10 January 2007

The Aliens Are Already Here

Peter writes that there is something about us that makes us different from other people. We are aliens and strangers.
Now Christians come in all shades of hue and color. We are brown, red, yellow, black and white. We wear dresses, suits, dashikis, saris, sandals, shoes, sneakers and some go barefoot.
We are teachers, mechanics, factory workers, administrators, and salesman.
We live in small houses, larger houses, huts and in prisons.
We like sports and we do not like sports.
In these and in so many other things we are no different from those in the world in which we live.
We are all made in the image of God and until we are made God’s own possession by his mercy and grace we are all the same in our fallen state of sin.
But God has made His own different.
We are to be holy even as He is holy.
Simply put this means that as God is different from all He has created we are to be different from other men.
The way in which our difference can be readily known is by our moral behavior.
The world is an amoral place. It really does not care about morals in an absolute sense and so immorality is very much tolerated, not universally but by matters of degree.
Certain immoral behavior according to God’s standard is tolerated by the world depending on the circumstances of how one is affected by certain immorality. Often, if something immoral by God’s standard has no direct effect on a person in the world, then it will be tolerated, as long as it does not interfere with one’s life.
Often, a Christian sense of morality becomes politicized.
Many moral issues that are biblically based on God’s holiness become the center stage for politics and the morality is really left out. The issue becomes more of a difference of opinion on what rights someone has as opposed to a purely moral issue.
This is how Christians get swept up into right wing politics and the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, neither of which were exclusively moral or Christian.
I do not need Rush Limbaugh representing my worldview. If I am Christian and happen to be a political conservative perhaps I agree with Rush on political views, however his world view is not rooted in the Scripture, it is not a biblical world view anymore than Jerry Falwell’s or Pat Robertson’s view is biblical once they make it political.
So what we engage in are culture wars that are really removed from the Scriptures although some appeal is made to the truth of Scripture for the basis of the political process.
We are not called to change the world through politics but we we have a legitimate call to be nation builders through the preaching of the gospel, which enlarges the kingdom of God and His holy nation on the earth.
So Peter is urging to abstain from fleshly kinds of immoral behavior that are proven by God’s word to bring destruction to the soul.
This is what truly makes us holy, different from other people.
We have a deliberate and conscious standard of morality that is based on God’s purpose for us, to be holy as He is holy. Our standard of morality is different than the morality of the world. This is why we are aliens ands strangers; this is why we are different. Aliens and strangers stand out in any community. We will not stand out by our clothes, our work, and our food or our hobbies but we will stand out because of our morality.
This will be outstanding because it is not a priority for the world.
Self-indulgence, self esteem, degrees of hedonism and self-satisfaction are the standard of the world and they are blind to the absolute standards of God and His morality and will lose the war against the soul, which is perpetrated by our very own sinful nature.
And the purpose of this moral living is the glory of God. This is where the real battle lies; it is about the glory of God.
We will be slandered and accused of many things but in the end God will be glorified by how we lived as being different people, as aliens and strangers and as Peter later says as good citizens where ever we are.
The world does not care. It is not a priority. Absolute truth from the One who is the Way, the Truth and The Life means nothing to the world reveling in its heart of darkness.
Was absolute morality a concern for you before Christ saved you? I don’t think so.
By our living according to God’s morality we will be called evildoers, Peter says. We will be singled out as the ones who really have a problem. By upholding and living the truth of Scripture people will call us evil for even daring to say that another person is a sinner and deserving of hell.
You may be the most pleasant and gracious neighbor on the block, but once you have a serious biblical discussion about the penalty for an immoral lifestyle you will be judged by most and perhaps tolerated by some.
Once you inform someone that their child or husband, or wife is not a victim but an active sinner whose own wicked nature is encouraging their self destruction you’d better duck. And if they do slap your cheek, then turn the other to them.
Our job is not to hit back but like Rocky Balboa says in street language that rings true to Scripture, “But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward.”
Rocky is talking about winning a fight. We are talking about winning the war, the only one in the end of human history that really matters. John Bunyan called it the Holy War.
I may learn to live from you but only if you are living according to Christ otherwise you have nothing to teach me that will nourish my soul.
Now that does not mean that I should live like a monk and only learn spiritual things.
But Christ is to be the priority of my life. As I learn life skills and trades and other things that are needed to live in the world they need to be a part of my living for Christ. As I use these skills or apply my trade I do it as a Christian. The morality of my life needs to be seen, so that they who will call me evil may one day give glory to God at Christ’s appearing.
The world cares not for the glory of God
O, what a fearful condition
When the heart of darkness rules in man’s life
The end will be perdition
How great was the darkness of my own soul
Until Jesus revealed His light
How unworthy I was
And how glad I am now
That mercy and grace gave me sight (J. Krygier)
We are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth. It is not just speaking the truth of God’s word that He uses for His glory. That is important because true faith comes from the hearing of the word and Peter later writes:
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11-2 says that by observing our good deeds they may glorify God.
Our faithful living according to God’s morals does affect men for good. It is part of the process God uses to call His elect unto Himself.
What we say and how we live are both used of God for His glory.
Just as we are to fight against those things that would cause us to demean Christ, those things we should fear that would be demonstrating that we may truly not be what we think we are, we should be waging war against the immorality that will attempt to destroy our living unto the glory of Christ and which will destroy the souls of men who do not know Christ.


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