How Then Shall We Live? (Part 2)
Are you auditing Jesus?
Tony Evans once said, “People want salvation but don’t want to put in the time to be strong disciples of Jesus Christ. What many Christians want to do is to audit the Christian life. An audit is where a person goes to class to get information, but is not required to do any of the work. They don’t have to take a test or do any homework. They are only attending for informational purposes. They want the data without the responsibility. That’s an audit. That’s what some folks do every Sunday. They audit Jesus.”
I am quite familiar with the concept of an audit. As a teacher at the Northern Plains Biblical Seminary, we have a number of people who want to attend classes but not to do all the work required complete the course. I can fully understand this. We live in a busy society and people want to pick learn some new information. People pay for the class, but do not get the full benefit of the class. In the Seminary environment that is fine. Regarding the Kingdom of God, however, this does not work.
The Bible teaches that we have an obligation to grow in Christ after we have trusted in Him. The Bible calls the process of becoming a Christian “justification.” The growth we are to undertake after trusting in Christ is termed “sanctification.” It means to be set apart. This is the term used in 1 Peter 1:2, “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
To be sanctified means the Believer is to be dedicated to the service of and loyal to God. The command in Romans 12:1 is to—“…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
How we live after we trust in Christ is critical.
We saw in part one of this devotional series that Godly living involves:
- Living a New Life
At this point, we must ask ourselves, “What is the motivation for becoming totally devoted to God?” Our salvation was not free—redemption never is. Christ said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus came as a High Priest to offer His own blood once for all to obtain our eternal redemption (Heb 9:11-12). Therefore, our motivation to live a new life in Christ is found in Christ Himself.
Conformity to Redemption
Let’s consider 1 Peter 1:17-21:
And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
In this passage, we see three critical aspects regarding our conformity to our redemption in Christ.
1. Believers are to call on the Father
As children of God, the believer can now approach God as Father in prayer. God called the believer; therefore, the believer is to respond by calling on Him while addressing Him as Father. Prayer is always addressed to the Father (as is all model prayers in the Bible). What a blessed thought to give us encouragement in our praying, faith that the answer is sure, and a sweet feeling of nearness to God. To think that He is our Father and we are His children. To think that He regards us as His children, and thus the objects of His special care and love.
2. Believers will be judged by the Father
As the impartial judge, God the Father judges each man without regard to status. Nevertheless, God judges according to each one’s work. The emphasis is on individual judgment. Believers are judged according to their works. Therefore, as is true for all believers, these believers addressed by Peter need to conduct themselves throughout the time of their stay (sojourn) in fear. “Reverent fear” is evidenced by a tender conscience, watchfulness against temptation, and avoiding things that would displease God. This fear is in realization that those who trust in Christ will appear at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). God expects to find in the life of each saint “good works” upon which He can put His stamp of approval. He can do this because the Holy Spirit produces good works in all the saints, but definitely more in those who are dedicated to Him.
3. Believers are the redeemed of the Father
Peter emphasizes the fact that these believers know that they were redeemed. As was mentioned early, redeemed means set free through the paying of a ransom. These believers were delivered by the payment of such a ransom. The Greek refers to an accomplished fact, i.e., the redemption is now a finished work. In addition, the redemption was the work of another done on their behalf; it was the work of Jesus the Messiah. Peter presents a negative and a positive aspect of this redemption.
- Negative: They are redeemed Not with corruptible thing like silver or gold, it was also not from the aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. They were redeemed from Pharisaism…they were redeemed from Mishnaic Judaism which is a Judaism handed down from their fathers. These are the traditions of the oral legends of the Mishnah. This means that religiosity is not the source of our redemption. Our new life in Christ should not be a reflection of meaningless rituals and traditions; rather, it should be focused on an incorruptible relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
- Positive: The cost of our salvation was indeed very high—the beloved Son’s precious blood. Therefore, Peter calls for believers to live in reverent fear before God. Holy living is motivated by a God-fearing faith, which does not take lightly what was purchased at so great a cost. His blood was of such high value because Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29—Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world). Peter identifies Jesus as the Passover Lamb—the lamb without spot or blemish (Ex 12:5; Lev 22:19-20; Deut 15:21). The implication is that Jesus remained unstained and pure from the evil around him.
Therefore, we can live the life God wants for us because Jesus was set apart for the work of redemption. As the believer was foreknown in God’s plan, so Jesus, the Redeemer Himself, was included in the redemptive foreknowledge of God. The word foreknown means to know ahead of time because of pre-planning. Thus, before the foundation of the world, God foreknew and planned the entire redemptive program; Jesus was chosen to be the Redeemer before the creation of the universe and before there were any sinners who needed to be redeemed. Now, at this time, in the last times—the time of the Church—He was manifest for those who through Him believe in God.
We can live a new life in Christ because God has made it all possible. He sent His Son to die on the cross as a substitution for us—Christ paid the penalty. Then God did the impossible; He raised Him from the dead. The gospel by which we must be saved is that Christ died for sins and rose from the dead. Finally, God gave Him glory. Now we can worship with the twenty-four elders (Rev 4:11):
You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Where are you in your new life in Christ?
Is your faith and hope in God?
Are you dedicated to God so that you are able to serve Him or are you merely auditing Jesus?