|Volume 24 Number 4 April 2022
A Proper Perspective
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Life is all about perspective. “Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport” (Steven Furtick). The way we look at and respond to life’s challenges is so vital to our faithfulness as children of God. Difficult times can lead us closer to or farther from God, depending upon our focus and perspective. Centuries ago, our brothers and sisters in Christ were facing some of the most difficult challenges they had ever faced as Christians. A real danger was before them. That danger was not so much the persecution they were facing but the possibility of their trials wearing away at their precious faith to the point of apostasy. The Holy Spirit charged and inspired Peter to help these brethren obtain a proper perspective during such times. The inspired penmanship of Peter is recorded in the two books that bear his name, 1st and 2nd Peter. The proper perspective of which Peter wrote centuries ago is the same recipe to help us to have a proper perspective today.
Peter reminded our brethren about redemption, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV). These persecuted saints were precious. How do we know that? God had “redeemed” them, which literally means to secure the life of a slave by paying a price. We, as well as they, were enslaved to sin (Romans 3:10, 23), and, therefore, became slaves to sin (Romans 6:16). The very fact that God was willing to buy us back shows just what God thinks of us. Peter, then, lovingly brought their focus back to the price of this redemption, “not redeemed with corruptible things.” There were about 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire at the time of Peter’s writings. “Corruptible things” (i.e., “silver or gold”) were the medium by which these slaves were purchased. However, that was not so with those whom God redeemed. What was the price of our redemption? “The precious blood of Christ.” So valuable were we in the eyes of a merciful and loving God that He viewed us as precious and paid an unbelievable price for our salvation. Those facts alone should help our perspective.
Peter reminded our brethren about the redeemer; “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21). Why was Jesus “made known” in the last times? For our faith; “…but was manifest in these last times for you, who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory…” Jesus’ arrival on planet earth was so that we might believe (John 20:30-31). Of course, the culminating event in the life of Christ that pushes out all doubt is His resurrection from the dead. In fact, His resurrection is what proves His Sonship and Deity (Romans 1:4). Jesus was also “made known” for our future “so that your faith and hope are in God.” Simply put, there is no hope outside of Christ. Now for those in Christ who are suffering, like Peter’s readers were and like we sometimes do, that future is what keeps us pressing on. There is an incorruptible crown awaiting the faithful, no matter how much we suffer (Revelation 2:10), and that, Dear Friends, should help our perspective!
Peter reminded our brethren about the revelation (1 Peter 1:22-25). This revelation is helpful in keeping the proper perspective because it is alive “by the word of God which liveth.” The revelation that God has preserved for us (i.e., the Bible) is not a dead letter with little value for today’s problems. The Bible is living (Hebrews 4:12) and is given to meet the everyday struggles of life on this earth (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The words of our Lord are living, and they give life (John 6:63). This same revelation aids in keeping our perspective because it is abiding “…and abideth forever… But the Word of the Lord endureth forever.” Peter’s readers were forced from their homes and businesses (1 Peter 1:1ff). Their possessions and earthly goods were often looted and stolen. Seemingly, there was nothing that lasted forever, and that could really blur a person’s perspective. So, Peter reminded them and us that the Word of Truth will never pass away; it is eternal! An employer’s promise may be broken, a marriage vow may be torn apart and paternal love may not last forever, but the Word of the Lord never changes!
There is no sugar coating it; life for our first century brethren was very difficult. Honestly, life today can be a challenge as well. Yet, our perspective will either be our prison or our passport. A proper perspective focused on our redemption, our Redeemer and the revelation will be our passport from this burdensome life into the beautiful life that awaits us on the other side of the present. Don’t Quit!
The House of God Often
Meets in a Building to Worship
The house of God also meets in rented halls, private homes, under a shed, in public buildings and even in the open spaces. However, one asks, “Is not the church building where we meet on Sunday the Lord’s house?” Yes, in the same sense that my house in which my wife and I live is the Lord’s house. It belongs to God who provided it for us. The psalmist declared that “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1 ESV). Yet, did not David say, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” (Psalm 122:1)? Yes, that is true. There was a time when God’s presence could be found above the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (sanctuary) that Moses erected (Exodus 25:8, 21, 22). The glory also filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34). Later, King Solomon built the temple (house) of the Lord in the city of Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:14). When finished, “the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11).
In the sermon of the apostle Paul recorded in Acts 17, he declared, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (v. 24). Yet, God does dwell in His people! You see, the house of God is the church of our Lord! In a letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15). In 1 Peter 2:5, we read, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote to the church of God in Corinth, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9). The house of God is a spiritual building and not one erected by the hands of men! It is in this sense that the house of God does often meet in a building! The house (church) of our Lord is never a place but a people redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ!
The house of God is also referred to as being “a holy temple in the Lord’’ as we read in Ephesians 2:19-22. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” We also read in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” The apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19 “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the Scriptures teach that we are the “house of God, which is the church of the living God,” that is “a spiritual house” and not the place where we assemble to worship God.