Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Set Your Hope on Grace and Be Holy

- Peter encourages these persecuted Christians and us to be mentally alert, focused, equipped with God's truths, steadfast, and resolute to run the race set before us, to serve the Lord, and to fight spiritual battles. Guard your mind; don't allow your thoughts to be intoxicated with evil desires, worldliness, or anything that corrodes and corrupts moral character. Our mind can be disciplined and prepared for the future by diligently praying, studying God's Word, and taking our every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. A disciplined mind is crucial to a holy life (in verse 15). What we think determines what we do, how we act or react, what we say, etc. 

- We are to set our hope and confidence fully on God's grace and promises. Hope to the end without wavering. The living hope (in verse 3) inspires and encourages us to endure, come what may. Be always ready for Christ's second coming! Do not become weary or discouraged in our trials. Hang on to that living hope, look ahead, and expect great & glorious things we'll receive when Christ returns.
- God calls us to be holy...to be set apart for His use...to be different than the world. Life with Christ and in Christ should be different than life before Christ. We are God's beloved children and special treasured possession. Live accordingly. We are to live with wholehearted devotion to God and in radical obedience to Him. God who is holy calls us to live a life of holiness/Godliness, sanctified and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Christ's imminent return should motivate us to live for Him and imitate Him. "We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:2-3) Be holy in everything we do. Like Father, like daughters! "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10) In Christ, we are already holy positionally for eternity. Is our conduct consistently matching with our status? Sanctification is a work in progress. Let us not be discouraged. Make it our goal to live holy lives and keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (James 1:27b) "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated." (D. A. Carson)
J.C. Ryle wrote an excellent synopsis of what holiness looks like, "(a) Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture...
(b) A holy person will endeavor to turn away from every known sin, and to keep every known commandment....
(c) A holy person will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ...
(d) A holy person will pursue meekness, endurance, gentleness, patience, kindness, and control of their tongue...
(e) A holy person will pursue self-control and self-denial...
(f) A holy person will pursue love and brotherly kindness....
(g) A holy person will pursue a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others...
(h) A holy person will pursue purity of heart...
(i) A holy person will pursue the fear of God....
(j) A holy man will pursue humility....
(k) A holy man will pursue faithfulness in all the duties and relationships in life....
(l) Last, but not least, a holy person will pursue spiritual mindedness.

"A true Christian must always be known by his fruits; and those fruits must be plainly manifest and unmistakable in all relations of life." (J.C. Ryle)

- Prayer: Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that redeems me, transforms me, and sustains me! Please help me to continually set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things. Please purify my heart and mind to be like Christ's. I just want others to see none of me but all of You. Please use me for your glory and purpose. In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen!

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