Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Precious Things of God

Tonight, before bed, I read the book of 1 Peter to the family. No pauses to discuss; just simple reading. One of the benefits of doing an extended reading of scripture, rather than a small portion, is being able to see themes that repeat and expand within the course of chapters.

Octavius Winslow published a work in 1867 titled The Precious Things of God. I haven't read it yet but would like to some day. Reading 1 Peter this evening reminded me to reflect on those things which are precious in the spiritual life.
  1. Your faith (1:7). "... so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold ... may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Here, faith is compared to gold, a precious metal, and is found to be more valuable. Gold can never lay hold of God's promises, but faith can.
  2. The blood of Christ (1:19). "... but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." Some things are precious because of their efficacy (the power to produce a desired effect). The blood of animals could not atone for sin in a final sense. The blood of Jesus does.
  3. A gentle and quiet spirit which hopes in God (3:4). "... with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." When a person comes to God with humility and endures suffering for the sake of doing what is right, God sees this and it is precious to Him. When God sees a person who values the inner spirit over outward adornment, it is precious in His sight.
  4. Jesus Christ, the choice cornerstone of God's living temple (2:4, 6). "Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone..." Today, God is not building a physical temple for all to come and see, but a spiritual temple made of living stones (believers in Jesus), and Christ is the precious cornerstone. The stone which the builders rejected has become the stone upon which they have stumbled. Though he was put to death by men, he is precious to God.
 And if these things are precious to God, shouldn't we give them priority in our heart and life as well?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aliens, Scattered and Chosen

"To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout [...], who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood." (1 Peter 1:1-2)
    In one sense, those who belong to Jesus Christ by faith are not at home in this world. We are strangers, sojourners, pilgrims passing through Vanity Fair, aliens who are citizens of another country, of another city which has eternal foundations and whose architect and builder is God. Our hope of reaching this city is not an empty hope because the triune God--Father, Son, and Spirit--has set in motion a plan to bring us home. The Father, in his eternal wisdom and foreknowledge, chooses. The Son, in his limitless love, laid down his life to redeem. The Spirit, in his power and presence, sanctifies and transforms along the journey, to prepare us for our eternal home.
    The King will not leave his citizens behind. The Father will not abandon his children. Whom He has chosen, He shall ultimately glorify. Be of good cheer today knowing that God Himself has taken the initiative to call, rescue, cleanse, and empower you for the journey that leads back home.
    Father, though I am a stranger in this land, remind me during times of discouragement that You will finish the work which You began, and You will send your Son to come again, so that where He is, we also may be eternally. Amen.

**Hebrews 11:9-11; Ephesians 1:4; John 10:17-18; Romans 8:30; Philippians 1:6; John 14:3