Fred R. Coulter—February 27, 1993

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This will be 1-Peter, the second chapter, in the series. We came down through 2-Peter 2:8 last time, so let's just review—and I want to finish all of chapter two today—rather than string it out a little bit further. I think it's interesting, and when we get done I will go back and compile a listing of all the imperative commands in 1-Peter. I think we are going to be amazed the amount of commandments that are there, instructing us exactly what to do.

1-Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen [people] stock, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people for a possession of God, that you might proclaim His excellent virtues, Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

Let's put one Scripture there that we didn't have last time—let's go to Colossian, the first chapter. There are some people who say that now we have the kingdom experience and we're actually in the Kingdom of God now. It's amazing how people do that with this. We'll just use two Scriptures to disprove that, but also show exactly what is meant here: 'He's called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.'

Colossians 1:12: "Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light; Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness…" (vs 12-13). That's the power, of course, who rules the world; and that's the power that holds sway over everything there is.

"…and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love. [They are telling everyone in the Church of God that you are now in the Kingdom of God, and that you now have been born again. We covered that thoroughly with going through the series on the Holy Spirit.] …In Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (vs 13-15)—of those who are born from the dead.

Now let's go to Acts, the twenty-sixth chapter, and we will see that Paul and that Peter and that James, and everyone preached exactly the same Gospel. Acts 26:16—he's talking about the time when he was knocked off his donkey, or horse, or camel going up to Damascus to persecute the Christians.

Acts 26:16: "Now arise, and stand on your feet; for I [Christ] have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as a minister and a witness both of what you have seen and what I shall reveal to you. I am personally selecting you from among the people and the Gentiles, to whom I now send you" (vs 16-17). Here was one of the greatest enemies of the Church of God turned into one of the prolific writers and apostles to the Gentiles. He had to turn around and do the exact opposite that he was doing—which was persecuting the Christians; killing them; hauling them off to jail; bringing them before judgments with the high priest. As he said, 'led in darkness.' He was going to turn around and do exactly the same thing—which is the opposite.

Verse 18: "To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, so that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified through faith in Me" (vs 16-18). That was really quite a calling.

Sometimes God will let things go to a point where they're really terrible and miserable like it was with the Apostle Paul and then turn them around completely from the other. So, we are not in the Kingdom of God now. Rather, we are under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God. We live by which laws? The laws of God! We are led by which King? The King of the Kingdom, Jesus Christ! We submit to the laws of the land for the sake of Christ; but we are not of this world, we have been called 'out of this world' and called into what it says here, 'His glorious light.' But we are not yet in the Kingdom, and we won't be in the Kingdom until such time that the Kingdom comes.

Philippians 3:20: "But for us, the… [conduct or conversation (KJV)—or the motive for our conduct or 'politeuo'] …commonwealth of God exists in the heavens…" In other words, we are looking to Christ at the right hand of God and God the Father to guide us with His Spirit, to lead us in what we need to do, to help us grow in character and grace and knowledge—but we are not yet in the Kingdom. And I'll prove that with one other Scripture here in just a minute.

"…from where also we are waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ… [He hasn't come yet] …Who will transform our vile bodies… [change there in the Greek is 'metamorphous'] …that they may be conformed to His glorious body… [the older we get and the more things kind of slip out of hand, the more we're looking for that—trade in this old model for a new one] …according to the inner working of His own power, wherebyHe is able to subdue all things to Himself" (vs 20-21).

Now let's go to Revelation 11, and we will prove that when the Kingdom of God is on the earth, we will be in it, because that will take place at the resurrection; but now we are governed by the Kingdom of God. When they say that the Kingdom of God is here now, then sooner or later that you get to the same conclusion that the Catholic Church had. The Catholic Church has concluded that it is the Kingdom of God on earth, and the pope is the vicar of Christ, and Christ is not returning and you're not going to be resurrected—you're going to heaven. They have everything totally discombobbled and way out of line with what the Bible teaches.

Revelation 11:15: "Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity.'" Now, what did Jesus say when Pilate asked Him, 'Are you a king?' Anybody remember the answer? 'To this end was I born, but My Kingdom is' what? 'Not of this world.' So don't be fooled by anyone who's saying, 'Well, now we have the kingdom experience' and all of this sort of thing. So we've been called 'out of darkness into His marvelous light.'

2-Peter 2:10: "Who once were not a people… [This statement is made as a differentiation between those people who were of Israel, who said, 'We are the people of God.' Of course, now that Christ has come, they are not the people of God—and I'll show you that in just a little bit back in the book of Hosea.] …but now are the people of God… [In the New Testament, the most important thing is that you belong to God. All of the other things are secondary. All of the other things have no standing before God. But the fact that we are God's people.] …who had not received mercy, but now have received mercy."

Let's add a couple of Scriptures to this so we can see exactly how Peter's teaching the same thing as Paul. Let's go to Ephesians, the second chapter, and we will see what the important thing is for us here. And, of course, the book of Ephesians is the book, which I think is the best and the highest pinnacle of whatever has been written in the New Testament as far as the Church and being together and the whole plan of God.

Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved…" The Greek there is having been saved—past tense; because when you are called and are baptized and receive God's Holy Spirit, you have been saved from the power of Satan and darkness. Just put in your notes here: 1-Cor. 15:1-2—talks about the Gospel in which you are standing. While you are doing that, you are being saved. Then we know that it talks about those who endure to the end, 'the same shall be saved.' So, salvation actually has three parts:

  • having been saved from Satan and the power of darkness
  • we are being saved; if we stand in the Gospel and walk in it.
  • shall be saved when Christ returns

—but it is through grace.

