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Message #5: “Our Behavior Because of Salvation”

We have considered the theme “Sustaining Strength for Suffering Saints,” and we saw how that in each of the five chapters of I Peter there is reference to this matter of suffering and then also of the Sustaining Strength that God gives to those who do suffer. We also considered in our first and second session together the matter of the salutation in verses one and two of chapter one; and then we related that we looked upon verses three through 2:10 as the first major section of the book, and we relate that to the matter of salvation. We indicated that as Jonah discovered in the belly of the whale or the great fish that salvation is of the Lord, and all that we have and are in this so great salvation that we enjoy and appreciate is because of what God has made possible for us. The second section in 2:11-4:11 sanctification, and then the final section of 4:12-5:11 glorification, and then a word in regard to communication in the last three verses of chapter five- 5:12-14. In considering the matter of salvation we first saw in verses 3-9 the blessings of salvation; and we do have many blessings, and I am sure they are not exhausted in what Peter deals with here. He relates to us our position by faith, in that we have been begotten of the Father. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a living hope.” Our position by faith. I deliberately refer to this this morning, because there is no one here that can enjoy or appreciate the blessings of salvation unless and until you have been saved, until you know that you have been born again by grace through faith in what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross of Calvary in the shedding of His precious blood for you. You will see in verse 19 as we proceed today that we are not redeemed with corruptible things “but with the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” It is believing what God has said in His Book, the Bible, as verse 23 of chapter one indicates, “Being born again (or having been born again), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” It is believing what God has said in this book concerning His Son that gives us a whole new position in life as the born ones of God and as the sons of God. Then our possessions by faith, we are possessed of a living hope and a limitless inheritance. The promise of faith, a salvation ready to be revealed in the end time. The proof of our faith right now is the matter of testing and trials that come to us; and the very evidence that we belong to God, is that He allows us to be tested and tried and disciplined and chastened so that we can become more and more like His Son who though He was a Son, yet learned obedience through the things which He suffered, as Hebrews 5:8 indicates. Then the perspective of our faith, looking to the Lord Jesus, in I Peter, verse 8 and 9— “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Yesterday we considered the basis of our salvation, verses 10-12, the source, the prophets of the Old Testament, then with that the search that they undertook to understand concerning the Lord Jesus, then the sequence that was discovered that He would first have to suffer and then enter into His glory, the secret that had not yet been revealed to them that they were not receiving the fullness of what God had for man,but we receive that fullness in this age of Grace and the substance of this is embraced in the Gospel which by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven is communicated to us. I’ve said that by way of review, because there are many of you who were not here earlier in the week.
I want to concentrate in the minutes that remain upon the concluding section of chapter one which relates Our Behavior Because of Salvation. I quoted a statement, the other day, that my pastor, Dr. Ralph Stoll, who is now in the presence of the Lord, used to often make. He said, “When you can say I believe, you can then say I belong.” I want to say to you now that if you have believed on Jesus Christ, you then can confidently say I belong to the family of God. I’m a part of the family, the family of God. I’ve added two things to that. Not only I believe and I belong; but what I want to emphasize today is I behave and then the fourth thing I’ll be gone, and we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus. Today we are emphasizing the third of those b’s, that’s behavior because of salvation. May I emphasize to you that when you are saved you are not saved because of what you have done but because of what God has done for you in and through His Son. In fact, you are not even kept by, saved by what you do. You are kept, saved by what He has done for you. That does not mean then that you are free to do as you please. Rather because you are saved, you are free to do as He pleases. Thus, there is to be in the life of the believer a responsive behavior that reflects the will of God in His life, that shows forth in His behavior day by day. Verse 13 begins this section of behavior and it says “Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind.” That’s an interesting expression, and you can only understand it when you understand the way people dressed in the time when Peter wrote this and indeed the way in which some people still dress over in the eastern culture. They wore these long flowing robes, and they had a kind of a sash about the middle. Now if they wanted to move quickly, they would draw these folds together and tighten up the sash, maybe pulling up the skirt of this thing a little bit so that they could move more rapidly and without hindrance, It’s that very figure that Peter uses here, “Gird up the loins of your mind.” Get rid of your loose thinking. Tighten up your thinking a bit and be ready to move ahead. Then he goes into this matter, “Be sober.” Now that doesn’t just mean to abstain from alcoholic beverages. I think it can include that, but it means to be realistic. In fact the thing I want you first to see is the first of a number of five things, at least we will try to touch upon this morning.
