The Story: Can a person profess faith in Christ without experiencing, over time, a change of life? The witness of the New Testament is that those who have truly been justified by grace through faith will bring forth the fruit of righteousness unto Christlikeness. Peter concurs. When it comes to our old sinful behaviors, Peter says, “Time’s up!” We need to move on to walk with Jesus (1 Jn. 2.1-6) and not with our unbelieving friends. Does that mean we can have no association with sinners? Certainly not. It simply means our association with them must be based on the new life we have in Christ, even though that may surprise some of them, or provoke them to persecute us in one way or another. A day of judgment is coming for all of us; our works will be assessed at that time, although not as the means of our salvation (1 Cor. 3.10-15). Let’s make sure we’re pursuing the good works for which we have been redeemed (Eph. 2.10), so that the Lord may be honored when He judges our lives.
The Structure: Augustine explained that, in this world, the City of God and the city of man are intermingled and co-existing. That does not mean, however, that they are indistinguishable. Christians are called to “stand out” as lights against the darkness of sin and unbelief (Eph. 5.7-13). Sometimes that may mean breaking off old relationships, if, that is, those relationships require or lead us to compromise our convictions in sinful practices. The new relationships we forge within the Body of Christ should more than compensate for any sinful relationships we decline for the honor of the Lord.
What are some ways that you might expect Christians to “stand out” as lights in your community?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Endure Hardship: 1 Peter 4,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.