The People of God

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10

Whoever has given his life to Jesus Christ, even if the world thinks otherwise, has become a very important person before God. Before the world, especially today, we may lack value; but to God we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. Only these four characteristics of the believer are sufficient to feel less before the world and to walk in fulfillment of our purpose, to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

The people of God today suffer, in almost all the nations of the earth, a veiled persecution that is seen as if it were to facilitate free thought and equal rights. The fear of God has been completely lost and there are those who dare to challenge God Himself and His Law. It is remarkable to see how the expressions of adoration of our Heavenly Father are limited and to mention the name of Jesus, while being tolerated and encourage behaviors that are contrary to what the Bible says.

And although the world sees the children of God as second class citizens, for Him we continue to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. As a chosen generation, it is an honorable distinction to know that God has set His eyes upon us among so many other inhabitants of this earth. Being a chosen means having excelled over likely candidates. And that choice had nothing to do with our merits, since in that we are equal to others, but God was pleased to choose us, so the glory is only His.

And we are chosen to hold a royal priesthood. We are priests of the Most High King and it is our duty to announce the virtues of our Lord and King. We are called to preach and spread the good news of the gospel to every creature to the last end of the earth. No matter what our preaching is, we do not have to change the message to please the world, we are a royal priesthood, priests of God, not of the world, so our message must conform to what God says not to what he wants to hear the world.

We are a holy nation and as such, we are set apart for God. We are not supposed to be contaminated with the things of the world. In the past, we were part of the darkness; but now we have been brought to light. Then we must walk according to what the Holy Word of God says not according to what they want to impose the fashions of the moment. We are called to give light to the world and not to join its darkness. If we please the world instead of God, we are denying our own essence as God’s people.

Finally, we are a people acquired by God, before we were slaves of sin and subject to the god of this world; but the Most High bought us for a high price and paid our ransom with the precious blood of His Son. If we are humiliated or are forced to accept worldly fashions, let us first think about the cross, the precious life that cost us our ransom, and let us say no to the things of the world. Let us live grateful for His infinite mercy. God bless you.

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Holy Priesthood

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5

The subject of holiness has been put behind the curtain in modern preaching. Since holiness implies renunciation of the things of the world and withdrawal to God, there are preachers who fear to treat the subject in order not to offend their parishioners. That’s why they prefer to talk about things that are more pleasing to their ears. 1 Peter 2:5 compels us to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

A holy priesthood is opposed to the values ​​of the world because they oppose the values ​​of God. Therefore, as a holy priesthood, we should not only seek our own holiness, but should become the spokesman for it. It is impossible to be a part of a holy priesthood without preaching about sin, repentance, and holiness. The final times are approaching hopelessly and the ministers and servants of Jesus Christ are called to present these subjects to both the unbelieving and the sleeping church.

As a holy priesthood, we must preach by reminding everyone of what Hebrews 12:14 says, Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. This is a biblical preaching, which was presented by the apostles and all those who have adjusted to the Bible in all ages. For example, the English preacher John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) said, “We must be holy because this is the only sound proof that we have a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Other servants of Jesus Christ have expressed themselves in similar terms. The American Jerry Bridges said, “Holiness implies more than mere actions. Our motivations must be holy, that is, they must spring from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God.” Another American, Paul D. Washer, said, “The evidence of justification by faith is ongoing work of sanctification through the Holy Spirit.” Both coincide with what Ryle had said more than a century before.

Many are drawn to Christ with the idea that God has a “wonderful plan” for them. And they imagine that this plan of God implies making them prosperous and happy. Certainly the wonderful plan of God will give us untold treasures in the heavens and the joy of having eternal life with Him. The American Iain Duguid has said in this regard, “God’s ‘wonderful plan’ for our lives is not limited to take us to heaven; it also includes putting the heaven within us by reforming us into a holy people.”

And concerning Duguid, 1 Peter 2:9 says, But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are a royal and holy priesthood, we are a holy people, a holy nation. God did not rescue us from the slavery of sin, paying as high a price as the blood of His Son, for we may continue in the captivity of filth.

We are called to be holy. The American preacher Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897-1963) once said: “The true Christian ideal is not to be happy, but to be holy.” Let us not deceive ourselves with the lies of the enemy and exercise our holy priesthood with dignity. God bless you.

A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5

All that says 1 Peter 1: 3-5 deserves the greatest attention on the part of the believer: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Let us meditate deeply on that living hope that awaits us.