That seems to be one of the things that is missing in too many of the Churches of God. They do not understand grace. Some of them almost get up to it, but they don't understand grace at all. So I am going to, sometime here within the next two months, give the sermon that I said I would give: What Would a Church of the Pharisees Be Like? {see sermon series: Judaism vs Scripturalism} And I think you will be absolutely amazed. It was too much like the church that you were in at one time. I mean, incredible!

So it's "…by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves…" (v 8). It's interesting, where it is 'not of your own selves' the word of in the Greek is 'ek' and it means it doesn't come forth out from within you. When people look for salvation within themselves, it isn't going to come. And, as we've said before, that's the whole story of Job. I've mentioned many times, but I still remember when I was first reading and studying Job, I really thought God was unfair. I really thought God was wrong. Look at this man! Look at all he did! He really, really was good—I mean, compared to me/compared to all of us, Job was so righteous. We couldn't come within ten miles of him, and yet, God let all this come upon him so that he could realize that salvation doesn't come from within him or any of his own actions—but it comes from God!

"…it is the gift of God…" (v 8). What also is a 'gift of God'?

  • grace
  • faith
  • salvation
  • the Holy Spirit

Remember Simon Magus? He thought he could what? Buy the gift of God! So it's ALL the gift of God.

Verse 9: "Not of works… [It's not going to be like an athletic contest: who's the fastest, who's the strongest, who's the tallest, all this sort of thing] …so that no one may boast."

Do you think that if Job would have won that battle with God that we would have ever heard the end of it. I mean, think of it! Even Job couldn't boast! He said at the end, 'Oh, I spoke of those things I know not. I repent in sackcloth and ashes.'

Here's the whole reason for our calling and our whole purpose as to what we are doing, so it doesn't matter what people we were before God called us, because if we are God's people, we are all God's people, v 10: "For we are His workmanship…" Not our own, not what our mother and father did, not what our parents did. And it doesn't matter what country we are in, or whatever. We are 'His workmanship' because God is dealing with us.

"…created in Christ Jesus unto the good works… [which then are the 'good works' which we're going to cover in much of 1-Peter 2] …that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them" (v 10).

Now, let's notice how Paul and Peter agree here, v 11: "Therefore, remember that you were once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by those who are called circumcision in the flesh made by hands; and that you were without Christ at that time, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (vs 11-12). That's why Peter said, 'Who are not a people before, but are now the people of God.' We're going to see in a little bit, those people who were the people of God are now not the people of God.

When I was in Los Angeles, I did a sermon: The Passover of the Rejected—which was an extension of the book. It didn't come to me. The book was already at the printers and the pages were already shot and you're not going to make any additions there unless you make all kinds of costs. So, I'm glad it's not in the book, because it gets pretty strong. The long and short of it is that those people who keep the 15th Passover are keeping the Passover of the rejected.

Only those who are God's people can keep the 14th, because that is the Covenant Day. Just remember this: there is no such thing as an 'on-going' Old Covenant. It ended with the death of Christ. Granted there was a 40-year overlap between the ending of the Old Covenant and the complete desolation of the temple and everything. That 40-year overlap was a time that God allowed things in the transition. But there's no such thing as an on-going Old Covenant. It died with Christ.

So, anything that people do as far as trying to revive an Old Covenant, or trying to live solely by the Old Testament without Christ—because Paul said, 'Remember, the Holy Scriptures, which you have known from a child, are able to make you wise unto salvation'—what? Through Jesus Christ! I pointed out how that the fifteenth Passover is symbolic of those people who have been cut off from God, yet, want to claim that they are still of and part of God, and that we are not of God. We're also working on some research—Carl Franklin and I are working on that—to really narrow down what happened between the crucifixion of Christ and the death of John.

Verse 13: "But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far off are made near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition, having annulled in His flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in the decrees of men…" (vs 13-15). Those are all of the Jewish codes of law of Judaism, which bared Jews from associating with anyone other than their own race.

"…so that in Himself He might create both into one new man, making peace… [and that 'one man' is the Body of Christ.] …and that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity by it. Now, when He came, He preached the Gospel—peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have direct access by one Spirit to the Father" (vs 15-18).

So much for exclusivist religion—right? If you have access to God the Father, you have no need for all kinds of physical things; you have no need of permission from a priest to pray, or to study, or to do anything that God wants you to do.

Notice how this ties right in with what we're doing in 1-Pet. 2. Verse 19: "So then, you are no longer aliens and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens [people of God] with the saints, and are of the household of God. You are being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone [foundational stone]" (vs 19-20).

Of course then, you can think of a Scripture right there: 1-Cor. 3:12: that no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. I still keep getting all these tapes of all these ministers who are turning back to the foundation of Herbert Armstrong. They've got to get back to the foundation of Christ, because they're going to find out that if they just get back to the foundation of Herbert Armstrong, what they're going to end up with is a vessel about half full. Whereas if we build on the foundation of Christ and let His Spirit come through us and in us, and we grow in grace and knowledge, then we will end up with a vessel full—because that's what God wants us to have.

Hosea 1:1—if anyone wants to be a prophet, let's try this on for size. Is this what you want to do? You say you're going to do whatever God tells you to do. Myself, I would have a hard time doing this. This is not quite as tough as what God had Ezekiel do, but this is still pretty tough.

