Called to be Holy

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"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:14-16).

In writing to the church, the apostle Peter first reminds the believers of the living hope that they possess through faith in Christ Jesus. Following this reminder, Peter begins by saying "therefore" (v. 13), effectively saying, "In light of the faith you have and the inheritance you possess in Christ live holy lives." In fact, Peter views the believer's change of life after conversion so highly that he states, "be as holy as God himself."

Yet Peter isn't making this up as a new command. He is quoting the words of God himself to the people of ethnic Israel from Leviticus 11:44-45. If holiness was demanded of ethnic Israel, though they were not all God's elect, then this command is superbly important and relevant to the spiritual seed of Abraham, spiritual Israel. That is, this demand for holiness was written for all those who believe in the Christ - you and me.

Christianity and Patriotism

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God's Word is not silent on the Christian's position under civil authorities. We are to obey the civil authorities because they are instituted by God, and we are to honor them (Romans 13). Societies work best when God's design for law and order are followed. Showing honor and obedience is one thing, but what about showing love and loyalty for one's country?

Over the last few months, I have been considering the rightness of the Christian's patriotism in the United States. What I mean is this: is it wrong for an American Christian to be patriotic? If so, why? If not, can this patriotism go too far? Lastly (but certainly not least), what does Scripture say about loyalty to one's nation? These are the questions I have been considering lately.

First, a bit of backstory. I wasn't too concerned with governments growing up, as is usually the case among children. I was focused on my family, friends, and activities. But when I graduated college and began living on my own, I started to consider my freedoms as a member of a democratic society a little more.

The Sabbath

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Because of Christ, the Christian is not bound to the Old Covenant Law by way of obligation. Because of Christ, a new desire has been placed inside the believer that was not there before. This is what the Jewish prophets foresaw would happen. Take Jeremiah 31:34, for instance, where the prophecy is that no one will have to teach his neighbor what God requires of him because he will know the will of God in his heart. The transformation is internal and it is real. The affections of the Christian are different; they are radically different from former, sinful ones. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what makes the Christian's transformation possible, and it is he who sustains love for God in the believer.

What is Christ to you?

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"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19).
In a world that is so noisy and loud - presenting numerous ideas that are fighting for my attention and almost infinite cares demanding my worry - I find myself and I observe other Christians losing sight of the gospel. I’ll speak personally: my desires for economic stability and success drive me to valuing things more than God; my desires for safety and security drive me to valuing my preparedness more than God; my desires for freedoms drives me to political heroes more than God. But all of these places I'm driven to, apart from God, make for shaky ground on which to stand, on which to build my life.

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