Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
Greetings in the name of the Lord. I hope and pray you are knowing the mercies of our Lord that are new every morning. You have been in my thoughts and prayers this week – particularly as we strive together as the body of Christ to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ. May we all remember that as believers we possess resurrection life in Christ – the Spirit of Christ indwells us!
As Jesus walked the path to the cross perhaps his disciples began to misunderstand what it meant that the Christ was the Son of God. Well, in the passage we will consider this Sunday, Jesus will give the inner three (Peter, James, and John) a powerful reminder as he is transfigured before them. Come and join us as we dive into the most majestic event!
A few announcements:
- This Sunday morning at 9:45 we will continue our series on the “Great Truths of the Faith” by looking at how we are to fight against indwelling sin in our life.
- Our organizing service is this Friday night at 7:00 with dinner beforehand at 6:00. The service will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Houston Northwest at 290 and Gessner (14919 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77040).
- Our Vos theology group will meet tonight at the Arendale’s home (7818 Green Devon Drive, 77095) at 7:00 to discuss chapter 5 of Vos’ “Biblical Theology.” All are welcome to join us!
- Finally, this week’s devotion is a continuation from last week on the topic of holiness form 1 Peter.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Holiness, part II”
1 Peter 1:22, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
In last week’s devotion we noted the Lord’s call to the church unto holiness: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). And we observed the two motivations Peter gives to the church as they pursue holiness and Christ-likeness. First, as created and redeemed image bearers of the Lord we are called to imitate something of the holy character of our heavenly Father – there is to be a family likeness within the household of God (1:15-16; cf. Matt 5:48). And second, we must live in light of the judgment. We will all one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ (1:17-19; cf. 2 Cor 5:10).
But how does this holiness to which we are called manifest itself? How does such holiness show and evidence itself? Put simply, what does such holiness look like? Well, much of the remainder of 1 Peter answers this question (e.g. 2:18-25; 3:1-7; 4:12-19); but in this devotion I want to focus on one specific area of holiness. Peter states in 1 Peter 1:22, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” Loving one another is a powerful and clear demonstration of the grace of Christ at work in the heart of the believer. Christians growing in holiness will more and more show such maturity in the way they love one another. There are three brief points to note in considering this verse.
First, observe that Peter is clearly addressing believers – those who have “purified [their] souls by obedience to the truth” (cf. 1:1). In other words, Peter is not addressing his teaching on holiness to unbelievers; rather it is those united to Christ whom Peter urges unto greater holiness.
Second, note those to whom believers are to show “brotherly love.” He states plainly, “love one another.” We are called in this verse to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Now we must be clear – this does not mean that Christians are not called to love the unbeliever. We absolutely are to love our neighbor (Matt 22:39). We are to care for our neighbor – to share the gospel with our neighbor – and to pray for our neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). But this is not what Peter is referring to in this text. Peter is calling believers to love one another. He is calling Christian brothers and sisters to love one another. And because of indwelling sin, this can often be a difficult task. But notice Peter does not specify which brothers and sisters we are to love with a brotherly love. No … we are called to love ‘one another’ with a brotherly love. Put frankly, it matters not if there are no common interests – or if there are conflicting personalities between two Christians – there is a common interest and portion in our Lord Jesus Christ; and thus we are to love one another!! And it is just this kind of other-worldly love that our world cannot fathom; and thus it is just this kind of love that serves as a powerful testimony to the gospel of Christ (John 17:20-21).
And finally, what kind of love are we to show to one another? It is to be ‘sincere.’ That is, it is to be truthful and without hypocrisy. It is the kind of love that is based on truth. It is the kind of love that does not run the other way when things get difficult. Rather it is the kind of love that runs to the difficult person and to the difficult situation. In summary, it is the kind of love with which Christ first loved sinners like you and me! Brothers and sisters, are you pursuing holiness? Are you showing such holiness in the way you love one another? Is your love for one another sincere? Is it grounded in Christ’s love for you? May we show the world the love of Christ in the way we love one another!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org
God bless and I look forward to seeing you and to worshipping with you this Friday and Sunday!