Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Purified Souls

The Roman emperor Nero rose to power in 54 AD and reigned until 68 AD. Nero has been tagged as the first persecutor of Christians. After the Great Fire of Rome, Nero started his assault on Christians. He would gather them together, tie them to a light post, dip them it pitch, set them on fire, and use them as lanterns in his gardens. It is believed that Nero was the one who killed both the apostles Peter and Paul of the New Testament.

It is hard to imagine what it would be like to live in this time frame. Yet it is in this setting that Peter writes his epistles to the scattered Christians. In 1 Peter 1:7, he talks to them about the trial of their faith. In verse 13, he challenges them to “gird up the loins of your mind” and continues to speak of their obedience, redemption, and faith. Then Apostle Peter makes an astounding statement that has resonated in hearts for years.

In verse 21, he says, “Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” The word “soul” speaks of a man’s mind, will, and emotion. This is where I just got floored. Think back to the time and situation that they are in. Nero is burning Christians and using them as lanterns to light up his gardens.

That means someone’s daddy, someone’s mommy, someone’s child, someone’s grandparent has been tortured for sport by Nero, and Apostle Peter says that in the midst of all this chaos and hurt… I see that you have purified your souls [mind, will, and emotions] in obeying the truth through the Spirit. Peter acknowledges something in these Christians that has already happened in the midst of all of this ("seeing ye have") in regard to the purifying of their mind, will and emotions. Even though they were in the trial of their faith, even though they were living the “manifold temptations,” even though their family members were being killed… their mind, will, and emotions were cleansed. Can you imagine... no hatred, vindictiveness, anger or malice... but purified minds?

“Seeing ye have…” --We cannot save ourselves. This is not talking about salvation, but sanctification. They had to choose to “gird up the loins of [their] mind.” They had to choose to yield to the Spirit in the midst of the fiery trial. And they had done it!

May I suggest to you that it is possible to live the difference? It is possible in the midst of heartache, turmoil, manifold temptations, and in the trial of our faith… to live the difference… to obey the truth through the Spirit. As I yield to the Spirit, He then lives, through me, the Person that He already is. “…yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me…” (Galatians 2:20).

1 comment:

Rene said...

(2Tim 2:12 [KJV])
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Saints of the past humble us who are often ashamed to share for His glory that we may not be laughed at. "Unworthy, Unworth!!"