We are all broken. We all need a fresh start. Through Christ, God delivers.
The letter of 1 Peter, which some have termed a handbook for new Christians, reminds God’s people how God has enabled us to have a new life and what we can expect from this new beginning. Continue reading “The God of new beginnings: the hope of the new birth”
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8 ESV).
The Israelites were to be a “holy” people. They were God’s “treasured possession” out of all the people who lived on the earth. God had chosen them. God “set his love” on them.
But what does it mean to be holy? Continue reading “We are special”
Some people are surprised that the Old Testament is so much larger in size than the New. In my Portuguese Bible it takes up 764 pages out of a total of 994. That’s 76% of the whole Bible. Several explanations as to why may be adequate, but here is one thought, how the Lord was building up to, and preparing for, the time when Christ would come and fulfill his eternal plan.
In both Testaments, God created a people for himself. In the Old Testament, it was Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of Jacob’s sons became a tribe in Israel. In the New Testament, God’s people is the church, and they are variously described as the body of Christ, the family of faith, the temple of the Holy Spirit. No more is there a physical connection to define God’s holy ones. We are born into God’s family because we respond to his message and obey his commandments, John 3.3, 5. Continue reading “Christians are the spiritual Israel of God”
Rude statements. Inconsiderate demands. Aggressive behavior. It can get worse. Deliberate mistreatment.
Sometimes we are the recipient of them all. Justice would seem to justify a tit-for-tat retaliation. Yet, Jesus and his apostles denounced this natural instinct. They had a very good reason. The concise and crystal clear idea they described encapsulates a perspective, a worldview, capable of transforming our lifestyle and society. Continue reading “Because of whose you are”
Make it simple. Keep it practical. Peter delivers.
The letter of 1 Peter offers us a short handbook on how to live the Christian life within a hostile society. It may have other purposes as well, but it certainly provides us with a practical guide for traveling to heaven. Five practical commands show the way.
Continue reading “Handbook for the Christian journey”
Does it appear to you that the lives of some people resemble a stainless steel pinball reacting to its environment? Consider the who wife responds to her husband’s inconsiderate actions with a stinging terse remark. Or the employee’s heart brimming over with vengeance because he suffered an injustice. Then there is that person whose mind is filled with thoughts of payback, “she does not deserve my forgiveness.” And in yet another place someone’s betrayed secret becomes a catalyst for bitter words to gush forth. This list could easily go on and on. But there is another way for people to live … Continue reading Because of Who You Have Become