”It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.” – 1 Peter 2:15-16 NLT
There is nothing quite as frustrating to a lost person to hear as “I’m free in Christ and I choose not to be a part of sinfull things like X, Y, and Z.”
It is such a crushing blow to those still trapped in their love of sin that they will mistake your hatred of the old traps and snares as something less than love for them. They see themselves as the sin. They are so familiar with the ways of their flesh, their drowning in the mud amongst the pigs, that they have wrongly labeled themselves by the very things that ensnare them. An honorable life to them is like a slap in the face, and they scoff at “such fools” as those who would seek to live godly, holy lives.
I know this because I used to hate those godly, holy, “honorable lives” myself. I used to make war from the other side of the road, myself.
Yes, they will level accusations towards those who are seeing themselves transformed by the renewing of their minds and label them as hypocrites because they “have changed”, because “you’re not the same anymore”. They say these things because they do not understand the growing distance is not from a lack of us reaching out, or from a lack of us loving them, or from a lack of us inviting them to remain in our lives. But they say these things because our outward change in behavior as a result of the inward change in our hearts and desires.
This change in our own actions and character convicts them without any words spoken to or at them having to. Their minds race with what they think we are saying about them in our minds – when truly, we are not as concerned about their sinfulness as our own – when truly, we are so driven by our love of that close relationship with Jesus Christ that we don’t want to take part in anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit or act as a stumbling block for others in their drawing close to Him as well.
But again, I’m speaking of Christians by heart and relationship with a risen and living Savior who abides in them and through them – not a group of lawless people who claim Christ by name alone but deny Him in their daily lives -not a group of religious people who claim Jesus by their church attendance and religious practices but deny Him in their not loving and serving Him and others daily in love – not a group of hypocrites keeping the law out of a sense of obligation and self righteousness so they can judge and condemn others.
Yes, I’m talking to those disciples of Christ who are peculiar, strange people in this world of lies and tricks and traps. And my hope is that even though I myself, who was once the foremost sinner and enemy of Christ, might silence those others with the evidence of my honorable life, even as I preach the freedom of the cross. Because my obedience is truly obedience down to the root of my desire, not outward and visible compliance masking hidden rebellion – because it is fed by grattitude for what He did on the cross, not by prose in what I might do myself.
You see, the battle is over. He has won.
Any honorable life you see in me is Him, not me. Any filth that remains visible, has already been wiped clean underneath, and the evidence of that is starting to shine forth.
I’m no fool anymore. I see past the lies. I know my name. I know my purpose.
Don’t you as well, friend?
Go, tell the people, shout it to the nations, let your honorable lives shine forth as evidence of the Christ who lives in you.
Do not be deceived, do not remain lost, do not remain fearful, because He is faithful to forgive. Yes, He has already paid the price, He is there on the road, welcoming you home into His arms.
Thank you, Father. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit. Thank you for this way, this truth, this life that we now receive and live to point others to your glory and honor and power, forever and ever. Amen.