The first exhortation in regard to behavior is to be soberly hopeful. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation or unveiling of Jesus Christ.” We do look forward with anticipation to His coming. We do look forward to that time when we’ll be gone, but we don’t go out on a hillside and stand out there with a white robe on and say, “Well, the Lord’s coming back. I’m not going to do anything anymore.” No, we’re realistic about the return of the Lord, and we know that we have been commissioned to occupy until He comes. In the past couple of years there have been some books written, some even by Christians, who are exhorting that in the light of the coming storm and calamity that is going to come upon the United States, the best thing to do is to go off somewhere and buy some land where you raise your own cattle and food and all the rest of this so that then you can survive the coming crisis. Well friends, let’s be soberly, realistically hopeful. We know that worse times are ahead, but we also know that we have been commissioned to occupy until He comes. That means to do business until He comes and so engage ourselves actively in serving the Lord while we hope to the end for that grace that is going to be at the revelation or unveiling of Jesus Christ. I am always challenged as I think of the grace of God. It appears elsewhere in this passage as we study the passage before. I emphasized that the grace of God comes to us initially when we believe. “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” It comes to us in a sustaining way as Paul sensed it and records it in II Corinthians 12, “My grace is sufficient for thee;” and when you come to II Corinthians 8 and 9 you find the grace of giving and then God’s grace in supplying as a result of giving. Here’s the grace of God that comes at the appearing of Jesus Christ. I believe that this grace is evident in a number of ways. Number one, the very fact that we will be with Him at His appearing is the grace of God. I heard, I guess it was my friend Paul Van Gorder say it when he was here last year, that there are a number of things that will amaze us all when we get to heaven. One, there will be some people there that we didn’t think would be there. Two, there will be some that are not there that we thought would be there. Three, we’ll be there and that’s the most amazing thing of all. Now that’s the grace of God, the very fact that we will be with the Lord Jesus. The thing that amazes me beyond that is that the Lord Jesus is going to reward us for our service which we have done here on earth. Let’s never forget that anything that we ever do that has any value for eternity is because of what He has done for us and what He enables us to do. Often in referring to this, I reminisce back to the time when my children were smaller and they used to come to me and ask for money so that they could go buy me a Father’s Day present or a birthday present or something like that. I’d give them the money, they’d go out and buy it, and they’d bring me this present, and then I’d make all sorts of a fuss over it and show my appreciation and praise because of what they had given to me. You know, that’s exactly what the grace of God is when He appears in that He will reward us for doing only that which He actually enabled us to do. That’s the grace that’s going to be brought unto us at the unveiling of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, we are to be obediently holy, beginning at verse 14, “As obedient children.” I could stop there and bring a whole message on that, but I’m not going to. I am going to make a couple references to children being obedient. Number one, I am convinced that the Word of God teaches that children are to be obedient to their parents. Not only obedient but even to honor their parents. Now there is such a thing as being obedient without honoring someone, but I am convinced that the Word of God teaches both of these things. I am also convinced that in the family of God we are to be obedient to our heavenly Father which includes doing not just what He commands us to do but also what we know He would expect us to do even if He didn’t tell us. Now you think about that, and there’s a lot of truth in that. When I was going with the young lady who subsequently became my bride, we were courting I always sort of preferred the casual approach, especially when I got home. If I had to wear a coat and tie and all that out in the public eye I didn’t mind doing that. I don’t mind doing it today. “As obedient children, (notice the contrast) not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” When you come to Romans 12 it indicates that we are not to be conformed to this world. Don’t let the world push or pour you or press you into its mold. You get a little moldy when you do that, you know. Some Christians have gotten moldy because they’ve let the world press them into its mold. I am frankly a little concerned about Christian parents, because I don’t think Christian parents set forth the standards for their children clearly enough and early enough in the life of their children. Our heavenly Father has set forth clearly in advance for us all that we need to know, and we ought to be obedient to it and not conform ourselves just to the world. Do you know for the most part I think that 95 per cent of Christians today let the world completely determine their life style, and parents have nothing to say about it. The same attitude has come over into our Christianity. We take our cues from the world, and we squeeze in a little bit of what the Father wants but not too much. That’s not being as obedient children. “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance But, as He which hath called you is holy.” I am convinced that holiness is the fundamental attribute of God, and holiness has a negative and a positive to it. Negatively, holiness is separation from all that is sinful and defiling. Positively, it is cultivation of all that is pure and just and true and good. You need both if you are going to have the balanced Christian life— separation and cultivation. As your Father in heaven is holy, “. . . so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” That word “conversation” could be translated “behavior,” and that’s what gives us a clue for this whole section. Your whole behavior “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” It is out of this exhortation and the example of God Himself that He wants us to be like He is. We have already been declared to be holy. In fact, the word for saint in the New Testament is the Greek word “holy one;” and we are already declared to be holy, not let’s look it, let’s act like it, let’s be holy. Separating ourselves from all that is sinful and defiling, cultivating that which is right and pure and just and true and good.
