Suffering and Sanctification

Word of the Day – I love the letter of 1 Peter. Not only is it like a condensed version of the gospel, it teaches us about suffering and sanctification. All suffering in this life should bring us joy as we strive for the hope of being reunited with the Lord at his second coming. However, Peter warns us that there is a form of suffering that we must avoid. He pleads with those in the church, to not suffer because of doing evil things. What he means by this is that if we are striving to be holy as He is holy, we have to avoid sin in our lives at all costs (Sin being active rebellion against what God is revealing to us in our heart).

What is his reasoning for this? It is because the Lord will judge those in the church first. It is so easy to fall to the lie that all we have to do is have a few spiritual encounters with God to check off “eternal life” on our to-do lists. The Truth however, is seen all throughout scripture. Conversion and baptism are just the fist steps in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are called to surrender to the will of God every day of our lives. And as the Holy Spirit reveals new areas of darkness in our hearts, we are called to respond in humble obedience and allow God’s power to transform those areas of our life. Christianity is a lifestyle, not a series of emotional experiences. Holiness is a way, not a certificate. Speaking to the believers in the church, Peter makes a sobering claim. It is more difficult than people think to be saved. He even uses the word “difficult”. It would be nice to believe that he is talking about those outside the church, but if we are honest and take his words in context, he is speaking about those who have received the truth and have accepted it. In his own words, Peter teaches that it is already hard enough for the righteous person to be saved.

How much harder will it be for those that know and have accepted the truth of God’s grace, yet have decided to continue to walk in their sin. If Christianity is just something we do instead of the very beating of our heart… If we are clinging to the lie that we can continue to live in sin and still spend eternity with Christ, then we need to repent of these things.

We will not be judged on how much Truth we understand, we will be judged on how we respond to that Truth. This is a hard Word and many will not accept it. Yet, I am compelled to preach the truth. For I too will be held accountable for what I preach.