Summary: It is one thing to talk about Christianity, but it is another thing altogether to live a Christian life.
CALLED TO A LIFE OF HOLINESS
Text: First Peter 1:13-25
"Quaker philospher Elton Trueblood described our society as a "cut- flower" civilization. The basic Christian truths have built it, but if we are disconnected from our roots, our ideals and ethics eventually fade and die. If we successfully give Christ to the next generation, we must hand his teachings to them, too". (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 56). Just as there is a difference between the having things on paper and putting them into practice, there is also a difference between having ideals and a lifestyle that is in harmony with those ideals. It is one thing to talk about Christianity, but it is another thing altogether to live a Christian life. It is the way we live as Christians of this generation that will pass on our “ideals and ethics”. It is therefore important that we stay “connected” to our “roots”.
Imagine that one time there was a young man who was given a guaranteed future. The President of the United States gave him a golden opportunity. He was going to be given a full scholarship to a University in Washington D.C., a place to live at the White House, escort to and from school by the Secret Service. Upon graduation he was going to be given the opportunity to have a career in the State Department. Knowing that the young man was a Christian, the President gave him this opportunity with a condition that he never attend church while living in the White House. The reason for that was because they did not want to offend people of different religions who would be guests to the White House. (Bryan Chapell. Standing Your Ground. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989, pp. 22-23). What would you do in that situation? Just think, you could go on and become someone in the State Department, but at the same time, your plans of nurturing your spiritual growth would suffer. Suppose this young man actually took the position. How could he be faithful and fruitful if he could not participate in living out his Christian faith? What kind of mixed up values, “ideals and ethics” would he pass on to his children? What of a witness would he be to his “would-be-Christian” peers? And then think about how this young man would be judged for his work by our Heavenly Father.
CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED OUT OF THE WORLD.
Christians are called to a different lifestyle. A lifestyle is a pattern of living wherein we live out what we believe. As Christians we were not called to blend in. As Christians, we were called to stand out. We have been called to salvation by God. We have also been called out of the world and worldly ways in order to live out our calling to a life of holiness as we serve God.
“A father and son were raking leaves when they noticed something darting in and out of the piles. After careful effort they uncovered a chameleon . It was difficult to see among the brown leaves. It had blended with them by turning brown, too. After catching the little creature, they put it in a jar of green grass, where it immediately turned green. When they added some red berries, the chameleon began to take on that color. Some people are chameleons in character; wherever you put them, they turn that color. Their thinking and their behavior depend on their environment” (Miller, p. 36). The conduct of Christians is not to be compromised. If we who are Christians compromise our conduct as being dependent upon our environment, then we fail to be obedient as God’s children (First Peter 1:14). We have to remember that we have been called out of the world.
Christians are not just called to a different lifestyle, they are called to the way of holy living. The old saying, "When in Rome do as the Romans do" does not apply. It simply does not apply to Christians because we are not of this world. "There is a great deal of difference between attempting to live for God, and allowing Him to live in and through us". (Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Ed. Mastering the New Testament: James; 1, 2 Peter; And Jude. Volume 11. Paul A. Cedar. "Living Like Strangers Here On Earth." Dallas: Word Publishing, 1984, p. 127). If we do not strive to live as "strangers", then it becomes easier for us to "backslide" and conform to the former "lusts" (First Peter 1:14). Christians must strive to maintain fellowship with God who called them out of darkness and into His marvelous light (First Peter 2:9). Consider First John 2:4-6: "The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But, if anyone obeys his words, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we are in him, whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (NIV). Our conduct and our character go hand in hand.