“Are You In Or Out?”
Posted: Friday, November 24
1 Peter 2:11-3:7
Verse of the day:
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT)
Here, Peter gives us instruction on a couple of ways we are to relate to the world.
First, as exiles, we are to abstain from the “sinful desires”, “desires of the flesh” which war against the soul, and in time will destroy us.
The problem we encounter with sin, is that it goes beyond the way it affects our relationship with a holy God. It also affects every aspect of our lives, our human relationships and the way we are perceived as well. The Bible reminds us that indulging our sinful desires is a way of waging war against our own souls—creating self-inflicted wounds. The person who falls into some type of worldly addiction needs to realize that their soul is being ambushed and attacked by forces that would destroy them.
The person who becomes obsessed with appearances and status and material things, at some point finally realizes that they have paid the highest price of all as sin destroys their soul. They have traded the everlasting for the temporal.
Someone who pursues sin thinking it will make them happy soon realizes, (for some, not so soon), it is doing just the opposite—it is robbing them of their joy, their peace, and even the people/relationships they count on the most.
So to counter this, Peter tells us to live such good lives that, though the world accuses us of doing wrong, they see our good deeds through Christ Jesus and they themselves begin to glorify God.
Peter is echoing the words he heard Jesus speak from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says we are called to be “in, but not of” the world.” We can accomplish being in but not of the world when we refuse to live by its values and indulge our sinful nature.
We are in the world to be a redemptive influence through our good deeds—deeds done through the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
So we need to ask ourselves, are we “of the world”? Or are we “in the world,” in the sense that we are being salt and light to impact the world for Christ?