Hosea 1:1: "The Word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. The beginning of the Word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, 'Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredoms…'" (vs 1-2). That would be pretty hard to do! Yep, go down to the red-light district there, Hosea, and you get yourself one of those women down there.

"'…and children of whoredoms, for the land has utterly committed great whoredoms, departing from the LORD.' So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who conceived and bore him a son" (vs 2-3). How would you like to have your children named this way—you're going to name them, names that mean something

Verse 4: "And the LORD said to him, 'Call his name Jezreel, for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease. And it shall be, in that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.' And she conceived again and bore a daughter. And God said to him, 'Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel.…'" (vs 4-6). So, God put the house of Israel in the same category as all nations have been put in from time-to-time, that they have no mercy. And that's what the Apostle Paul said, 'You had no mercy at one time—without the knowledge of God, at one time.'

"'…But I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen'" (vs 6-7). Of course, you know then what Judah did. Judah said, 'Hooray! God is with us now. Look, we got rid of all these other tribes of Israel, now we've got the whole bailiwick ourselves.' So they turned around and did worse than God.

Verse 8: "And when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah she conceived and bore a son. And He said, 'Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God'" (vs 8-9). That's pretty strong language, for God to say, 'I'm no longer going to be your God, you aren't even My people.' How'd you like it if you walked into your beloved father's house and He said, 'Who are you?' Well, I'm your son or I'm your daughter. 'I don't even know you, get out of my house. Be gone from the territory.'

Verse 10: "'Yet, the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, "You are not My people," there it shall be said to them, "You are the sons of the living God."'" What Israel is this talking about? This is talking about the new Israel, the Church. Because it applies to all people—all people have been in the category of not being the people of God. So when it says 'you shall be the sons of the living God' that is talking about us and the new Israel.

Verse 11: "Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together…"—which is the same thing that's going to happen when Christ returns—He's going to gather Israel and Judah together. We will be the sons of the living God resurrected—right? Then He's going to gather them together and He's going to reconcile everything at the return of Jesus Christ. So, the long and short of it is, is that God has put all people through the same situation.

Now, let's come back to 1-Peter 2:11: "Beloved, I am exhorting you, as strangers and sojourners, to restrain yourselves from fleshly lusts, which are warring against the soul." The reason is: to fulfill them it destroys the soul. Let's tie some Scriptures in with this. We won't turn here, but put in your notes: Rom. 7—it talks all about the 'law of sin and death' and while you try and do the things you want to do, you can't do because of the 'law of sin and death.'

Let's turn now to 1-John 2:15 and let's see how we can best combat all of the fleshly lusts that are warring against the soul. Here's how then we can best abstain from fleshly lusts. "Do not love the world… [Because if we love the world then we're going to do like the world, be like the world, act like the world, talk like the world, sound like the world.] …nor the things thatare in the world…. [and of course, this is obviously then a love which replaces the love of God, or the total absence of the love of God.] …If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…" Why? Because we should grow earnestly, waiting to be clothed from above because of all of the sins and difficulties going on in the world—and there certainly are plenty of them.

I'm very thankful that I wasn't back in New York City when that bomb went off. [Note: in reference to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993] That is something! They said there's a huge crater on the inside of that building that only a bomb could do—amazing! And I didn't know it, but in that one building, guess how many people work there? A hundred and thirty thousand people work in the one building! That's incredible! I mean, in Hollister with a population in the whole county of nearly 40,000, we feel as though we're getting crowded out. And I don't know about you, but how you would like to work in that building…just say, way up on the top floor. Now what if they figure out how to smuggle in enough explosives—because you've seen these buildings that they have destroyed—right? Yes!

What if they figure out how to smuggle in enough explosives to make a whole building collapse! I mean, we ain't seen anything, yet! But that was awful! That was terrible! And I tell you, in emergencies like that, everything about what people have pride in, or who they think they are—whatever—all goes by the wayside; because everybody's out to help one another, save their own skin, or stop from dying. And I haven't heard how many people were still alive that were stuck in the elevators, but the elevators stopped and there you were, stuck! No air, no nothing! They finally opened some of them, and there were people just lying on the floor in a comatose position. In other words, they were just nearly dead.

So, it's really something! You get out there and love the world, you're going to eat at the world's table. And that's true, what is New York City called? The Big Apple! Referring to what? The sin of Adam and Eve and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Amazing—isn't it?! That's amazing!

Verse 16: "Because everything that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pretentious pride of physical life—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world and its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever" (vs 16-17). Now, that's the best way to avoid the lust of the flesh.

Let's go back here to Galatians, the fifth chapter, now. Here again, it shows the struggle that is always on-going. It's an inner battle; it's an inner war; it's always on-going, but if you truly love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being—and you're not loving the world—then the inner battle is not quite as voracious.

Galatians 5:16: "Now, this I say, walk by the Spirit… [and that means let God's Spirit lead you in your living; let God's Spirit lead you in heart, mind and attitude; live by God's laws and commandments] (notice): …and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." That's how to avoid from fleshly lusts, which destroy the soul. Put in your notes: 1-Cor. 6, which says, 'flee fornication, for the one who commits fornication sins against his own body.' So the way that you not get entrapped with the lust of the flesh is to walk in the Spirit.

Verse 17: "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these things are opposed to each other, so that you cannot do those things you wish to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law" (vs 17-18). And that means you are not under the judgment of the law. Why? Because you have God's grace! Not grace to sin, but God's Spirit and God's law to be accepted of God.

