Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pilgrims and Bondservants

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:11-17, New King James Version)

Since we are just visitors here, staying for a short time on this earth, we need to keep ourselves from being entangled in the things that would hinder our progress.  Pilgrims and sojourners must travel light, and whenever we give in to fleshly lusts we find ourselves hauling around emotional and spiritual baggage.  Not only that, but the reason God leaves us here in the world, rather than taking us home immediately when we come to Him, is so we can invite others to receive His free gift of salvation.  We must conduct ourselves in such a way that they'll see a difference in us and want what we have.

The way to silence those who accuse us is to live honorably.  To submit to and obey the laws.  There may still be those who will falsely accuse us, but they will know deep in their hearts that their accusations are lies, they won't be able to make these accusations before God in the day of Christ's return, but will fall silent before Him. 

We are free in Christ (vs. 16). We know that even we sin our Lord forgives us.  Yet we are not to use that freedom as a cloak for vice, we are not to sin intentionally and hide behind our freedom in Christ.  Rather we are to live as bondservants of Christ.  Remember, a bondservant was a slave who had been given his freedom, but who loved his master and his home and so chose of his own free will to continue serving his master all the days of his life.,(See Deuteronomy 15:12-17)  So while we have our freedom we should, out of love for our Master, freely choose to do His will.

We should treat all people with honor and respect, not only those who are living righteously and serving our Lord, but also those who don't know our Lord and are caught up in lifestyles of sin, because we won't win anyone by despising them and treating them like dirt.

We also need to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  When those around us see our love for one another, how well help each other, forgive each other, and pray for each other, they will know that we are His disciples,  (See John 13:34-35), and some of them will drawn to Him as well.

We also are to give honor to the rulers in government.  In the time this epistle was written, it was king.  Today in America, it is our president.  We are to honor him, whether we agree with him or not.  We are not prevented from speaking out against policies and participating in the political process, but we should NEVER resort to verbally attacking the person.  We should honor him, just as we are to honor all men, and treat him with respect.

So I pray that the church will put away the jokes, the unflattering posters, the unfounded accusations, and will start to pray for our president.  I pray if we write letters in regards to policies we disagree with, whether those letters are to the editor of our local paper, to our congressmen and women, or to the White House, that our letters will be polite and respectful and will speak to the issues, not attack the person in office.

Lord, help me to abstain from all that would hinder my journey.  Help me Lord, to live in such a way that those around me will either be drawn to You or at least be silenced before You.  Help me to honor all people, so not will have a just reason to accuse.  I thank you Lord, that each day You give me freedom, and that I am free to choose to stay with You.  I choose You today Lord, I will stay with You to serve You.  Help me to be a good servant today Lord.

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