Sober and Watchful #507

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.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).

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He Cares for You #506

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 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.

Clothed with Humility #505

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.

God’s Workmanship #504

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.

By Grace, through Faith #503

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 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?

God’s Shepherd #502

23  “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24  And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. 25  “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” (Ezekiel 34:23–25, NKJV)

This prophetic picture of Messianic peace is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His church. In John 10:11-16, Jesus identified Himself as the good shepherd who would give His life for the sheep. He knows His sheep and His own know Him, listening to His voice to lead them to sustenance and safety. Jesus is our peace – the One who gives us peace with God and peace among ourselves as “one flock” (Jno. 10:16). People yearn for earthly peace, and many think Ezekiel is writing of future peace in a millennial kingdom. But, the gospel of peace is the “covenant of peace” that currently gives “showers of blessings” in fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prediction (Ezek. 34:26). This prophecy has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the good shepherd. His sheep have peace with God and enjoy spiritual security by hearing and following the Shepherd’s voice. Be sure to hear and follow God’s shepherd each day.

The World Has Hated Them #501

14  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14–17, NKJV)

In prayer to His Father, Jesus said He had entrusted God’s word to the apostles as a shield and a sword against the world’s opposition. The “world” that hated Jesus and His apostles is the system or cosmos of evil, “the people constituting the world whose values, beliefs, and morals are in distinction and rebellion to God’s” (Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos Bible Software). The world continues to hate the followers of Jesus because we are not of this world. God’s word of truth exposes the world’s sin. Those who love sin instead of God will hate truth and those who follow it. The world remains under the sway of “evil one” (Satan, 1 Jno. 5:19). But, God’s truth has power to set us apart from the world. As so, we are of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).

“And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)