Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Rock Speaks (2)

For a time, I am exploring the life and writings of the apostle, Peter.

This site has had an average of 225 page views every week since the Covid-19 closures began.

What is hindering you from coming home? The example of Peter is a great story of God's love and grace!

Feel free to reach out to me at It has been encouraging to hear from many of you! Todays writing.....

1 Peter 1:10–12 

 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, [11] inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. [12] It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (ESV)

I'm still pondering the simple and powerful statement from yesterday….

...According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus...

Read that slowly- then fast- then piece by piece- emphasize different words... amazing! Substitute the word 'me' in place of 'us'..... He has caused ME to be born again to a living hope....

This statement is from a man who denied Jesus, he deserted Jesus at a time of His greatest need! A few years after Peter writes this this, he was crucified UPSIDE DOWN for his faith! It just gives me chills......

This section then is 'concerning this salvation':

Peter goes back to the Old Testament- you know the old aphorism, "The Old Testament is the New Testament contained- The 
New Testament is the Old Testament explained" and we begin to see the beauty of God's plan as it is developed in history, through the covenants- all the types and shadows- all pointing to Jesus as the culmination of redemptive history.

In three years of ministry, Jesus prepared Peter for this revelation. I wish I could have been there! Don't you know that the Word of God must have burned in their hearts as the Savior read, quoted, and taught from Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and many other places of the sacred writings!

The amazing prophecies of the OT that are fulfilled in Christ! My favorites are Isaiah.53 and Psalm 22. But there are SO many more!

And these prophets; perplexed at times, under duress, never seeing a lot of fruit or acceptance, were serving us (the New Testament believers) with the light of Christ's resurrection. The illumination of things like the Passover are tangible experiences of the presence and the glory of God.

The bad news in the Old Testament makes for GREAT news in the New. (But there is plenty of good news in the Old Testament!)

"Things in which the angels LONG to look"- it is like Peter is saying- "This salvation is beautiful and magnificent, executed flawlessly over space, time, history- and it just causes the angels to study in wonder over and over again".

And sadly, sometimes, I just flippantly say... 'yeah, Jesus loves me.... now what fun thing are we doing next?". My anemic, Westernized, affluent faith is such a poor example of this rich and authentic faith!

A much different priority is referenced very clearly in the Book of Hebrews- Chapter 2: "Therefore we must pay MUCH CLOSER attention to what we have heard, lest we shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"

Then we have the "THEREFORE" of this section. And it literally says for us to "Gird up your minds- and seriously attach yourself on the grace that is coming when Christ returns"- it is the idea of preparing for a long journey, kind of like a treasure quest, and there will be peril and hardship along the way; but we going to make it our highest priority to study and reflect and meditate and rejoice in the gospel! Our hope is so secure in this grace; that we never drift from it, knowing that the DAY of the LORD will be better than the most magical Christmas or beautiful birthday we could ever imagine!

The next section will then challenge us. In it, we get an amazing, undeserved gift! We can't earn it! But what is our response to it?

A Radical View of Obedience- A Passionate Pursuit of Holiness

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 or de-emphasize a conversion that does result in a transformed life.

I would be the first to fight anyone who I thought was teaching a 'Christ plus deeds' salvation and anyone who ventures into that category quickly suffers the odium theologicum (anger of the theologians). Most of the criticism I receive about my blog writing seems to always fit in this category.

So I write this blog with caution. However, 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 2:8–10
[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not 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, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

James 2:14–18
[14] What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good 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 apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV)

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.

1 Peter 1:13–25

[13] Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being 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, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, [15] but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, [16] since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” [17] And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, [18] knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. [20] He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you [21] who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
[22] Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, [23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; [24] for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

[25] but the word of the Lord remains forever.

And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (ESV)

If I reconnect this back to the last blog post, I see it clearly: 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.

- 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 with a different AND deeper motivation... "a sincere brotherly love- an earnest love from a pure heart"


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 love and  joy in all things. 

But these are not attributes that we associate with the man called "Rock". He was a rugged leader, a fighter, a fisherman.... his lifestyle was associated with dragging heavy nets with coarse hands!

The last conversation that Jesus had with Peter on earth is evidence of this struggle. Christ obviously used the moment to restore Peter after the three time denial.... asking him three times if he loved him.

At that time, 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.

I love it.... Peter was always the first to boast of what he was and what he would do.... but not now... Peter had acquired a great gift... the gift of a healthy skepticism of himself!

The boastful,  hard charging, speak first, hard fishin' man called the ROCK now sees it!  The fruit of holiness IS brotherly love,  that pours out of a broken heart of humility and is full of fresh grace from the Father of love!

My guess is that Peter had more love at the end of his life than John and Paul combined! Peter always wound up winning!

Jesus LOVES.... we just 'love'... at times.... and there are times that I wonder if I love anyone at all other than myself.


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......
since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; ... 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!

This is Saturday morning during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown. Every day seems the same these days. Take some time this morning or some time today and think through "Salvation"...where are you? What price was paid?

When I do it..... here is what I think:

EVERYDAY- I need to stare into this gift with great excitement and joy.

I need to 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.........

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