Even though she was still single, she deliberately abandoned the adrenaline rush of navigating through the nightclub social chaos of chance encounters with potential sleep-over suitors. Even though the authorities had put some of his friends in jail for embracing the same convictions, he remained resolute. Their track record confirmed they knew how to successfully massage the system to swell their bank accounts. Nevertheless, they had abruptly turned their backs to that lifestyle.
What could cause people to make such dramatic life changes? Although the answer comes to us in the form of an apostle’s letter, a narrative is not difficult to reconstruct.
On a Sunday morning long ago in Palestine, a lifeless tomb was suddenly filled with majesty and the power of an indestructible life. In that incredible moment, God mercifully offered humanity, as if on a gleaming platinum platter, the reason to endure, the reason for repudiating evil desires, the reason to be shaped by holiness. At that instant, standing in that once dark and dank tomb, Jesus possibly looked at his hands knowing the grace of salvation was safely reserved in heaven to be revealed at the end of time for those redeemed by his blood.
As the years rolled by, disciples rejoiced in retelling how God’s mighty working on that wonderful morning had created a compelling hope leading them to reject ungodly desires, endure suffering, and pursue holiness. Even those who had never seen Jesus had believed in him. They, too, were counting on what God would provide them when Jesus would be revealed.
Pagan neighbors may have mused at the unusual lives of Jesus’ disciples. Here was a community of people whose values were not so heavily invested in the here and now. Perhaps they appeared to possess something of a wanderlust for a better place.
Even today this story continues to unfold. With each new disciple, God remains at work. God’s power continues to shield each precious, purified soul in Christ through faith for that glorious day to come.
What can cause people to live for God? What could lead people to radically alter sinful lifestyles in order to be characterized by self-control and holiness? The answer lies in someone truly grasping God’s working: the grace of salvation awaits the people of God.
Adapted from 1 Peter 1:3-21
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