Now, let's go to one other Scripture here: 1-Corinthians 15:58: "So then, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord… [and the 'work of the Lord' is what? God working in you! The 'work of the Lord' is not necessarily what a man is doing. It can be, but too many have erected their own idols of the 'work of the Lord'—and he's not talking here about what many ministers conceive as the 'work of the Lord'—what they are doing—and then everyone else has to send their money in so he can do his work. This is you all are]: …abounding in the work of the Lord… [which is in you] …knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Now, let's put down a couple of other Scriptures—we won't turn there, so just put this in your notes: Philippians. 4:1; James 2:5—and those tie in exactly what we're talking about here, as far as keeping your mind on what you are doing.

1-Peter 2:12: "Having your way of life honest among the Gentiles, that even though they are speaking against you as evil doers…" Has more to do with gossip and slander, such as: 'Well, I don't know who these people are. Here we're out here trying to be real nice and we have all of our neighborhood decorated up with all of these Christmas lights, and these nice Santa Clauses and the reindeer; but this house over here, why it's even dark on Halloween, and they don't even have a Christmas tree. These people must not have any family love.' That's the kind of thing it's talking about here.

"…yet through having witnessed your good works… [which is the workmanship that God is doing in you—and your good works. Because Christians do do those things that other people don't do.] …they may glorify God in the day of visitation." Which then may even have reference to 'what is the day of visitation' for them? Well, the 'day of visitation' will be the second resurrection. but they may say, 'Oh, yeah! I remember that!'

Verse 13: "Therefore, submit yourselves…" Let's just clarify something here on the word 'submit.' That is a proper translation, but this 'submit' in the Greek is weaker than 'humble subjection to every whim.' And it is a little stronger than 'deferring to'; and a little stronger than 'respect.' But not 'subjecting yourself to every whim that they have. If you do that the bureaucracy's going to run and ruin your life.

"…to every human institution for the sake of the Lord… [that's the reason why we do it] …whether to the king, as supreme, or to governors…" (vs 13-14). We're to do this because of the sake of the Lord, and we have the human institution, and then we have, in this case, the king as supreme—and it could be overall as the emperor, rather than the king is supreme before God. It doesn't have that implication at all. So, you're to have respect; you're to choose to have respect and cooperate—and we'll see in a minute that we do this because we are free and free in Christ.

Verse 14: "Or to governors… [Which also includes magistrates, such as we might say the civil judges. So, if you get a ticket and you go to the judge and he says you pay so much, and you say, 'Oh Judge, I don't want to pay that much.' And he bangs the gavel down and says pay it. Well, go pay it! Or whatever it may be.] …as sent by him—to execute vengeance against evil doers… [on the one hand; that's supposed to be their job] …and to praise those who are doing well."

Put in your notes Rom. 13, how that the powers that be are there, established by God, and they are to execute vengeance against the evil doers. They do that on the one hand, or on the other hand, to praise those who are doing well. And we will notice that all the way through, the Apostle Peter talks an awful lot about well-doing or doing well in the actual—for all of those who do not like this term because of the do-gooders are around—in the Greek it actually means do-gooders! It actually means that.

Verse 15: "For so is the will of God, that by doing well yourselves… [that is your own personal conduct—and 'yourselves' there is the middle voice in the Greek, which means you are doing this yourself] …you may put to silence the ignorance of senseless men." In other words, they don't know anything about what you're doing or why you do what you do; but they look at what you're doing and they can only conclude that what you're doing is right. And in the long run, so-and-so can be trusted. In the long run, this person turned out to be better than someone else I ever had.

I don't know what it's like where you are, but it's getting tough to find anyone to work for in the world that's halfway decent anymore. I don't know about your situation, but boy, that's sure happens so many times. As you know, I'm a broker of record for a couple of offices and one of the loan officers decided she wanted to start her own business and she created a lot of havoc and stole a loan, so I had to go settle it, negotiate—'well, you can't do that'; whose name is on the appraisal; and the name of the person I worked for previously is on the appraisal; well, by law they own it; 'Oh, I didn't know that.' I said, 'Yes, they do own it, that's what it's there for.' And so being broker of record of that office, he was very happy to have me broker, because any other broker would not have had gone out and settled the issue and got some money back. So the long and short of it is that I saved him three thousand dollars. Sometimes you have to do it that way so that you 'put to silence the ignorance of senseless men.'

Here is how we do it, v 16: "As free persons…" In other words, we do it by our own free moral agency. We choose to do it. I tell you, with the human nature welling up in you, get 'em!—it is hard to choose not to. That's part of the lust that wars against the flesh—right? It is hard! I know, every once in a while myself, when something goes wrong, I just turn around and mutter to myself. Someone says, 'What are you saying.' I'm just muttering to myself. So that I don't get myself in trouble; because generally I end up with two feet in my mouth—it's a little crowded for eating.

"…and not using your freedom as a covering for evil… [That's very interesting phraseology, isn't it. How many people use a good office as a covering for evil? We could add all kinds of people that we know to that list—so we won't add it to them or whatever, but we will look at some Scriptures to show what we are to do. and as free persons, we are free from sin, free before God] …but as a bond-slave of God." These are actual qualities of our existence—right?

  • We are free to choose
  • We are free in this world
  • We are free from sin
  • And at the same time, we are bond-slaves of God

Now, let's look at some Scriptures and we'll put all this together. Let's go to John 8:31.

