Monday, December 05, 2011

The Gospel and Why We Are Supposed to Live Different From the World

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

I was thinking about what this means.  I have been thinking about it a lot here lately. I even posted on someone's blog about it.  Some things I say should have better remained unsaid.  But I know about my own conversion and the life I was living before I came to know Christ.  I know that I was walking on the edge of a cliff (metaphorically speaking), and knew that it was life or death for me as to what I did with the next moments of my life.  I made that irreversible decision to jump into the arms of Jesus because the only other option was to jump off the cliff to eternal perdition.  I think that this may happen with everyone.  I don't know if it is as clear as that but, I know that our conversion has to do with our death, burial and resurrection.  

The new birth is only the beginning of that.  There will be a full fulfillment of that at the resurrection of the just when Jesus returns. What does living by faith mean? We all have faith in God that he will give us a good marriage if we live by his word and that we will be able to give good testimonies to those around us by loving them. But is that primarily where we should be looking? To the relationships of this life? I know that we will be spending eternity with our fellow believers but is that all there is?  

Christian counsel and instruction seems to be too much "this life" focused instead of being focused on our "living hope", the Lord Jesus Christ.  We read a passage such as 1 Peter 3:10, "For, "The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit."  It tells us that if we want to have a good life, then we must say things that build up and are true.  Doesn't it?  Is it really speaking of how we can have a good life here on this earth?  I don't believe that it is talking about this life because the context of 1 Peter is of giving encouragement to suffering Christians.  He encourages them in the following manner:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:3-5

So what is the life, to love and see good days referring to?  In the above context it is referring to eternal life with Christ.  So he is saying, (my paraphrase) "If you have placed your faith in Christ, if you are longing for heaven and the resurrection from the dead, then you should control your tounge because that will be the norm of eternity."  Isn't that the way we should view all those passages that we look at as self-help tips?  This life is to be viewed as preparation for eternity and for meeting the Lord as a chaste virgin prepares herself for the day of her wedding.  This is when Jesus will return "from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-8.  


Marie Chasteen said...

Bryan, I agree with you and every thing you said. I am hoping and looking to have an eternal place in heaven with Jesus when this feeble life is over, but it is necessary for us to live right while we are on this earth. God will just every wrong act and I believe if we knew to heart ache we are going to feel as he calls out our sins one by one, we would try so much harder to live the way Jesus tells us to live on this earth. We can not change the past, but we can work real hard to make our futures more pleasing to Jesus. I am working on it as I know you are. I love you, Mom

bchasteen said...

Mom, I was very encouraged by reading your blog. I thank God that you have that wisdom to share. I hope that God continues to bless you!