father?
AND WHAT IS THE SEED OF THIS FRUIT?
The seed, full of God's power, is HIS word of truth- and specifically 'the good news' part of the seed- the gospel of grace! Read that 2nd part again......wow!
Now go back and look at this powerful opening chapter from the man called THE ROCK!
I am calling out to all people everywhere who have been washed in the grace of Christ.
According to God's great mercy, we have been BORN again to a living HOPE!
So much better than the OLD CODE, so good it is worth waiting on, it is worth suffering for, is is worth laying hold of, it is worth striving for!
It has a base and fruit of LOVE.
And it is secure in the integrity of God's WORD! It was planned, prophesied, promised, and fulfilled!
It is all to Christ's glory!
And now my response should be....
EVERYDAY- stare into this gift with great excitement and joy.
ASK GOD- to see it so clearly that I am changed.
AND PART OF THE CHANGE is for me to love others in sincerity, not pretense.
God forgave me... I forgive others.
God loves me... I can love others.
I can treat others the way I would like to be treated.
Chapter 2 will tell me how.........