1 Pet 1:17
INTRO: As I continue to read and study in this first letter of Peter, I am more and more impressed that Peter wanted disciples to know they should live within the boundaries of Christian behavior. Being a Christian is a special choice we make; a special privilege we enjoy; a special life we live. Now, all of that says to me, at least, that we need to do some serious thinking about living this new life. It is important to preach and teach the how of conversion. But it is equally as important that we seriously consider the how of this new life! One of the grand things about the new life is our new way of addressing God ...
I. WE MAY NOW CALL HIM FATHER (1:17a)
A. Contrast the unfriendly gods of the pagan world
1. cold, ugly, lifeless forms ... cant move/speak (see Jer 10:5)
2. representatives of these deities demand inordinate sacrifice (keep people in poverty), self inflicted pain (to demonstrate devotion)
3. there is certainly no lovely fatherhood idea
B. Contrast, too, that many cannot call Him Father
1. simply, this is a privilege ones child has
2. two figures are used in New Testament to emphasize the beginning of Father- child relationship
3. new birth - 1 Pet 1:3; adoption - Eph 1:5 ... both figures speak of change in relationship (cf. Col 1:13)
C. But we may, and do, call Him our Father
1. Mt 6:9 and Rom 8:15
2. this was a truly new concept for Jew and Gentile
3. and it is a relationship which I believe needs to be stressed!
II. BUT WE CANNOT EXPECT HIM TO BE BLIND (1:17b)
A. His love, as a Father, is not indulgent and soft
1. God - who is Father - is God who is Judge
2. ideas that because God is loving He wont condemn sin in His children are not Biblical ideas!
3. (Imagine the feeling of father who must judge his child!)
B. His love is not partial to some over others
1. without respect of persons (Acts 10:34,35) ... the gospel message is universally applicable and available
2. as God judges, His is totally fair (see 1 Sam 16:7)
3. by contrast: Jas 2:1-4
C. His love expects His children to be faithful
1. judgeth according to every mans work (also 1:14)
2. Mt 7:21-23 there is more to being His child than assuming the name!
3. note that work here is singular not an occasional work or effort ... but mans life seen as a whole!
D. His love is always cognizant of us
1. He could not judge if He didnt have constant vision
2. judgeth ... form of the word describes something that is present and continuing
3. what could have a negative tone, then, takes on a positive flavor for the child of God in that God is always aware of goings and comings
III. THUS, A WHOLESOME FEAR (1:17c)
A. The fear of reverence and awe
1. Gods children are not terrified 1 Jno 4:18
2. but since He is both Father and Judge, it is totally acceptable and right for us to see this as not a casual relationship (Comment on the hi, Dad prayers of some)
B. Fear of displeasing God ... of causing Him pain
1. here is a lovely aspect of the word fear so caught up in this relationship that ones whole interest is in pleasing the Father ... measuring up to His expectations
2. or, the fear of falling into sin (Mt 26:41)
CLOSE: Well, other folks may have their own modes of addressing Him. But we call God our Father. And since we do, we need to strive to grow more like Him day by day. Are you Gods child?
Cecil A. Hutson
18 March 2001
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)