And so it begins. Once again we embark upon a family study journey. I downloaded the ebook version of Claiming Christ to our mobile devices so that we could take turns reading through the book I wrote this past year.
I wrote Claiming Christ for two reasons: to appeal towards a biblical model of Christianity rather than the ever-popular “claims” of being Christian that plague many churches, and to demonstrate the practical application that works and free choice contribute to the revealed process of salvation. The most signification portion of the book is dedicated to specific Q&A of what the word of God has to say about this and challenges the readers to document why they believe God recorded what he did in Scripture.
Perhaps to punctuate our start, the guest speaker at church today took us through the second half of 1 Pet 1 and attempted to answer why Peter repeatedly commanded action and works even though it is understood that we are saved by grace and not by works. He pointed out that the context does address salvation and that the verses do state that God the Father will judge us by our works.
However, as is common in pulpits, he shifted from the uncomfortable to the surreal by concluding that this section is not really about what we do, but about “being” in right relationship with God. According to this minister, the audience was all Christian and so God would cause everyone to do what Peter was admonishing.
In other words, yes, the Apostle Peter was calling for believers to act holy, but since they were already holy by faith in Jesus, obedience was not really that necessary. His reformed theology caused him to dismiss what Peter was calling for, to suggest that it would be automatic for believers and would entail no consequences for willful disobedience since they were already saved as believers.
The role that our deeds play in the grand scheme of eternity has historically been a call-to-arms. When faced with contentious ideas, the only approach commended by God was modeled by the Bereans in response to the shocking teachings of some guy named Paul: They turned to Scripture to see if what was being taught lined up or conflicted with the word of God.
So should we. In light of todays sermon, I couldn’t help but reflect upon what Peter himself wrote in 2 Pet 2 regarding many who claimed to be Christian, but whose “works” didn’t reflect Christ.
It is true that our efforts can never earn the gift of salvation, but in the end, those who dismiss obedience as God requires of Christians:
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (2 Pet 2:21)
What we do with the gift we have been trusted with does matter. That is what we are about to explore.
Will it be said of you that you have “noble character” because you willingly turned to the Scriptures to see if what I say is of God?