12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Romans 13:12–13, NKJV)
The dawn breaks and beams of sunlight burst upon the land. The night is over; time to rise and shine and meet the challenges of the day. The darkness of night lends itself to the indecencies of sin. But, Christians are “light in the Lord” – children of light who follow Christ, the light of the world (Eph. 5:8; John 8:12). Christians are admonished to get rid of every vestige of sin and clothe ourselves with the armor (or, weapon) of light. As light diffuses darkness, we must reject every indulgence of the flesh. Sin dwells in dark places of the heart and lures unsuspecting Christians to fulfill its lusts. It is time to clean up your heart and walk decently. The light of the Son is shining. Walk in His light. Live by His truth today.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11, NKJV)
Have you ever pushed the snooze button when your alarm clock went off? The day could wait. The bed was so cozy, more sleep was so inviting – so you rolled over and drifted back to unconsciousness. But of course, time was still passing while you slept. That extra sleep did not remove the day’s tasks. The apostle reminds Christians the alarm clock has sounded and it is time to wake up! No snooze button here; there is work to do. Time is passing by. You are a disciple of Jesus and it is high time to be active and faithful every day. The day of your salvation is nearer than when you first believed. You cannot reclaim the past. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is uncertain. Now is the time to be alert and active in the service of the Lord. Don’t roll over and go back to sleep; get up and get busy living for Jesus.
The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
Solomon bears witness to a fundamental principle of humanity: Parents are made joyful when their child walks in wisdom. There is no greater joy, John would say, “than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). Conversely, few sorrows are more profound and drive deeper into the core of a mother’s heart than watching her child make foolish, godless decisions. (See Proverbs 15:20 for a parallel verse.) Foolishness can be driven out of the heart of a child by applying the consistent “rod of correction” (Prov. 22:15). Teaching a child to fear the Lord helps them begin a life of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Fathers (and mothers), instruct your child to fear the Lord. Correct your child while there is hope (Prov. 19:18). You are equipping your child to be wise. Child, realize there is no future in foolishness, only empty dreams and eternal regret. Walk in truth and bring joy to your parents – and especially to God.
7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” (Proverbs 9:7–9, NKJV)
These words of wisdom sound much like Jesus’ warning not to cast pearls before swine to avoid being torn to pieces by their madness (Matt. 7:6). The scoffer holds God’s word in contempt, mocking its truth and ridiculing its righteousness. Such a hardened heart fully rejects the rebuke of Scripture and hates you for trying to bring him to his senses. Conversely, how joyful it is when the wise person accepts rebuke. He loves you for the rebuke and grows wiser from it. Which person do you choose to be? Are you the wise person who loves those who rebuke you with God’s truth because they seek your salvation? Or, do you hate those who try to correct you by rejecting God’s rebuke and blaming the messenger (because you hate the message)? Do not be that person. Be wise and accept God’s correction of sin. Love those who are willing to rebuke you in your sin. They are the ones who truly love you.
10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10–11, NKJV)
Peter has previously urged Christians to be humble before God, casting our cares upon Him because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:6-7). Now, he reminds us this does not mean our faith will not be tried and tested. God’s care does not remove the suffering that comes from being faithful to Him. There will always be faithless foes who try to foil your faith. The devil is always trying to deceive you into choosing sin and death. Enduring these present trials will help mature you as you remain faithful. Keep living for heaven in the midst of the storm. You will be strengthened by adversity, grounded and guarded by His grace. Never give up. Always rely on the Lord and live by faith. He has powerful control over all things. He has called you to eternal glory by Christ Jesus; He will not forsake you. Honor God for His great power and grace. Be faithful and true to Him.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV)
Peter has just assured us that the Lord constantly cares for us as we cast our cares upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). While doing so we must be sober-minded and watchful. The devil is stalking us. Every temptation to sin must be met with the stiff and steady resistance of faith. The devil continues to look for the weak lamb and the straying sheep. We must constantly be on guard lest he slip up on us and overtake us. It helps us to know that our brethren in other places face the same kinds of threats we face. Resistance is not futile; Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jno. 5:4).
6 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7, NKJV)
Peter has just taught that God favors the humble but resists the proud (1 Pet. 5:5). This becomes our incentive to be humble before God. We do so by casting our cares on Him, knowing He will bless us in His way and in His time. We may be tempted to become anxious and run ahead of God and His revealed will for our lives. We must be careful to follow His word, which is itself a mark of humility. Humility also implies contentment with God’s way. Jesus said, “he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 18:14). Let us be content to rely upon the Lord and not ourselves. He will never fail nor forsake those who are content in Him (Heb. 13:5). He cares for you.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, NKJV)
Living in God’s grace does not give Christians a license to have arrogant attitudes, words and deeds toward one another. There ought to be a symbiotic relationship between younger and older Christians; interdependent, instead of independent, of each other. In another context, Paul said, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7). We need each other. Therefore, proper respect and regard ought to be shown by all. Younger saints should yield to their elders out of respect and consideration. An older Christians should not discount and despise a fellow saint simply due to their youth. We are yield to one another out of humility. After all, God will not receive the proud; He favors the humble. Commit yourself to developing a humble attitude. Be humble by using kind words and respectful actions toward your brethren in Christ.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV)
Having been saved “by grace, through faith” and not by our merit, Christians are the workmanship of God. We are His creation object: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, NKJV). From eternity past, God prepared the “good works” in which we should walk: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). Each day we are to walk in “true righteousness and holiness”, not in the sin from which Christ saved us (Eph. 4:24). The inspired Scriptures equip us in God’s good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17). How thoughtless and thankless it would be to turn back to sin instead of faithfully living as God’s workmanship: saved, forgiven, and walking in God’s good works.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NKJV)
Given by grace, salvation is the gift of God. This great and marvelous truth is confirmed in Romans 6:23, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. God’s gift of salvation is obtained “through faith”. Faith is the sinner’s response to the gospel (which is the “word of His grace”, Acts 20:24, 32). Faith comes by hearing the word of God, therefore, one cannot be saved without knowing and believing the gospel (Rom. 10:17). But, salvation “through faith” is not faith “only”, since confession of one’s faith, repentance of sins and water baptism are necessary actions of faith inseparably connected to salvation (see Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21). When a person with faith obeys the “gospel of the grace of God” he does not merit his salvation (“not of works”); he accepts God’s gift “through faith”. Faith that is void of obedience is not salvation faith. What kind of faith do you choose to have today?