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This freedom that we have from God is really fantastic, because think how many people are enslaved to evil; enslaved to lusts; enslaved to their own passions—and they can't 'hep it.'

John 8:31: "Therefore, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him… [Now, these were Jews coming along and saying, 'Oh, You're a good Master; we like You; we'll follow You; we believe what You're saying.' Now, notice what He said and we'll see how long their belief lasted.] …'If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples. And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free'" (vs 31-32).

  • We're free from lies
  • We're free from sin.
  • We're free from a guilty conscious.

And all of this through God's free grace!

Verse 33: "They answered Him, 'We are Abraham's seed, and have never been in bondage to anyone. What do You mean by saying, "You shall become free"?' Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a servant of sin'" (vs 33-34). We are to be the opposite. We're to be the servant of righteousness. That servant of righteousness then is free from sin.

Now let's go to Romans, the fifth chapter, and here it talks about the same thing. This talks about the grace. This is a little complicated subject in here, so I just want to pick out one verse to show the difference between sin and grace is what then brings us the freedom before God that we need.

Romans 5:15: "But should not the free gift be even as the offense was?…. [that is the sin of Adam and all the sin that human beings commit.] …For if by the transgression of the one man many died, how much more did the grace of God, and the gift of grace… [and that gift (as we will see) is being put in right standing with God and having the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His righteousness imputed to you, as a gift!And this is why we are to be free.] …which is by the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto many?"

Verse 21: "So that even as sin has reigned unto death, so also might the grace of God reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say?…." Let's use this grace as a covering for sin. Let's use this grace as a pretext for sin. Let's use this grace to continue in sin, that God is going to be obligated to give more grace. That's not what it means at all. But that's what a lot of people think.

"…Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE!…. [In other words, don't even count that thought as worthy of existence.] …We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?" (vs 1-2)—because we've been released from the servitude to sin.

And this is a tremendous freedom, brethren. A lot of people get down and discouraged and fighting their own human nature and trying to overcome, and they look at themselves and they think of all the unworthiness that they are, and they look at their flesh and they think, oh, this is terrible and miserable and I've got this warring and struggling going on in me. I'm never going to make it. I'm never going to overcome. How can God even think of me as anything?

Listen, God's grace covers you—that's what it's talking about; because God knows you're going to have that war and struggle; and God knows you're going to have that fight. What you need to do is yield to God even more. And what's going to happen? You're going to find, just like it says, 'Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh' (Gal 5).

Verse 16: "Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, you are servants of the one you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?… [We are to be the bond-slaves of God—correct? Yes!] …But thanks be to God, that you were [past tense] the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart… [that's what God is interested in] …that form of doctrine… [there's that nasty word again—doctrine—people don't like doctrine; but it's there. 'Doctrine' means teachings.] …which was delivered to you; and having been delivered from sin…" (vs. 16-18).

  • Did Christ die? Yes!
  • Was He resurrected? Yes!
  • Is He at the right hand of God? Yes!
  • Did you repent of your sins? Yes!
  • Were you baptized; did you die the death in a watery grave? Yes!
  • Were you raised out of that watery grave? Yes!
  • Did you received the Spirit of God? Yes!

If you answered yes to all seven of those questions, then you have been freed from sin in the presence of God. There is no such thing as a scorecard before God. He did this many good things today—check, check,check! He did these bad things over here—check, check,check! I don't know, I wonder what kind did he have today; I don't know if he's…let's count him a sinner today. That isn't how God looks at it. That's the way we think. No, 'you were the servants of sin.'

Verse 18: "And having been delivered from sin, you became the servants of righteousness." In becoming the servants of righteousness, to struggle against human nature, there's going to be that war. Other people running around, lying and cheating and all this sort of thing, they have no conscious of it. Some of them are so bad, kind of like some people we know in high offices they can't tell the difference between one lie and the other—let alone even discover the Truth anywhere, and think nothing of it. But when you become the servants of righteousness there is that struggle that is in.

Verse 19: "I speak from a human point of view because of the weakness of your flesh… [not 'infirmity'—not that you are sick or infirm, but the weakness.] …for just as you once yielded your members… [that is your whole body] …in bondage to uncleanness, and to lawlessness unto lawlessness, so now yield your members… [or every fiber of your being] …in bondage to righteousness unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. Therefore, what fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end result of those things is death. But now that you have been delivered from sin and have become servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end result is eternal life…. [then comes the often repeated and well-memorized verse]: …For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (vs 19-23).

So, we're to be the bond-slaves of God, and we're told in 1-Cor. 6:18 that you are "bought with a price and you are not your own." You belong to God. And if you belong to God, you're His.

There are four direct commands in 1-Peter 2:17:

  •  "Show honor to everyone …"—that is respect
  • "…love the brotherhood…"
  • "…revere [fearing] God…"
  • "…honor the king."

Notice what we have here:

  • we have to everyone in general
  • then all of those in the Church
  • then we have fearing God
  • and then honor the king.

Very interesting how that is laid out.

He wants to bring and example for us that we need to understand very, very importantly, v 18: "Servants… [slaves—that is what the Greek is: 'doulos'] …be submitting yourselves to your masters with all fear—not only to the good and gentle ones, but also to the harsh and unjust ones."

