Saturday, May 6, 2023

Dead To Sin

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

This weekend marks one month after the Passover weekend when Jesus was Resurrected from the dead. Our date today is May 7, and this past Good Friday was on April 7. Today we might celebrate His 30th day of living after His Resurrection. It is now ten more days to Ascension Thursday, and twenty more days to the Feast of Pentecost.

These post-resurrection days of Jesus’ time on Earth were remarkable because He did not hide Himself away but showed Himself openly to everyone as He continued teaching. He had not only risen as He said, but also fulfilled of His own prophetic word through King David in Psalm 16:10 – “For thou will not leave my soul in the (grave); neither wilt thou (allow) Thy Holy One to see corruption.”

Not only would God’s Anointed rise from the grave, but His body would not begin the inglorious process of rotting away.

Chapter four of 1 Peter confronts our own doubts and unbelief in newness of life, and lays out truth for us to stand upon in faith. The Apostle Paul’s chapter 6 of Romans echoes Peter’s words: new life brings death to sin, and to the temptations of our old life.

No longer must we follow after the old lusts, because those things are dead to us our new life-in-Christ. No longer corruptible because we have put on incorruption through the death of Jesus Christ, and we shall live on into eternity.

~ Romans 8:11 ~

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Today's Audio Message:

1 Peter 4:1-19 - "Dead to Sin"

In our study in First Peter chapter 4 this week, Peter urges Christians to be fiercely committed to fulfilling the purpose of our lives in Christ. Prior chapters made the case that we are a "holy people." We have been rescued from sin and meaningless lives and set apart from the world, in order to be used for God's purpose. Since believers have these new, eternal lives in Christ, we must begin to think like Jesus, including Jesus' way of thinking about suffering.

Jesus expected persecution along the way to fulfilling His mission on earth. Peter is clear that we should expect to suffer, as well. In fact, this is part of completing the mission God has given us. We should be ready and willing to suffer for Christ, as He did for us. In doing so, we will set the course of our lives away from sin, especially the mind-numbing sins of endless pleasure seeking.

The path of submission to Christ and the path of self-serving pleasure go in completely opposite directions. Those who still indulge in drunkenness, partying, and idolatry won't understand or accept the Christian's lifestyle. In fact, they will resent the fact that Christians refuse to participate. According to Peter, refusal to do what unbelievers do will result in criticism and condemnation from them. This is especially true when the believer is someone who used to commit those very sins, but has been changed by Christ.

But Peter offers a warning and encouragement: The end of all things is drawing near, and the Judge is coming. Instead of living for pleasure, we must be very careful to stay clear-minded and focused so that we can pray faithfully. We must strain hard to love each other well. We must share and serve and speak to each other with God's gifts, with His words, with His strength.

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