Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of January 20, 2008

1 Peter 1:15-16
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

The Gospel changes people. It changes our minds. By our natures we think that we are right and God is wrong which is why we must repent to believe. It changes our destinies from hell to heaven. They is why we must be saved. It changes our lives which is why we must be born from above. It changes our names. We take the name of Christ and are called Christians. It changes how God sees us. He sees us “in our sins and in Adam” before we are saved, and He sees us “in Christ” after we are saved (1 Corinthians 15:7, 22). The Gospel changes us from sinners to saints. Saints are God’s holy ones.

God’s people are to be holy. In 1 Peter 1 holiness has to do with our conduct and implies that we are to be clean and undefiled. Trusting in the blood of Christ makes us holy ones and confession of sin keeps us holy in a practical way (1 John 1:7). Saints or holy ones are the people that God has set apart for Himself according to Ephesians 1:4. They are a unique people in that they trust Him; they love Him; and they worship Him and only Him. They are people separated from the world to serve the Lord (Hebrews 13:12-13).

Since the Gospel is so radical, we who preach it should be offering the unsaved world a difference. We cannot not be like the world to reach the world. If we go to into the world to reach the world as we are commanded to do, the world should not change us, we should be changing the world. We should not be changing the people of the world to conform to a set of religious rules set up by our religious institutions. Instead the Gospel should change people from being concerned about what the world thinks about them to being concerned about what the Lord thinks about them. It should change them into people living for eternity rather than a people who are living for the here and now.

The Gospel today is often a socially acceptable Gospel. It offers us the good life now, rather than offering people the joy of living for eternity. It is based on what we think is right rather than on what God says pleases Him. It is a life of self-indulgence rather than a life of self-sacrifice. It is a not a life of faith but a life of reason where we think we can understand an infinite God with a finite mind. It is often a life of spiritual mysticism rather than a life of spiritual realities. People say that they experience God without ever experiencing the new birth. In short, it is a Gospel that requires “no change”.

The Gospel is radical to the unconverted. The clean religious world does not understand why what they are doing should not be sufficient to save them. The immoral world does not understand how God can make people with appetites and then condemn them for not keeping those appetites under control. The social world cannot understand that while we are all created by God, we are not all God’s children until we believe on the name of Christ (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:3). The political world does not understand that people are changed from the inside and regenerated when they trust in Christ and that no legislative decree can accomplish that. The world in general does not understand why a good God allows suffering and some religious leaders are even questioning the value of peaching the cross because to them it makes God seem cruel.

But we who have trusted in the blood of Christ to save us for eternity are to be holy or set apart for God. Our thinking, our lives and our messages should mark us as as different from the unsaved social, religious and political world. When we speak for God our messages should change people into holy people. Eternal destinies depend on us being faithful to the message that the Gospel changes people.

Bruce Collins

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