Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
The Lord promises us that his mercies are new each day. As we reach the mid-way point of the week, I pray you know God’s mercies that are new this day. Also, continue to reflect on what we considered last Sunday: King Jesus is a suffering king who conquered through the cross – the cross comes before the crown. This Sunday, we will consider how that pattern plays out in the life of the Christian.
- Our Vos theology group will meet next Wednesday at 7:00. If you don’t have the book no problem … come and learn with us!
- The Installation and Organization service is next Friday, Oct 17th at 7:00 (dinner before at 6:00). It will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Houston NW at 290 and Gessner.
- We will continue our Great Truths of the Faith series in Sunday school this week by looking at the Christian life.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection on the call to holiness from 1 Peter 1.
As always, if you have any questions, please call me.
God bless and I look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Holiness, part I”
1 Peter 1:16, “Since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
The Apostle Peter is concerned about the holiness of the church. One of the key themes of 1 Peter is the call for believers to pursue holiness. And such holiness is to manifest itself in every arena of life – from the workplace (1:18-25) to the home (3:1-7), from the church (5:1-5) to times of trouble and suffering (4:12-19). Also, in order to maintain the proper Biblical balance, it must be noted that Peter’s call to holiness follows his declaration of the grandness of our salvation in Christ (we see this same balance in many of Paul’s letters; see Romans and Ephesians for example). Peter highlights the hope and inexpressible joy of the one who has been born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, there is an inheritance, Peter proclaims, that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for God’s people (1:3-12).
And in light of this grand declaration of the fullness and glory of our salvation in Christ, Peter calls God’s people to a life and pattern of holy living: “do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance … you shall be holy” (1:14, 16). Peter, however, does not leave his call to holiness ‘floating in mid-air.’ That is, he gives reasons – he grounds his call to obedience in truth. For example, we’ve already mentioned the grand statement of salvation in 1:3-12. The Christian life is to be lived in light of God’s objective work of salvation on behalf of his people.
But there are two further grounds or motivations for obedience that I wish to highlight in 1 Peter 1. First, Peter writes in 1:15-16, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” We are called to imitate and to reflect the holiness of our God (see Matt 5:48). There is to be a family likeness in the household of God. In fact, Peter address his readers as “obedient children” (v. 14), thus highlighting the familial aspect of their identity in Christ. God is holy – our Heavenly Father is holy – and we are called to reflect his holiness – we are called to cultivate a ‘family resemblance.’ We are called to love what he loves and to hate what he hates.
Second, Peter writes in 1:17, “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” We are called to live in light of eternity. Specifically, we are called to live in light of the final judgment. Now as believers we have been once and for all declared righteous in God’s eyes. We are united to Christ; and such a union can never and will never be broken. However, we will still stand before the judgment seat of our God (see Rom 2:6, 16). And there is a sense in which the believer is to live in ‘holy fear’ (v. 17) in this life.
To summarize, Peter has given us two motivations to holiness: (1) we are the children of a holy heavenly Father; and we are called to imitate him. (2) Moreover, we are called to live in light of the judgment – conducting ourselves in holy fear before a Holy God. We must never forget, however, the source of our holiness – namely Christ. We are united to Chris. And we are to work out our salvation in the strength of the Lord who is at work in us (Phil 2:12-13!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org