There may be some of us who have employers that can well speak on the experience of that. And it's real nice if they're all nice and good and kind and gentle, but all the ones who are miserable and harsh and unjust and demanding all this sort of thing, it's hard to submit to them—right? Yes! It doesn't mean that you lay down and get run over like a steamroller and you're flattened out on the pavement. But then, if we—for the sake of Christ—and we are free of sin, yet, we are the bond-slaves of God, we then are to have this kind of attitude toward people. And sometimes it's difficult. Sometimes you have to run out and mutter to yourself. That's the way it goes. In the long run, they will respect you more; they will think more highly of you; plus, more importantly, God will bless you.

Verse 19: "Because this is acceptable…" It's interesting: for the word acceptable—v 19 and the last part of v 20—the Greek word there comes from grace. In other words, because this is an action of grace—that's what it is. You think about it, when you have to put up with people like that, it is only through the grace of God that you can do it. Normally, it would be fist in the face; nose in the air and stomp out the door. But if you submit to God because you're the slave of God, that is an action of grace.

"…if, for the sake of conscience toward God… [the motivation] …anyone is enduring sorrows, suffering unjustly…. [This then is acceptable and an action of grace toward God.] …For what commendation is there if, sinning and being beaten [punished]…" (vs 19-20). That's what happened to slaves. That's why he's using the example of slaves. Because if they didn't do right, strip the back—Whack! Whack! Whack!; with a whip or a rod you get beaten.

"…you endure it?… [He said, 'What credit is it?' And he's talking about credit to God, credit to righteousness, credit to Christ, credit to Christianity.] …But if while doing good and suffering, you endure it, this is acceptable… [the action of grace] …with God" (v 20). He's going to take care of it all in the long run. I know, and you know, that we've all tried to extract our own vengeance upon someone, and what do we end up being? Miserable and rotten and angry and accusative, and all of those things!

I have a ticket to go take care of, too, and I'm going to try and persuade the judge. I was driving along—I wasn't speeding in this case—and they have diamond lanes out here in California. Now diamond lanes are those lanes that you'd better not drive in unless you have two in the car—dogs don't count, manikins don't count. I had neither, just me. So, I'm driving along and it was just after—so I'll have to get my justification in here, excuse me—we switched over to regular time from daylight savings time, and it was dark at five minutes to six—which would have normally been five minutes to seven.

So, I swing over into the diamond lane. I saw this highway patrolman sitting off there on the inner shoulder, didn't think anything of it. I go on past and I look up and utt-ho, there's that amber and blue light. He pulled me over. Out here in California they're very nasty with the fines—so I got it delayed sixty days. They want $335—no speeding ticket. I'm not going to go in and say to the judge: 'Judge, don't you know that God rules the heaven and I'm one of His ministers, you better treat me right'—and all this sort of thing. I'm going in and say, 'Don't you think $335 is a little steep?' So if I pay my fine, that's acceptable with God—ok, I'll do that.

We'll read vs 21-24, and we're going to see there are nine major parts of this which are very important for us to cover: "For to this you were called…"—because being in world and not of the world, it makes it very, very difficult sometimes.

  • "…because Christ also suffered for us…
  • "…leaving us an example…"
  • "…that you should follow after Him in His footsteps…"
  • "…Who committed no sin…"
  • "…neither was guile found in His mouth…"
  • "…Who, while He was being reviled, did not revile in return…"
  • "…when suffering, He threatened not…"
  • "…but gave Himself over to Him Who judges righteously…"
  • "…Who Himself bore our sins within His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, may live unto righteousness…."
  • "…by Whose stripes you were healed."

Let's go back and we'll just review that again. Let's look at some Scriptures in this, and let's first of all, go back to Isaiah 53. This is good that we're covering this before the Passover.

  • Isaiah 53 is talking about the prophecy of what is commonly called by many theologians as 'the suffering servant.' What it is: Christ, Who has suffered for us.

And it's interesting, that even in their own Scriptures, it says—and remember how many times Jesus said, 'Have you never read in the law? Have you never read in the Word of God?'—well here it is, right in the Word:

Isaiah 53:1: "Who has believed our report?…. [that's the first thing they did was not believe them] …And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground … [totally spiritless society] … He has no form nor comeliness that we should look upon Him, nor beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men…" (vs 1-3). Remember, it said 'He came to His own and His own received Him not.

"…a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…" (v 3). I guess so. If you had perfect righteousness and full of the Holy Spirit of God, and you were doing all of these things for all human beings, and seeing all of your enemies all around you; and how many times did it say that Jesus really experienced some feelings that way.

"…and we hid as it were our faces from Him…" (v 3). We didn't want to look at it. Just consider now, if you were the Apostle John and the woman who stood before the cross of crucifixion, it was so bad that it fulfilled what it was here, that we hid, as it were, our eyes from Him.

"…He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our infirmities… [and that can mean sickness and disease] …and carried our sorrows…" (vs 3-4). Boy! You talk about someone having the total extreme, being filled with the Holy Spirit of God and yet, seeing the whole world out here all deceived and led astray by Satan the devil.

"…yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted…. [Yes, he deserves what he gets.] …But He was wounded for ourtransgressions, He was crushed for ouriniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed… [healing is part of Christianity and belief in God] …All we like sheep have gone astray… [Just blithering out there—baaa!—going wherever we go] …we have turned each one to his own way… [even Peter said, before Christ cornered him and said, 'Peter, do you love Me'—three times. Peter said, 'I'm going fishing.'] …and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (vs 4-6). And that's what I explained in the chapter concerning the Body of Christ: How was it that Christ was able to bear the sins of the whole world? So, you read that chapter.

