Reasons for Right Living

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By Rev.  William Ilnisky 

Scripture of the Day: 1 PETER 2:11-12

The basic commandment in this passage is that Christians should abstain from fleshly desires. It is of the greatest importance that we should see what Peter means by this. In modern usage, the phrases “sins of the flesh and fleshly desires” have become considerably narrowed in meaning. For us, they usually mean sexual sin, but in the New Testament they mean much more than that. Paul’s list of the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, includes “immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.” There are more than bodily sins here.

In the New Testament, “flesh” stands for far more than the physical nature of man. It stands for human nature apart from God; it means unredeemed human nature; it means life lived without the standards, the help, the grace and the influence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Fleshly desires and sins of the flesh, include not only the grosser sins, but all that is characteristic of fallen human nature. The Christian must avoid these desires. As Peter sees it, there are these two reasons for this abstinence: (1) because he is a stranger and a pilgrim. The quite common Greek used here describes someone who is only temporarily resident in a place and whose home is somewhere else. It describes the patriarchs in their wanderings, especially Abraham who went out not knowing where he was going and whose search was for the city whose maker and builder is God (Hebrews 11:9, 13). They are used to describe the children of Israel when they were slaves and strangers in Egypt before they entered the Promised Land (Acts 7:6).

Two great truths emerge here about the Christian. (a) There is a real sense in which he is a stranger in the world; because of that, he cannot accept the world’s laws, ways and standards. The Christian is a citizen of the kingdom of God, and it is by the laws of that Kingdom that he must direct his life. He must take his full share of responsibility for living on earth, but his citizenship is in heaven, and the laws of heaven are paramount. (b) The Christian is not a permanent resident on earth; he is on his way to the country which is beyond. He must do nothing which would keep him from reaching his ultimate goal. He must never become so entangled in the world that he cannot get away from its grip; he must never soil himself as to be unfit to enter the presence of the Holy God to whom he is going.

Life Application: 

How ready are you for Heaven? Only you and God know for sure, so make sure you are ready at all times

Praise/Prayer: 

This old hymn comes to my mind:
“RING THE BELLS OF HEAVEN, THERE IS JOY TODAY
For a soul returning from the wild,
See! The Father meets him out upon the way,
Welcoming His weary, wondering child.
Glory, glory! How the angels sing!
Glory, glory! How the loud harps ring!
‘Tis the ransomed army, like a mighty sea,
Pealing forth the anthems of the free!”
Thank You, Father, for the promise of Heaven! Amen!
(Dear reader, just think! That hymn applies to you, and me and all of God’s children coming home to Him. )

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