Brace for Suffering: Purify

So far, we’ve dealt with bracing for suffering by preparing the mind and performing the truth of God’s Word in our lives. But how is it that we continue on in the conduct of a child of God?  It goes back to the mind.  If our salvation is not on the forefront of our mind we will fall.  When temptation comes, which brings its own suffering, and when other sufferings come, within us or from without us, we will fall if we do not keep in mind the merciful salvation that comes from the hands of God through the death and resurrection of the Son to an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.

Peter wrote,

Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you, who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God, (1 Pet 1.17b-21, ESV).

Here is the reminder: God ransomed you from living a worthless, wasted, failure of a life by the precious blood of Christ.  In other words, you have it within you now that you have Christ.  You are freed from hopelessness.  You are released from trying with all your might and yet getting nowhere.  Your hope is in God if you’re love is with Christ.  Your faith is in God if you love Jesus.  The very God who had the power to raise Jesus from the dead after three days is the same God who is living in you!  That’s something to hope in.  That’s something to believe in!  Conduct yourself in a worthy and holy manner knowing that the holy God is empowering you to do it.  But it all rests in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

So often we say things like, “if I only had more faith.”  No! Don’t say that.  Don’t put faith in faith.  Put faith in God.  Keep your mind on Jesus.

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God,” (1 Pet 22-23, ESV).  So many Christians think that their souls are purified at conversion.  Are you kidding?  Have you seen how I act at times?  Have you seen how you act at times?  How we think? How we speak?  Our souls aren’t purified at conversion.  It takes work to purify us.  Hence we are going through trials that refine our faith and our souls.

Our souls are purified by our obedience to the truth.  Will we trust God enough to follow after His word.  When circumstances seem to dictate that we do what is right in our own eyes will we put that aside and follow after the Word of God?  Will we obey God when everything inside of us is telling us to go the other way?  When we are stuck in traffic and everything in us wants to honk the horn, give the finger, yell and cuss, and throw a tantrum, will we remind ourselves to be angry and sin not?  When we are worried over our finances and about paying the bills will we remind ourselves that Jesus told us not worry and to not be anxious but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?  When we are facing a long-term illness and everything in us crashes down into hopelessness and despair will we remind ourselves that we can go on and take heart because Jesus has overcome the world?

As the trials come, we have within us the ability to face them and make the right decisions.  And when we do follow after God’s Word rather than give in to our own human, fallen nature, our souls become that much more purified.  You see, we have only a little while on this earth—only a little while to go through the purification process.  And the only way to come out on the other side clean and spotless and without blemish is by trusting in the Word of God.

For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever. (1 Pet 1.24, ESV).

We want comfort; we want a pain-free, suffer-free existence.  We want to indulge in the glory that is us.  We want the luxuries and eases that can come with life.  But this life is but a flower that blooms today and withers tomorrow.  There is no lasting glory in the flower or in our lives.  The lasting glory is in the Word of God.  If you want a part of that glory, then you must abide in the Word, for it is a living and abiding Word.  Because it is the gospel.  “And this word is the good news that was preached to you,” (1 Pet 1.25, ESV).

This gospel lives in you; it takes residency in you, so that it can change the way you think, the way you hope, the way you conduct yourself.  This gospel reminds you of who God is and what He expects of you.  It drives you, encourages you, comforts you, convicts you—and ultimately—completely changes you.

Are you constantly reminding yourself of the mercy of God in his saving of your soul?  We cannot lose focus on it.

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