Verse 7: "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and with His generation who did consider that He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken?" (vs 7-8). All of these have to do with the whole life and the sacrifice of Christ.

Verse 9: "And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet the LORD willed to crush Him and He has put Him to grief: You shall make His life an offering for sin.… [That's what Christ was: the sin offering to God for the sins of the whole world.] … He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper in His hand…. [that's all because of the resurrection] … He shall see of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; and He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide to Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors" (vs 9-12).

There is one of the most powerful and dynamic verses in all of the Old Testament referring to the whole life and everything of Christ.

  • He is an example

John 15:20: "Remember the word that I spoke to you: a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they kept My Word, they will keep your word also. But they will do all these things to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him Who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have nothing to cover their sin. The one who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man has done, they would not have had sin; but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this has happened so that the saying might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' But when the Comforter has come, which I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of the Truth, which proceeds from the Father, that oneshall bear witness of Me. Then you also shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning." (vs 20-27).

John 16:1: "I have spoken these things to you so that you will not be offended. They shall cast you out of the synagogues; furthermore, the time is coming that everyone who kills you will think that he is rendering service to God. And they shall do these things to you because they do not know the Father, nor Me" (vs 1-3). All of this has to do with "leaving us an example"—that in spite of all of the circumstances we still follow the way of God.

{Put in your notes there: 1-Cor. 11:1-2: '…follow me as I follow Christ.'}

  • 1-Peter 2:21: "…that you shall follow after Him in His own footsteps…"

Sometimes in following Christ, it's not going to be easy. How are we to follow Christ? That's an important thing to remember. We don't follow Christ on our terms, but His terms!

Luke 9:57: "Now, it came to pass that as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, 'I will follow You wherever You may go, Lord.'" Jesus didn't say, 'That's nice, come over here young man, I really appreciate that. That's sure good to hear.' NO! What did He say? It wasn't on Jesus' terms. It has to be on Jesus' terms—not ours. We don't go to God and do it our way. We go to God and do it HIS way.

Verse 58: "But Jesus said to him, 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of heaven have nests; but the Son of man does not have any place to lay His head.' Then He said to another, 'Follow Me.'…." (vs 58-59). Here's the one with the excuse. The other one was gun-ho and zealous, he was going to do it his way. So then, He came to another person and said, 'Follow Me.'

"…And he said, 'Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.'… [And Jesus said, 'Yes, go bury your father, it's a wonderful gesture on your part. I know that going to a funeral is always important. NO!] …But Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the Kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'I will follow You, Lord, but allow me first to bid farewell to those who are at my house.' But Jesus said to him, 'No one who sets his hand to the plow, and looks back at the things behind, is fit for the Kingdom of God'" (vs 59-62).

All of these things teach the lesson that we are to follow Christ on His terms—no other terms. {Put down in your notes: Luke 14:26-29—that we are to deny everything and follow Him, and pick up our cross and follow Him.}

  • 1-Peter 2:22: "…He committed no sin…"

That's self-explanatory. We don't have a lot of Scriptures to go to cover that. That's the whole Gospel. He committed no sin! One thing I do want us to understand out of this—in committing no sin—is that that state of justification is imputed to us. That's the important thing to remember. This is not given so that we sin more, or that we become self-righteous to condemn others. But this is given to us to inspire us that we likewise do not want to sin.

Romans 4:20: "And he did not doubt the promise of God through unbelief… [whatever it was that God said, he believed Him.] …rather, he was strengthened in the faith, giving glory to God; for he was fully persuaded that what He has promised, He is also able to do" (vs 21-21).

Let's keep that in remembrance of our calling. Let's keep that in remembrance of the resurrection. That's the whole lesson of Isaac. The whole lesson that he couldn't have his own son until God said so—and it was a son that was born of death, because of the deadness of Sarah's womb and he being a hundred years old. So the whole lesson there is that's why we're the children of Isaac, because we are called out of death into life. And just as it was a miracle that Isaac was born and the promises be fulfilled, so it is with us who are called and we have our sins forgiven, and we are going to be in the resurrection. Now, we ought to have full confidence that what God has said, He can do!

Verse 22: "As a result, it was also imputed to him for righteousness." You might just put in your margin there: 'righteousness' is right standing with God! The only right standing with God is the sinlessness of Jesus Christ imputed to each one of us.

  • We don't deserve it
  • We can't earn it
  • We can't work for it
  • We can't buy it
  • We can't be born into it
  • We can't inherit it
  • It is a gift of God!righteousness

Verse 23: "But it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; rather, it was also written for our sakes, to whom it shall be imputed—to those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised for our justification" (vs 23-25).

So, the fact that He did no sin, and that you have that imputed to you, is the most important thing that we can really comprehend and understand. We don't take advantage of it and go out and sin, obviously.

  • 1-Peter 2:22: "…neither was guile found in His mouth…"
  • Verse 23: "…Who, while He was being reviled, did not revile in return…"

Of course, Jesus had to do it under most trying circumstances—didn't He? This was when He was being accused of everything at His trial:

Matthew 26:59 "Now, the chief priests and the elders and the whole Sanhedrin sought false evidence against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death; but they did not find any. Although many false witnesses came forward, they did not find any evidence. Then at the last, two false witnesses came forward and said, 'This man said, "I have the power to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days."' And the high priest rose up and said to Him, 'Have You no answer for what these are testifying against You?' But Jesus was silent…." (vs 59-63). That means He did not revile back again—did He? He didn't talk back again—did He? No!

