So, last night’s reading was a pretty intense reading for me. It starts off with “arm yourself with the same way of thinking”–which made my mind jump to another verse in Philippians 2:5 that says “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” And then verses 6-11 describe that attitude which includes:
- “Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” — unlike Adam & Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3).
- “But made Himself NOTHING” — Just as we should: John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.”
- “Taking the form of a SERVANT” — Matthew 20:26-68, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient” — Obedience isn’t always easy. It does require us to humble ourselves, to completely take our wants & desires off the table, so that our minds are solely on the things of God.
- “To the point of death, even death on a cross” — Are we willing?
It goes on to say in verses 10-11 that for this attitude Jesus took on & acted upon, that God has now highly exalted Jesus to His right hand, so that one day every knee will bow to worship Him.
But 1 Peter 4 goes on. In verses 12-17, it talks about suffering for doing good for the glory of God. It also talks about that “judgment should begin in the House of God.” That means the temple (remember when Jesus ran all the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem?). Well, now WE are God’s temple. And purification needs to begin with us (remember the whole take the log out of your own eye before taking the speck out of someone else’s?)–and that shows how bad WE are, God’s people. Get this? So we = bad enough, still in need of constant repentance & purification so the world will “see our good works & glorify our Father in Heaven.”
Well, it goes on to say 2 crucial statements. These two statements are weighing very heavily upon my heart right now.
1. “And if it (purification) begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
2. “And, “If the righteous are scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”‘ (quoted from Proverbs 11:31)
Truly think about these two shorter statements. “What will be the outcome?” “What will become?” The actual Greek (it’s what the New Testament was written down in originally) says the 2nd statement in this way:
“WHERE will the ungodly and sinner appear?”
So, think. We, God’s temple, bad enough, but have obeyed the gospel of God, and therefore are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, are going to Heaven. That is our “where.”
So what about the others, “The ungodly and the sinners,” who “do not obey the gospel of God.”? WHERE will they appear?
The reality and hard fact is: a place called Hell. A place where the word says there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Check out Luke 16:19-25 for further reading). It is a place that we ALL deserve to go to, because of our sin. BUT GOD, in His grace, sent Jesus His only Son to die in our place, and overcome death & Hell by the resurrection, so that we could spend eternity with Him! Isn’t that exciting!?!?
But for those who don’t know that…For those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior…Hell is the ultimate end.
Does that move you to tears? It really should, because there are 4.5 BILLION–4,500,000,000,000–people on this earth that do not know Christ as their Savior.
That is where God calls us. We are His plan. To use us, by communicating the message of Jesus Christ’s saving grace through us. We are “ministers of reconciliation” (we are to be used by the power of God to bring people back into a right relationship with God–only through Jesus, the Way). We are “ambassadors for Christ” (we are His representatives, showing His character through our everyday actions & lives). (Both of those phrases are found in 2 Corinthians 5).
So, this is our calling. It means going to school and living differently, living for Christ and not for ourselves, so that they may see Christ within us. But it’s not just about living, it’s about being bold with our words. Stand up for people who otherwise wouldn’t be stood up for. Tell people Jesus loves them after they just threw made fun of you to your face. Don’t follow the crowd, follow Christ. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one can come to the Father except through Him (by accepting His sacrifice for them upon the cross).
I pray that God uses you this week. Be changed by the reality that we are living in, and let it promote you to “in your hearts honor Christ as holy, always being prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have; yet do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).
Remember to check out the post “Changing A’s to F’s” for some more statistics and realities of the world…But don’t let it just sit in your heart. Tell others about this. Allow God to begin purifying you, so that “people may see your good works & glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).