Now, out of that being obediently holy, then, be sincerely reverent. Notice the beginning of verse 17, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” Now that’s not just a cringing fear. That’s a fear of being disrespectful to your Father in heaven. It’s a fear that makes you to be reverent toward your Father in heaven, to honor, to respect Him, to adore Him because of what He is. I think it’s tragic because so many of the hearts of the fathers have not been turned to their children and the children to their fathers. My dad was a hard working man, and I never got to see him too much, because he worked from early morning until late at night; and he would go to bed early but I always had respect for him. Later in life, after Dad retired, I did get to know my father much better, and I came to love and appreciate him. I determined in my life, if the Lord ever allowed me to be a father, there is one thing I wanted to do and that was to try to maintain as close a relationship with my children as I possibly could and also hopefully be to them an example of what a father ought to be. I do want to say that we do not allow our children to call us by our first name. We do not allow them to use derogatory terms about us. We expect a degree of reverence and respect and honor from them. One of the things I’ll remember is when I was watching the news one night , and my son came over and put his head down on my chest and I put my arms around him, and we just talked about a few things. Boy, I tell you that that’s worth more than a million dollars to me. A respectful and loving relationship, that’s good for him and it’s good for me. I covet for you that relationship with your heavenly Father, a close, loving relationship that you can enjoy each other as I think you ought, to be reverent before Him, sincerely reverent. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (Here again it’s your manner of life or behavior) received by tradition from your fathers, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” God the Father, in His Son, payed for you the supreme sacrifice, the purchase price of your redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. Oh, I hope you appreciate what God has done for you in and through His Son. No wonder Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ by Whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” Paul was concerned to please God rather than to please the world, because he loved God because God had given His Son to die for his sins. Yes our purchase price was paid by a Savior whose life was perfection itself. “The precious blood of Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot (God’s plan), Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest (or shown forth) in these last times for you, Who by Him do believe (in the Greek there is really “are believers”) in God, Who raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” Because of what God the Father has done for you in the giving of His Son, we now have faith in Him, we have hope for the future because we are in Him, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” You see the blessed truth of the Trinity is unfolded there. You have the blood of the Lord Jesus. You have the reverence for the Father in verse 17, and you have here the truth being obeyed through the Spirit, and the blessed holy Trinity works together in enabling you to be sincerely reverent.
Then fourthly, and we’ll just touch on this, be purely loving. Going back to verse 22 again, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren (now that’s the Greek word “philadelphia” there), see that you love one another (that’s the stronger Greek word “agape” there) with a pure heart fervently,” be purely loving. I believe that when you are sincerely reverent to God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, there will spring out of that the love of God shed abroad in your hearts so that you will love others. You will love fellow-believers, and even love the lost with the heart compassion of God Himself.
Finally, beginning in verse 23, you can be confidently assured. “Being born again (the sense of the Greek there is having been born again), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” Here is the change that is affected in the life of one who believes. He believes what God has said, and there is brought about new life, he is born again. Our flesh and this life is compared to grass. Notice verse 24. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.” I have meditated on that word “the glory of man,” and I think it is simply the best that man can produce. The best that man can produce is as the flower of the grass. “The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; (but then notice this contrast) But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.” That’s the school verse at Lancaster Bible College— “The Word of the Lord endureth for ever.” While all other things pass away, God’s Word will endure eternally. Some years ago, God made very clear to me that all things will pass away. In fact, Peter said, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved.” (II Peter 3:11) Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away.” But then He said, “My Word shall never pass away.” In addition to the eternal Word of God, there are the eternal souls of men. Your soul will exist eternally either in God’s presence or apart from His presence. You know what makes the difference? It’s whether or not this eternal Word has been united with your eternal soul. When that eternal Word is united with your eternal soul you are born again. You believe what God has said concerning His Son. Then you have the precious privilege of taking this eternal Word into your heart and allowing it to become a part of you, even as I hope you are doing this morning (now) and will continue to do daily in your own study. “And this is the Word which by the gospel (the good news) is preached unto you.” Our behavior because of salvation: be soberly hopeful, be obediently holy, be sincerely reverent, be purely loving, be confidently assured. I am sure that if these things are worked out in our lives, people will see the reality of the difference that has come in the life of the believer.

As it was delivered at
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 16, 1975

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