We are strangers and pilgrims both to our own flesh and to the world. We are citizens of another world. In a sense, we are “illegal aliens” in this world. We do not belong here. We are to stay away from fleshly lusts. We struggle with our thoughts and there is animosity between our spirit and our flesh. To get the person, to get the family, to get the nation, He needs only to claim the soul. One day, we will have no more fleshly struggles and desires.
Verse 12 refers to our visible lifestyle. Not everyone who calls himself a Christian is a Christian. This world is filled with pagans. Our lifestyle should be honest and holy before lost people. Lost people are looking for any opportunity to find hypocrisy in our lifestyle. The world is looking to us hoping to find something about us to prove we aren’t who we say we are. We might be the only Bible someone ever reads.
1. Don’t allow your sinful struggles to destroy the power of your witness for Christ. Don’t let your temptations ruin your testimony. Your testimony for Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing you have. If you ruin that you can ruin a lot of people’s lives. You can spend a lifetime building your testimony and destroy it in a moment. The only way people will hear your testimony is if you can demonstrate how Christ has changed your life.
When we get saved through faith and repentance, it’s not just so we can go to heaven. It’s so we can also enjoy the fruits of salvation here on hearth and live for Christ. People are watching our example, or our lack of an example.
If you were charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in court to convict you?
When you live differently, it creates a hunger in people to know more about what motivates you.
We are called upon to submit to the law of man unless the law of man disregards the law of God, and then we obey the law of God over man. This we do for the Lord’s sake.
Those who are in authority over us are sent by God to punish evildoers. If you don’t punish people for their crimes, they will commit more crimes. That’s why a healthy society has law enforcement and prisons.
Likewise, those in authority over us are sent by God to praise those who do well. With well-doing, you silence the ignorance of foolish men. What you do silences the foolish, and not what you say.
2. Freedom comes from God, not government. Real liberty comes from almighty God. Indeed, we have raised a generation of citizens that believes government is your best friend, and that it is the government that bestows and takes away liberty. When we got saved, we became free in Jesus Christ. We are not bound by our past or our sin or by the dictates of man.
We do not use our God-given Liberty to live any way we please, but to live in righteousness. Servants of Christ live differently than servants of sin. Peter says we are to submit even to tyrannical governments, and God will bless us. For example, we respect the office of the president, even if we don’t agree with the president.
Honor all me.
Love the brotherhood.
Honor the king.
3. We are called by the guidelines of civility, charity, maturity, and humility. We will accept anyone at the Global Vision Bible Church, but we love you too much to let you stay the way you are.
We have to be under conviction to be civil. If we do not approach others with civility, we will likely lose any chance we have of leading them to Christ. We must be civil even in our disagreements.
Nearly every time God tells us to love others, it is to love other believers. The family of God is a tight-knit group. We are filled with charity. The church ought to be a bastion of loving one another.
Fearing God comes through maturity. We will keep His commandments if we fear Him. Immature Christians do not fear God.
We must live by humility. One of the most humbling things you can do is submit to someone you disagree with. (Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render to God the things that are God’s.) Someone handed Christ a coin that bore the image of Caesar, but we, as believes, bear the image of God.
God has used both righteous and unrighteous leaders to carry out His work.
Let us be known as humble people. Resist the proud. If you want to see the face of Jesus, you will have to kneel before Him.