Friday, January 25, 2013
Today’s Topic: The Past is Sufficient
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:127 (NLT) Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.
Every Thursday evening I host a Bible Study for anyone interested in digging into the truths of God’s Word through a verse-by-verse study of a book of the Bible. Currently we are studying First Peter.
Last night we had a fascinating discussion about a passage that really wrapped me up in a blanket woven with threads of conviction and challenge. Here’s the passage:
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 1 Peter 4:1-3 (ESV)
Our conversation hinged upon two pins –
- We are to be willing to suffer in the flesh the way Jesus did because we understand the incredible nature of our salvation;
- We are to be so in love with Jesus for how He suffered for us that we would never go back to the way we used to live before we met Him.
Here is the van Gorkom paraphrase of this passage, including commentary:
Since Jesus was so willing to suffer any abuse of His flesh because of His love for us, we choose to allow ourselves to suffer any abuse of our flesh because of our love for Him. When we make that choice, sin no longer has any attraction to us. We will live the rest of our days on this earth completely sold out to the will of God for our lives, and no longer seek to fulfill the passions of the flesh that have now been crucified with Christ.
You see, we are so in love with Jesus for saving us from our sin, and we are so completely satisfied and fulfilled in our relationship with Him, that whatever time we spent seeking to fulfill the desires of the flesh in the past are sufficient for the rest of our lives. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we never need to go back there and do it again! Why would we ever go back to what cannot really satisfy us when we have met the One who completely qualifies and affirms us.
So we are ready to suffer the loss of anything connected to the flesh so that we might be found faithful in serving the One we truly love. When our eyes offend us, we will symbolically pluck them out. When our hands continually turn to sin, we will symbolically cut them off. When our ears hear the insults and abuse of other people’s words we will plug them up and listen only to the affirming truths of God’s words to us. Since we have found our complete identity in Christ, we will not allow anyone or anything else to define us.
As I reflected this morning on that study last night, I thought of an illustration that I wish I would have shared last night. Remember the days of your youth when you pursued the pleasures of the flesh. You indulged yourself in any experience available in an attempt to find completeness. That was especially true with relationships, especially those with the opposite sex as you sought the fulfillment of physical pleasure. But then you met “THE ONE”. The true love of your life, and all of that changed. You no longer wanted to pursue anyone else or seek intimacy with anyone else. Once you were married, the time spent in past pursuits was sufficient for the rest of your life, because you had met one whose love completely satisfies you.
There you go. Now you know what Peter means. The time past suffices for doing what sinners do, because you have met “THE ONE” – the true love of your eternal soul. No sacrifice of the flesh is too great to love Him in return, and you will never turn back.