Peter says first of all: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope. The living hope that awaits us is not something we have gained by ourselves. Nor does it come because we deserve it. It was the great mercy of God, who made us reborn for this hope. If He made us reborn, that is, being born again, it is because our first birth prevented us from having access to this hope. John 3:3 tells us, Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Living hope comes from what the apostle Peter says next, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The great difference between Christianity and human religions is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The leaders of the different world religions died and stayed in their graves; but Jesus rose from the dead and today is seated at the right hand of the Father and promised to return with glory and power to reign with those who have believed in Him. And because Christ is risen, who truly believes has that same living hope.

John 11:25-26 says, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Believing in Jesus Christ gives us the guarantee of resurrection to live eternally with Him. And that eternal life is the inheritance of which Peter speaks, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

That last time is ever closer, the glorious day of the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it does not matter whether we are alive or not by then, because for every believer there is the living hope that tells us 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. God bless you.

The Prayer of Faith

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:15-16

The reason why many prayers do not receive the expected response is that they are not made with faith. James 5:15-16 tells us, And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. A prayer of faith is an effective prayer and is also a prayer of power. The power of the prayer of faith heals the sick and forgives the sins. But there is an important ingredient in this prayer, it is the recognition of our offenses.

Today many Christians think that the prayer of faith is one in which they shout, decree, declare positive words, and command with authority the demons to go out. I would not dare call that kind of prayer as of faith. The first is that it does not go according to what James 5:15-16 says. The second is that I find nowhere in the Bible that type of prayer, neither between the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament nor between the apostles or Jesus in the New Testament.

James mentions the word sin within what he defines the prayer of faith. And according to what is written, the prayer of faith not only saves the patient from his physical evil but from his spiritual evil, since it forgives his sins. No doubt many of our diseases have a spiritual origin; but not necessarily the kind of spiritual influence that many tend to believe. Although the enemy can certainly be behind our diseases, other times, the origin comes from our flesh and from our own sins.

We can never forget what Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; which means that no one can fill his mouth saying that he is free from sin. And while we all know that the context of Romans 3:23 was directed toward unbelievers, it is equally true that believers will continue to receive temptations and are exposed to sin. And just as we confess our sins to salvation, if we fail now, we must become aware of God as well.

It is impossible to pretend to deceive God. We may be leading a double life before others; but God knows very well what we do behind the scenes. Being a child of God makes us a friend of what our Father loves and an enemy of what He hates. Sin is incompatible with God, therefore, it is impossible to remain faithful to God as we commune with the things of the world. For our prayer to be considered of faith and efficacious, we must irrevocably renounce sin and embrace holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

The result of this change in our lives and in our way of praying will be remarkable. James says it this way: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. The power of this prayer has no limits. The sick will be healed, the blind will see, the dead will rise. That is the power of prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us. Let us learn to pray in the right way and the prodigies, miracles and signs of those who believe will follow us. God bless you.

Patience and Prayer

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James 5:7-8

Those of us who are waiting for the glorious coming of our Lord are aware that we do not have a date. It is written that only the Father knows the day and the hour, so no one can say when it will be. The same could be today in a few days, months or years. In that sense, we should not be anxious, but clothed with patience and watching over in prayer. Let’s be ready for that great day as if it were to happen tonight; but without despair. It is clear that time only runs in one direction, and that moment is getting closer and closer.

How should our patience be? James puts it this way: See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. It is likely that for those of us who have always lived in cities we find it difficult to understand the patience of farmers until they can harvest the fruit of the land. The agricultural process occurs for a period of time that can take from several months to several years, depending on the type of plant that has been planted.

In any case, even before depositing the seed in the soil, the farmer must prepare the land in order to condition it for sowing. Not all seeds are fertile, hence it is necessary to select them. Then a whole series of stages of caring for the plant is planted, which includes applying fertilizers, pesticides and adequate water, pruning the leaves so that the plant grows in the right direction and produces the desired fruit. As the farmer waits for the fruit, his financial resources are likely to be scarce.

At the end, when the abundant harvest arrives, the farmer will receive the joy of having in his hands the fruit of his patience. Likewise, believers who await the glorious coming of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, when we see Him descend from the clouds with His holy angels, we can say that it was worth having the patience to see such a great moment. And just as the farmer spent time to watch over the well-being of his field, believers should spend time watching in prayer until Christ comes.

