WE NEED BIBLE BASICS
It’s time to get back to Bible basics. With the entrance of each new century, breakthroughs occur which seem to amaze mankind and contribute to exponential growth and possibilities for mankind.
However, even with the advent of new thinking and extraordinary technology, as Solomon once stated, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccles. 1:9). We continue to be plagued with the difficulties of managing relationships, occupations, and our own “inner demons.” We cry out for a “new way” of living when all we need is to get back to Bible basics.
We can see this playing out in our communities as people seek homeopathic and holistic options for managing their health needs; ultimately realizing that what they are doing is “what grandma use to do.”
We are desperately seeking ways to reclaim our lives through simplification, some even becoming minimalist. We are realizing that the “basics” provide the best quality of life rather than the 21st century’s claim to the “best life”.
THE NEED TO RETURN
This same trend is occurring with people of faith as we return to Bible basics—prayer, Bible study, practicing the presence of the Lord, and scriptural meditation, just to name a few. Enamored with new practices and the “repackaging” of old disciplines, we forgot the basics we learned when we first fell in love with Jesus. Mindfulness is really nothing new.
It is because of this trend that we will be focusing on getting back to Bible basics. We will begin with A—“Accepting the Mind of Christ”.
In today’s text, the Apostle Peter writes to God’s persecuted “elect” who were scattered throughout what is now modern Turkey. In this broad statement, Peter describes for those early believers what Christian living should look like. This would be of great benefit to them as they deflected attacks by those who challenged their “good conversation in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:16).
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (1 Pet. 4:1-2)
Since Christ suffered in the realm of the fleshly existence, Christians are to arm themselves with the same attitude that guided Him. To arm metaphorically means to “take on the same mind”. Christ “who suffered in the flesh” by way of the Cross dealt with the “sin issue” once and for all. Paul reminded the new believers that Jesus Christ “has once suffered for sins…that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit ” (1 Pet. 3:18).
CHRIST’S POWER AGAINST SIN
As a result of Christ’s action, we have been released from the power of sin and can, by appropriating Christ’s power, cease from sin. Through the sanctification process, the believer is transformed and conformed into the image of Christ, turning from sinful behavior and activity.
The Apostle Paul describes this process in Romans 6:6-8 (Phillip’s Translation):
Let us never forget that our old selves died with him on the cross that the tyranny of sin over us might be broken—for as dead man can safely be said to be free from the power of sin. And if we were dead men with Christ we can believe that we shall also be men alive with him.
THE WEAPON OF CHOICE—THE MIND OF CHRIST
Peter gives a two-fold purpose for arming ourselves with Christ’s attitude.
First, we are not to spend the rest of our life chasing after evil desires. Although we have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, we must continue to deal with the reality of living in our physical bodies or “unredeemed flesh” (Rom. 7:17-19).
While we remain contained in our unredeemed flesh, we can, however, arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. The believer’s life is not to be lived in satisfying the urging of their old flesh but we are to “reckon themselves dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).
OBEDIENCE AND LOVE NEEDED
Second, we are to be governed by the will of God. Christ was obedient to all God directed Him to do (John 4:34; 5:30). Obedience to God goes beyond issues of “time, talent and treasures”.
Obedience begins in the heart (Ps. 40:8). Jesus loved the Father and show that love by following His instructions and commandments (John 14:31). There are occasions when our love is divided—still tethered to this world. Such division results in “love breakers” more often than “law breakers”.
If we truly love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). Furthermore, if we love Him we will also love others (1 John 4:20-21). This love will be evidenced in our service and our desire to share the Good News of the Gospel.
RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
Today we are under attack by a society who challenges the authority of God’s Word as well as the authenticity of our faith. Peter’s message speaks to 21st century believers as we strive to live lives that honor and glorify God. As we face these affronts, let us arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. Remember Peter’s counsel to the persecuted elect:
…even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. (1 Pet. 3:14, 15)
Join us next week as we continue with back to Bible basics with “B—Building Spiritual Endurance”.