Chosen to Obey (Works #3)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
(1 Peter 1:1-2 NASB)
Honestly I had no intention of continuing on the same topic as the last couple of posts, but I was sitting to read 1 Peter and I got stuck on the first couple of verses. Eventually I finished the chapter, but these first couple of verses seemed to keep coming back to me.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those... who are chosen... to obey Jesus Christ... Can you see that. Peter is writing to the chosen, or to the elect, but what have they been chosen or elected to? The answer is ‘to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.’ The logical conclusion that can be drawn from this passage is that the evidence of someone being chosen is that they obey Jesus Christ. Again, obedience is the evidence of grace, or the evidence of faith. Somewhere in our evangelical decisionism we have lost the truth that obedience is required! Recall from the last post that we are not, never have been, and never will be accepted on the merits of our works, at the same time realize that if the Holy Spirit indeed dwells in you, God will perform good works through you. He has chosen you for that very purpose! Look at the verses again... Chosen to obey.
Maybe this point is too simple, and I am just wasting time by continuing to hit on it, but it is important to see. It is incredibly important to recognize that all good works that come from a believer are really not of the believer at all, but Christ who dwells in them. It is equally important to understand that if Christ dwells in a man good works will be manifest. If you look in the scriptures at the verses concerning predestination and election you will typically find that believers are predestined to something more than just heaven... for instance in Romans we read that we are predestined to be conformed to the image, or likeness of Christ. What does that mean? We are predestined to act like the savior. So are you being conformed to His likeness? Is your life being marked by greater and greater obedience to his commands?
In my next set of postings I plan to deviate entirely from this topic. I have been listening to a lot of John Piper lately and it has got me going back to the scriptures to research joy, gladness, and rejoicing. I must say it is very refreshing to read what the scriptures teach about joy, at the same time it shows me I have great need of sanctification. I write often about how obedience and works are primary evidences of real faith, but it is clear that another primary evidence is joy. Piper is very good on teaching this. His teaching on Christian Hedonism is very good, and has been very surprising to me.