Friday, January 27, 2017

God of Truth and Life (1 Peter 1:23-25)

“for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23–25, NASB95)

Oh, how quickly things change. This past week has been an interesting time in our country as we experienced a peaceful transition of power on a national stage while some of our politicians refused to participate. As the new President started his work, things which the previous President signed into place by executive order were changed by new order, and now we are awaiting the approval of new Cabinet members so that our Executive branch of government can once again go about its own work.

And, away from the Capital buildings and the workings of the President and Congress, there has been large unrest in the streets ranging from outright anarchy to large marches. All of this has garnered media attention where disagreement with the people’s elected choice for a new direction has been voiced. It is yet to be seen how much coverage another march going on today will receive as the annual March for Life is underway. This march is not violent or harsh in its words or actions, but is one that continues from year to year pleading for our country to return to a culture of life. What a stark contrast it has been this week as one march celebrated death through abortion and the other life through protecting that of countless preborn children. Life and death are on the stage before us this week, and on both sides are people who are strongly convicted.

The ways of man are always temporary and subject to change and perishing. This is true in our societal structures and values just as it is true in very physical lives. Just as one day we might be able to take a long hike the next we might suffer a fall and be unable to walk, so it is that peoples change in what they hold dear. The reality is that everything we see has a life to it, and then it perishes. This is the way of fallen man in a fallen world. It is all temporary.

In these verses, Peter quotes the prophet Isaiah from whom we read, “A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:6–8, NASB95) In the next few verses Isaiah would tell the people to go up on the mountain and proclaim their great God. He is the One who does not change and He is the One who has power to establish forever. In verses 28-31 we continue to read, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:28–31, NASB95)

Sure, we live in bodies that fail, but living in us is our God Who never fails. He is our strength, and it is Him who enables us to serve Him and love others fervently or earnestly (1 Peter 1:22). We may be born of human seed, and we all know that short of Christ coming first these bodies will fail and perish. But, for those of us who have trusted Christ for their salvation we have the certain assurance that all that we are is not all that we see. We have been made spiritually alive in Christ, and even now we are enlivened by His Spirit.

This truth is incredibly important not only for us to remember, but to rest in as things around us seem, at times, to be spinning out of control. God never changes and His ways are firmly established. He does not grow weary and His Spirit strengthens us for difficult days. All Christians are made alive in Christ, and our eternity is settled once and for all. There is nothing in this life that can affect this.

But until the time that He brings each of us into His presence, He has called us to live as lights in the presence of others. We have the Light of life in us. We have the truth of His Word, and it is His unchanging truth that is to direct our steps and to come from our mouths. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”” (John 8:12, NASB95)

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