Author: Ron Graham
This lesson continues on from the previous lesson, where we looked at three of seven certain truths within the Christian mindset. These help us to form a right world view. Now we look at the other four.
"Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile. And let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the just..."
Many people, in their pursuit of happiness, try to get what they want through conflict, force, corruption, and unfair dealing. In Australia, we see plenty of that.
The Australian ethos, however, places much store on peace and justice. Two of our sayings, "fair go" and "fair dinkum" express our desire for getting along with each other and being fair and true to each other.
So long as we stand for peace and justice, and keep on pursuing those high principles, our nation will be strong and our individual lives will be successful.
Our world view should include the conviction that whilst the powerful may bring the world to its knees, only the pursuers of peace and justice will make the world stand tall.
"Live the rest of your time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of the flesh, but for the will of God."
The world can seem pretty chaotic and out of control at times, but that's because there is a war going on between good and evil (1Peter 2:11). God's will, nevertheless, shall be done in the end. He is able to accomplish his purposes in spite of widespread rebellion.
The crucifixion of Christ seemed to be a crushing defeat. Acts of rebellion against God cannot be worse than killing the Son of God. Yet, through that crucifixion, God was able to establish his plan of salvation (1Peter 2:23-24, Acts 2:23).
Everyone is accountable to God and subject to his will (1Peter 4:5).. Those who rebel against God may seem to win some of the battles, but they cannot win the war. We do not, however, submit to God's will simply because he is the strongest. We do so because his way is best.
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing is happening to you, but... share the sufferings of Christ..."
When we believe that our lives are in the will of God (point 5), we have to explain why we suffer pain and grief. A large part of that explanation is that Satan prowls the world (point 7).
The ancient story of Job teaches us that God allows Satan to cause suffering, and that suffering tests our faith in God. Furthermore God turns that suffering to our good. We gain and Satan loses. Peter casts an even better light on the suffering we endure. He says, "you share the sufferings of Christ" (1Peter 4:13).
It is an honourable thing, therefore to "suffer as a Christian" (1Peter 4:16) and to "suffer according to the will of God" (1Peter 4:19).
Peter encourages all who suffer to "entrust their souls to a faithful Creator" (1Peter 4:19). And again, "Cast all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you" (1Peter 5:7).
It is also important to get our suffering into perspective. We suffer only for a time while we are in this world. We will soon be in heavenly glory for all eternity where there will be no suffering or pain. No matter how bad our sufferings get, we can regard them as "a little" (1Peter 5:10).
Here Peter echoes Paul. "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy of comparison with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).
"Be on the alert. Your adversary the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith... the God of all grace strengthens you."
Any world view that dismisses Satan as a myth is hard pressed to explain why a world that should be so beautiful seems to be in such a mess.
We believe in Satan but not like we believe in Christ. While the devil corrupts, deceives, and devours, we have the power to resist, strengthened through Christ by the God of all grace.