|Volume 19 Number 3 March 2017||
Peter encouraged brethren to focus their minds and soberly hope for the grace of God to be delivered at the coming of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13-14). With their minds focused on Heaven, their manner of life should also be different. Instead of participating in the lust of the flesh, he encouraged them to model themselves after the Holy God, who expects His children to be holy (14-17). After all, God had gone to great lengths to redeem them; He purchased them with the blood of His Son (18-21). In verses 22-25, Peter continued to inspire them to live properly by reminding them of the powerful influence of the Word.
Peter proclaimed the power of God’s Word to purify, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” (22a). The word translated “purified” means “to cleanse from all defilement.” The Word of God, the Bible, is truth (John 17:17), and when it is obeyed, it has the power to remove the impurities in one’s life. How is this accomplished? It is accomplished by influencing an individual to cast aside sin (James 1:21) and to be cleansed by the blood of Christ at immersion (“baptism”) (Ephesians 5:26; Revelation 1:5; Acts 22:16). After conversion, as demonstrated in 1 Peter 1:22, the Word of God should continue to influence believers to live in purity, which includes a genuine love for fellow Christians.
Peter proclaimed the power of God’s Word to renew, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God…” (23a). Peter reminded brethren that they had not only been purified by the Word of God, but they had also been “born again” by the Word of God. The word translated “being born again” means to be “regenerated, renewed.” When one’s soul is purified, it is also “renewed.” This regeneration takes place when the imperishable seed, the Word of God (Luke 8:11), has influenced an individual to be immersed for the remission of sins (James 1:17-18; Titus 3:5; John 3:5). The regeneration of the soul continues after baptism as one abides “in the light” (1 John 1:7-9).
Peter proclaimed the power of God’s Word to endure, “which liveth and abideth for ever” (23b). Though the Word of God lives, it is not subject to decay. It is living because its influence never grows old. In fact, even when it has been rejected, it has revealed the heart of a man (Hebrews 4:12). Though the physical body will decay along with earthly pursuits (1 Peter 1:24), the Word will endure to judge mankind in the last day (Matthew 24:35; John 12:48; Isaiah 40:8).
The powerful influence of the Word should motivate all Christians to live godly lives. It purified and renewed us and will ultimately judge us when Christ returns.
Struggles in Life
Mark T. Tonkery
A little girl walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died.
When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!” “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.” Often, we murmur because of the circumstances into which God has placed us. We fail to realize that He is using our pressures, trials and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty.
The apostle Paul reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:1-7,
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Christian, there will be struggles, trials, temptations and moments of pain in this life. It is important to develop and maintain a Christian attitude in the midst of our suffering. Remember in Romans 8:37, “… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. Every day, he prayed intently for God to rescue him, but it seemed He just wasn’t listening. He eventually managed to build himself a hut out of driftwood to protect him from the weather and store what few possessions he had managed to salvage. Then, one day after scavenging for food, he arrived ‘home’ to find his hut was on fire after being struck by lightning. The worst he could imagine had happened. Everything he had was lost. He would surely just give up and die now.
“God, how could you do this to me!” he cried. Early the next morning, as he lay on the shore distraught, he was startled by a group of men who had arrived by boat to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” he asked. They replied, “We saw your smoke signal.”
It is so easy to get discouraged when things are going wrong when we are facing many trials. We may even blame God for the things that happen, or complain because He doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we want. However, God is always at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your hut is burning, it may be a smoke signal given by the grace of God. He loves you and cares for you even if you can’t always see it.