Saturday, October 28, 2006

Giving an Answer (1)

From Surrey CU houseparty:

“A good case for the Christian faith lays before the watching world such a winsome embodiment of the Christian faith that for any and all who are willing to observe there will be an intellectually and emotionally credible witness to its fundamental truths” -- James Sire

13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
1 Peter 3:13-38
Devoted to Christ

Peter sets out how to “set apart Christ as Lord” in our lives. In essence, how to live Christianly, in a context where there is opposition. Where not everyone will see things our way. Which means, discipleship on planet earth. Christ is the focus of our apologetics. Its our heart attitude to him that shapes our approach.

Who is this Christ – v15a + v18, the one who died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God.

Christ who died: The cross of Christ is the heart of Christianity. Without it there is no Christianity. The cross is our theology, our thinking, our feeling, our living.

Christ our substitute: The cross is about Jesus in our place. For our sins. ALL of our sin. Every last one. And everyone to come. We should die for our sins, that would be just. But Jesus dies for our sins. He is punished in our place. And this is the death of the “righteous for the unrighteous” because Jesus did not deserve to die.

Christ our reconciliation: The goal of all this is to bring us to God. The point of the gospel for us is that we come to Jesus. To eternity seeing and savouring Jesus. Heaven is good, because heaven is Jesus. To live is Christ, says Paul. The very essence of Christian life is that you and I are no longer united to sin's slavery. Instead we become united to Christ. John Piper is right – God is the gospel – we get eternity with Jesus! This is our future. This is our freedom. Set free from sin – Christ isn't compelled to sin and our sin died with him. Christ sits enthroned in the heavenly realms, so do we. Christ reigns in life, so do we. Christ is perfect in God's sight, so are we. The ultimate good of the gospel, is that it brings us to God!! The cross is the one and only way that happens which is why it is our message. The result, to bring us to God.

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