Thursday, August 6, 2009

1 Peter: Lesson Seven

"But why do you judge your brother?
Or why do you show contempt
for your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgment
seat of Christ. For it is written:

As I live, says the LORD,
Every knee shall bow to Me,

And every tongue shall
confess to God."

Romans 14:10-11


Let's begin with prayer.......

"Father God, our Lord and Savior, please speak to us through Your word. Please convict us of sin and make us holy as You are holy.

I seek forgiveness of my sins. I pray, Lord, that You will wash me clean of all my iniquities...even the hidden secret sins of my heart. Search me, purge me, and make me whole again so that I can serve You this day. Help me to hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

I lift up to you each person reading this post. I pray, Lord, that You will lift them up and encourage them through Your word. I pray that You will set their feet on the path of righteousness for Your name's sake. In Jesus' name, amen."


Living Before God Our Father

In our last lesson, we studied how Peter encouraged early Christians to be sober and vigilant and to rest their hope fully on the "grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" instead of resting on the things of this world. We learned that we are to live be holy because God is holy.

In this lesson, we will look further into what it means to live before a holy God.....

1 Peter 1:17-19

"And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by traditions of your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."


As Christians,
sometimes we live our lives as though we have escaped judgment because we have been saved from the wrath of God. But we are told time and time again in Scripture that we will be judged....not for our sins, which have already been forgiven, but for our works.

"And if you call upon the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's works..."

Please read:

Acts 10:34-35

Peter begins his sermon to fellow believers by explaining to them that God no longer shows any partiality. That, with Christ, all who fear Him and are obedient to Him can approach Him and be accepted because of the most excellent works of Christ.

Peter's vision helped him to see that God accepts Gentiles as well as Jews when it comes to the gospel message.

But that doesn't mean we are "off the hook" so to speak. There are works for us to do while we are here on given to us by God.

Romans 14:10-12
1 Cor 3:12-15

Our works must be built on God's foundation and not our own. Our works will be tested...and if they pass the test we will be rewarded.

1 Cor 9:24-25

We run a race for the prize..but not a temporary perishable prize like a crown of olive leaves, or a medal made of gold or silver. NO! We run the race for an eternal "imperishable crown" that we can place at the feet of our Savior.


"Conduct yourselves throughout your stay here with fear..."

Peter reminds us that we are to remain in fear of the Lord. Everything we do and say will be brought before us for judgment. Peter says to live in this fear of God...what does that mean exactly??

Peter presents God as both Father and Judge over all. He encourages us never to forget this. To do our work in the fear of the Lord...reverence and respect:

Ps 34:8-11


"...knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers....."

Because we are not of the finite things of this earth. We are not here to fear men and their religious traditions like some organized religions teach today. Attending church, praying at an altar, confessing to priests, lighting candles, vowing oaths, sacrificing to animals, etc. mean nothing to God because these are all corruptible and temporary.

Jesus came to end all this and show us The Way to God: through Him.

"...but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot."

Ex 12:5-11

Peter is wise to remind his readers of the Passover event....a most important feast in the Jewish religion. He reminds them that Jesus was the last Passover lamb given as a sacrifice to God once and for all.

Heb 9: 26-28

So, to wrap up Peter's lesson for his fellow believers.....we are here for a purpose. Not a purpose of men, because then it would be flawed. But a purpose of God: to do His works in fear of Him because of the works of Christ Jesus.

This is how we are to live before a holy God. In reverence and respect the fear and admonition of the Lord. Do your good works with this in mind. Everything you do or do not do will be judged before a holy God.


Life Application

Judging others is a sin I struggle with all the time. I was brought up in a very critical home where both my parents criticized others daily. So, as an adult, it is hard for me to break that old habit of talking about others and judging them.

One way the Lord breaks me of this is to bring me to my knees from time to time in fear. He also has a way of just stopping me in my tracks by letting me see a glimpse of what another person has gone through in their life.

While in Slovakia, one of my teammates stood up to give a partial testimony to some of the Slovakian women at a Bible study. I had been critical of this lady before this moment because she was different than I am. How dare she! I know, I know, how dare I be so shallow. Anyway, after she told us of her horrible childhood experience with parents who were mentally ill, I felt so ashamed of my thoughts against her. I had no idea she had survived so much! I began to see her in an entirely different way.

Later on, I had a chance to give my testimony and afterward was told that my words had a great affect on the women. My fellow teammates were astonished that I had been through so much in my life as well.

You see? You just never know about someone's past and it is better to stop judging a fellow believer and see them the way Jesus sees them: with love and as His child.

I have learned not to be so darn critical of others and stop judging them so much because after
all, we do not know their story. We have no idea what it is the Lord has brought them through!

Take time today to meditate on all you have learned today from God's word. He greatly used Peter to edify and encourage us in our Christian walk. Thank the Lord for giving us the book of 1 Peter.


"The consideration of our redemption ought to be a constant and powerful inducement to holiness, and the fear of God. God expects that a Christian should live answerable to what he knows. Neither silver nor gold, nor any of the corruptible things of this world, can redeem so much as one soul."

-Matthew Henry (Commentaries, pg. 1941, 1961)


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