The apostle Peter wrote,
- “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” (I Peter 4:1-2 – NASB)
Yesterday, in our Grace Group that meets after the worship service I taught on the “Therefore.” This brethren, is a most important biblical word. It always tells us that we need to refer back to what already has been said. We see this word repeatedly in the New Testament letters.
It was my good friend and blessed brother in the Lord, Bart Barker who gave me the idea for this devotional. He said, “someone should write a book titled before the therefore.” Well, this is no book (even though I sense I could write one), but hopefully in this abbreviated form it serves somewhat of the intended purpose . . . to address before the therefore and just what that means.
It is such an important word, this word “therefore,” when it comes to our study of Scripture because it tells us that what is about to be commanded of us, what is about to be asked of us, instruction that is about to be given to us is based on what has been previously stated. And that is important because you and I as Christians are not a people that practice our faith without knowing, without understanding, or as might be said, haphazardly. No . . . we respond in loving obedience to the commands of God’s Word based on our knowing and understanding certain things, these certain things being a most wonderful doctrine.
Mankind, without God in this world, without understanding of spiritual things, without God’s Word, is a slave to self, to the flesh. And self is corrupt, and the flesh craves satisfactions that cater to a fallen nature, a sinful state of mind and will. Morality to the natural man is a code of does and don’ts that have been established by some source he is not too sure of in an attempt to keep him functioning with some sense of civility and order. Sinful man is prone to oppose the rules of morality that are set upon him, it is his nature, and he ends up rebelling against them! Morality, in his state, is a heavy load to bear. He is determined to satisfy self and the flesh and with this mindset lawlessness, unrighteousness, ungodliness, wickedness and evil result.
In contrast, the Christian knows and understands the before of the therefore . . . . knows and understands the wonderful doctrine of Scripture. This doctrine (“teaching”) that tells him or her that though they were separated from God by their sin (Isaiah 59:1-2), though they were dead (signifying separation) in their trespasses and sins, without hope and without God in this world (Ephesians 2:1-3, 11-13), though they were deadheaded for an eternity in which he or she was to receive the due wages for their sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23), God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive in Christ Jesus (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:4). God demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Oh brethren . . . I could go on and on with this most wonderful doctrine!
We are supposed to know and understand this doctrine. Certainly you have read it, have you not? It is written to us in God’s book which He has given to us and we are without excuse in responding to it in loving obedience, obedience that is a most proper response to the before the therefore.
Yesterday we read passage after passage of the before the therefore . . . and I believe each one of us, as disciples of Christ, understood a little bit better the why of what we do, the before the therefore, and desired even more to be found to be doers of the word (James 1:22).
A most proper response: Oh thank you Father for what you have done for us in Christ, He who is our Savior and our Lord. May our practice reflect our understanding and our knowing of doctrine, of the before, and thus . . . .
- “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose . . . so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
Have a good day brethren . . . . and be a good disciple of Christ, not one doing what you do but not understanding why, but one who knows and understands the before the therefore and thus lives no longer for the lusts of men but willingly for the will of God.
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