Were you paying attention to the preaching of God’s word yesterday? I am making a big assumption that you are a regular church goer and that the church you attend actually teaches God’s word. If you did attend, can you give the ‘gist’ of the sermon? What passage did the preacher explain? What were the main points of the message? How have you sought to apply this sermon in obedience today?
The Apostle Peter must have been at least listening when Jesus preached the ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ In Matthew 5:16, in the context of being ‘salt’ and ‘light,’ Jesus commanded His disciples –
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Why do I assert that Peter was listening? Because he was able to rephrase the same message to other followers of Christ years later. Consider the similiarities between Matthew 5:16 (above) and 1 Peter 2:12
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
The texts aren’t identical but it appears Peter has absorbed the substance of Christ’s command (that’s what disciples do – Matthew 28:18-20) and reiterated this same instruction to others.
Good works don’t save. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 if you have any doubt, but then consider Ephesians 2:10 where Paul asserts that “we are His (God’s) workmanship – (poema – creative expression) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. If we are regenerated it is by the Spirit of God who has persuaded us to acknowlege our sin and trust Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Having trusted Christ, we give evidence of the change by the way we live our lives.
Peter assumes that the ‘pagan’ unbelievers will not understand our conduct. They will falsely accuse us at times of doing wrong, but if they look more closely, they will actually see the evidence that the Spirit of God has made in our character.
When will God ‘visit?’ In the immediate future or as history draws to a close with the triumphant return of Jesus Christ. The truth is, God will visit. May we be ready for such a visitation and until He comes may His Spirit through our daily lives provide evidence to a sceptical, scoffing world, that like the early disciples, “we have been with Jesus.” The Holy Spirit can make this all possible, after all, He is the Spirit of Christ!