"…And the high priest answered and said to Him, 'I adjure You by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said it. Moreover, I say to you, in the future you shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest ripped his own garments…" (vs 63-65). That was forbidden for the high priest to rip his clothes. So this shows you the extreme anguish that the Jews were in when this took place.

"…saying, 'He has blasphemed! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, you have just now heard His blasphemy. What do you think?' They answered and said, 'He is deserving of death!' Then they spit in His face and hit Him with their fists; and some struck Him with rods, saying, 'Prophesy to us, Christ. Who is the one that struck You?'" (vs 65-68).

Then the pressure got going on Peter. They were watching this go on, and then they came out and said, 'You're one them.' No, I'm not! No, I'm not! So you know it must have been pretty bad going on there. Christ did not answer a single word.

Matthew 27:39[transcriber's correction]—here He was on the cross, ready to die: "Then those who were passing by railed at Him, shaking their heads, and saying, 'You Who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself. If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross'" (vs 39-40). Jesus didn't answer back and say, 'You just wait, in three and a half days you're going to see something!' No He didn't; didn't answer back.

Verse 41: "And in the same way also the chief priests were mocking, with the scribes and elders, saying, 'He saved others, but He does not have the power to save Himself. If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. For He said, "I am the Son of God"'" (vs 41-43). It got so bad that even the two thieves who were crucified with Him cast the same in His teeth. So Jesus didn't answer back a single word.

Luke 23:34—here's the example that Jesus gave to us which is very profound: "Then Jesus said… [right when this was taking place; right when the thieves were saying, 'Yeah! Why can't You save us too?'] …'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'…." That is absolutely fantastic! It is so great! It is so marvelous! that God had that love and that spirit and that attitude; that when He was going through it in the most agonizing circumstances, He said, 'Father, forgive them they know not what they do.' He didn't revile back and there was no guile found in His mouth.

  • 1-Peter 2:23: "…when suffering, He threatened not…" {covers the same verses as #s 5 & 6}
  • "…but gave Himself over to Him Who judges righteously…" (v 23)

Luke 23:44: "Now it was about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was split down the middle. And after crying out with a loud voice, Jesus said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.' And when He had said these things, He expired" (vs 43-46). So He gave over to Him Who is judging righteously.

  • 1-Pet. 2:24: "…Who Himself bore our sins within His own body on the tree…"

Again, I call your attention to the whole chapter—the full meaning of the Body of Christ; how that He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh; He took within His own body the 'law of sin and death'—the same that we have—to carry the sins of all the world, represented in the 'law of sin and death' that He had within His flesh. And He bore it within His own body and carried it to the tree; which then is the 'stauros' or the stake or the pole that came from a tree.

  • 1-Pet. 2:24: "…that we, being dead to sins, may live unto righteousness…."

Just put in your notes there, because we covered a good part of it already: Rom. 6—that we are no longer to live unto sin, but we are to live unto God.

  • 1-Pet. 2:24:  "…by Whose stripes you were healed."—and that brings us full-circle right back to where we began: Isa. 53.

That's the thing that's important for us to do, for us to remember. Let's cover 1-Peter 2:25: "For you were a sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."

I want to go ahead and make one other quote here, about healing. Let's go to Matthew, the eighth chapter, to show the disciples knew and understood exactly what this was all about. And remember, Matthew 8 & 9 are Matthew's chapters which then bring together all the different, outstanding healings that Jesus did during His ministry.

Matthew 8:16: "Now when evening had come, they brought to Him many possessed with demons, and He cast out the spirits by His word, and healed all who were sick; so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our diseases'" (vs 16-17). So, they showed that there was absolutely having to do with the physical healing.

Now, there is a doctrine that is out there by some people who are saying, 'Well, it's not for physical healing that this is for, but this is for spiritual healing.' It's for physical healing, for spiritual healing—that's what the body and the blood of Christ is all about.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in its Original Order, AFaithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

  • Exception: 1-Peter, from The Seven General Epistles by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • 1 Peter 2:9
  • Colossians 1:12-15
  • Acts 26:16-18
  • Philippians 3:20-21
  • Revelations 11:15
  • 2 Peter 2:10
  • Ephesians 2:8-20
  • Hosea 1:1-11
  • 1 Peter 2:11
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • Galatians 5:16-18
  • 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • 1 Peter 2:12-16
  • John 8:31-34
  • Romans 5:15, 21
  • Romans 6:1-2, 16-23
  • 2 Peter 2:17-24
  • Isaiah 53:1-12
  • John 15:20-27
  • John 16:1-3
  • 1 Peter 2:21
  • Luke 9:57-62
  • 1 Peter 2:22
  • Romans 4:20-25
  • Matthew 26:59-68
  • Matthew 27:39-43
  • Luke 23:34
  • 1 Peter 2:23
  • Luke 23:44-46
  • 1 Peter 2:24
  • 1 Peter 2:25
  • Matthew 8:16-17

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 3:12
  • Romans 7
  • 1 Corinthians 6
  • Philippians 4:1
  • James 2:5
  • Romans 13
  • Galatians 5
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18; 11:1-2
  • Luke 14:26-29
  • Romans 6
  • Matthew 9

Also referenced: Sermon & Sermon Series:

  • What Would a Church of the Pharisees Be Like (Judaism vs Scripturalism series)
  • The Passover of the Rejected

Transcribed: 8-6-09
Corrected: 2-1-12