In the natural, the farmer does not always reach what he expected. It happens sometimes that, even though he puts all his effort to obtain the fruit of his work, events that are beyond his control could prevent him. Nature can act against the farmer, either by a drought, excessive rain or pests that destroy his plantation. Even the fruit may not be of adequate size or its quality is poor, which causes its price in the market to decrease and this man stop winning and even lose what he invested.

However, in the spiritual, our waiting for the coming of Christ will not bring losses. No matter what happens in the natural world or the spiritual hosts of evil oppose. The Lord will come without a doubt, at the right time, which we do not know; but of which there is no doubt. Let us wait for Him with patience and watching in prayer, for He will come as a thief in the night and the great moment draws nearer and nearer. God bless you.

Humbled before God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:8-10

There is no doubt that God is waiting for us at this time to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our sins. We cannot deny that the world is convulsed and misfortune can touch us. No country is exempt from a criminal mind carrying out a terrorist act that kills dozens of people and destroys monuments and symbolic places appreciated by its citizens. Our response to God for an event of this nature should not be one of pride and self-sufficiency, but humble ourselves and seek His face with all our hearts.

The book of Jonah can serve as an example for what James 4:8-10 says. Jonah 1:1-2, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” The prophet’s response, instead of fulfilling his mission, was to go the other way. Jonah 1:3 says, But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah was not an unbeliever but a servant of God acting double-minded. As he was not satisfied with the assignment, he preferred to ignore it and flee. Of course, it is impossible to flee from the presence of God. So the boat where Jonah went was caught by a great storm, he was thrown into the sea and was swallowed by a huge fish. All this can be read in the rest of Chapter 1 of his book. Inside the fish, Jonah reconsidered, acknowledged his sin, and prayed a beautiful prayer found in chapter 2 of his book. As a result, the prophet was able to escape unharmed from the entrails of the fish.

In chapter 3 of Jonah the prophet is seen fulfilling the mission entrusted. Jonah 3:1-4 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey[a] in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

The message of warning came to the inhabitants and king of the city, who took it very seriously. Jonah 3:5-9 says, So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

And here is God’s answer in Jonah 3:10, Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. God bless you.

God Gives Grace to the Humble

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

We are living in very difficult times. Every day, the news is not pleasant. In many parts of the world, terrorist acts, natural disasters and politico-social conflicts are increasingly common. Before such news many people say that God has left us and that is why such things happen. The truth is that what happens in the world is not the fault of God but of ourselves. And our attitude to these tragic events must be to humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness for our sins. No doubt God will give grace to the humble.

There are two characteristics of the time in which we live, both sin and pride have increased to a high degree. Today, humanity considers acceptable behaviors that are in clear contradiction to what God condemns in His Word. There are even those who claim that the Bible should be “updated” to modern times to exclude from the list of sins all that is now lawful in the world. And if some brave preacher tries to confront sin, they consider him an anachronistic and outdated being, a legalist who does not fit the present time.

On the other hand, when some catastrophe touches them closely, there are those who vaguely remember God and ask for help, prayer for God to have mercy; but at no time do they humble themselves and acknowledge that they have failed Him. On the contrary, once the crisis is over, everyone returns to their old practice and forgets that God exists. And I’m not just talking about ungodly people who do not know God, many who call themselves Christians act in the same way.

What is the answer that God expects of us when He confronts us with our sin? The very Word of God gives us the key in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Although it sounds uncomfortable to many, we have sinned, we are at fault with God and the warnings He sends us is not to pray for mercy but for repentance.

Will there be someone who does not need to bow their heads before God? Of course not! Even we who are made children of God cannot do it. On the contrary, Christians themselves should be the first to pray, seeking the face of God, leaving behind the evil path of false doctrines, face to face, humbled before Him. And our prayer must continue to intercede for the repentance of those who do not know God, that the Holy Spirit may convince them of their own sins and turn to Him.

To arrive before God with a prayer full of pride, decreeing, declaring and ordering as if we were the bosses of God, is not the right attitude to reach the favor of our Father. This is not biblical prayer. Neither Moses, nor David, nor Paul, nor even Jesus prayed that way. In Psalm 51:17 the Scripture says, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, these, O God, You will not despise. Let us humble ourselves before God and we will not only reach His favor, His forgiveness and His mercy, but He will give grace in us to those who reject Him so that we may intercede for His salvation. God bless you.