Meanderings of a Minister

Some Realities of Being a Believer
August 22, 2013, 9:26 pm
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1 Peter 1:17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; [1]

In 1 Peter 1:17, Peter lists some realities of being a believer.  These realities were meant to be a comfort and a challenge then and should be to those that call themselves believers today. 

Peter says, if you are a Christian, God is your Father.  This might seem like a huge “duh!”  What does this really mean?  It means that you are family.  It means that God loves you and will protect you if you will just listen to Him.  It means that you are not alone.  You are not on your own.  You belong to someone and something bigger than you.  It also means that you are part of a larger family that is commanded and resourced by God to help take care of you.

In addition, Peter says, if you are a Christian, God is your judge.  Now, many of you might be thinking that this is not a comfort.  You may even picture God with a lightning bolt in His hand waiting for you to blow it again.  You might picture a harsh, judgmental, angry God that has a list of everything you have ever done wrong and is licking his lips in anticipation of being able to hammer you for every little thing.  This is not a comfort and this is not the picture that Peter is wishing for us to get.

Peter says that God is the One that impartially judges each man’s work.  This is not for entrance into heaven as Ephesians 2:8-9 make it plain that salvation is by grace, through faith, and not of ourselves or our works.  Our standing before God is not about what we have done, but about what Christ has done for us.  Then what is this judgment you are talking about?  I am glad that you asked.  1 Corinthians 3 and 4 talk about a judgment for reward.  Even Jesus said that giving a cup of cold water to a child, in Jesus’ Name, will result in a reward.  Revelation talks about the crowns that we will be given as rewards for our works that stand the judgment flames.  What do we do with that reward?  According to Revelation 4 and 5, we will cast them at Jesus’ feet in worship and thanksgiving for the glorious gift of eternal life we have been given as we are overwhelmed at His power and goodness.

That fact that God is our judge, and is impartial, provides another blessing.  It means that God judges everyone the same.  He is just.  Paul says that no one who calls on the Name of the Lord will ever be disappointed Romans 10:11 and that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved in Romans 10:13.  This is God’s standard and He can always be counted on to act justly and consistently.

Next, Peter says, if you are a Christian, you are to “conduct yourself in fear”.  What does this mean?  That we live in caves and cower before a watching world and panic at the mention of any controversy or difficulty?  No, it means to have a healthy respect for God.  Think about it!  The God that spoke the universe, time, and life into existence is your Father!  That ought to make us live with a healthy dose of awe and reverence for God.  That is Peter’s point.

Too often, we approach our prayer time, Bible Study, worship (corporate and private), and fellowship with no thought of Who it is we represent or are approaching.  Peter says we ought to make a big deal out of God because He is not a big deal, but is The Only Deal.  He is the ultimate in power and should be recognized and respected as such.

Lastly, Peter reminds us that we are not going to be here long and, regardless of how many books come out promoting it, this is not our best life.  Our best life is to come and we ought to be living for that life and not just this one.  If you are a Christian, God is your Father, your Judge, worthy of your respect and reverence, and will one day call you to Himself to live for eternity.  That is the reality of being a believer.  What are you doing with that reality?

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.


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