Being Obedient…Being Holy: I Peter 1:13-25


Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I (am) holy.” Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each ones works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a (pure) heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for: “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.” This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.  

Whenever a sentence in sacred scripture begins with the word, “Therefore” you need to remember to go back and recall what it’s “there for.”

By virtue of our baptism,(v.2 last week) we have received the call of God. Therefore we are instructed to gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. To gird up the loins of your mind should bring to mind the image of the first Passover, when the Israelites took flight from the Egyptians (Ex.12:11) and in the context of living soberly and setting our hopes completely on Christ, suggests vigilance and perseverance on the part of His people.

This is why obedience is a big issue in Peter’s letter. We must be like obedient children in order to Be holy for I am holy. In our former life, we were ignorant for we had no knowledge of God and that led us to godless conduct. We are called to be holy if we’ve received the the knowledge and love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Peter makes it clear that obedience and conduct reveal whose we are. For God judges us according to our works.

Peter then goes on to  teach us that this unknown God is made known by the revelation of Jesus Christ; He [Jesus] was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. For us to believe in the invisible God, He was revealed visible. For us to have life, we were shown the resurrection from the dead! Knowing that what God the Father did for His Son Jesus Christ, He will do for those who are truly His.

Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth, Peter continues, we have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God. This word, word is the Greek word logos. Logos is “something said, thought or reasoned” in it’s definition (as in John 1). Jesus is the Logos of the Father Himself (Col.1:15). Contrary to what you may have been taught in the past, this passage of Scripture has nothing to do with the written word, that would be the word graphe. When Peter quotes this passage from Isaiah 40:7-8, out of the Old Testament Septuagint, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever”, the Greek word rhema is used. Rhema is similar in meaning, yet without the philosophical characteristic of Logos.

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you. This is the Word (Logos) Jesus Christ: conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died and was buried, and on the third day He rose again.

So this week, let us seek the Logos in the graphe. How can we do this? We seek Jesus through the words He spoke (in the bible) and through His ordained Ministers in His Church (rhema). The Holy Spirit who guides them, guides us all “to all truth” (John 16:13). And this will lead us to be obedient, and therefore holy.

Amen.

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The Mystery Of Salvation: I Peter 1:1-12


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen sojourners of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, in the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ: may grace and peace be yours in abundance.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.  In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you (through) the holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look.

Peter’s letter is written to those chosen, in the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Alot of emphasis is placed on  foreknowledge by some believers today, I think in part, to justify their lack of action or responsibility. Instead of making it an either/or issue, we need to look at other scriptures as well. One such scripture would be John 6:37, Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,[foreknowledge] and I will not reject anyone who comes to me [free will]. This statement by Jesus Himself, gives us the idea that we are to cooperate with God’s call. Once this is done, we are sanctified [set apart] by the Spirit for obedience and sprinkled [cleansed] by the blood of Christ.

All this is done through the great mercy of God the Father, through baptism we receive a new birth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Our living hope is kept in heaven for us, by the power of God, safeguarded through faith,to be revealed in the final time.

This sets up the reason for Peter’s letter: to give us chosen sojourners hope. He wants us to rejoice in what is to come, though we suffer now through various trials. Just as in our last study of the letter of James, suffering, we learn produces a genuineness [perseverance] of our faith, especially those tested by fire for the impurities are burned away.

Not ever having seen Jesus, nor seeing Him now should hinder us from the indescribable and glorious joy of attaining the goal of our faith; the salvation of your souls. It is here we might recall Jesus’ words to Thomas:

Jesus said to him [Thomas] “Have you come to believe because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”   John 20:29

The Old Testament prophets prophesied about this salvation, though they didn’t understand how the sufferings and the  glories would work together. Yet, they followed the Spirit of Christ, for they prophesied as the Spirit led; for us serving not themselves.

John the Baptist [the last Old Testament prophet] didn’t fully comprehend this either, for  he sent his disciples to ask Jesus:

“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”  Luke 7:19

This mystery of salvation is something that angels longed to look. How their Creator could become a man ” a little less than the angels” (Ps. 8:6) and redeem humanity is beyond creations comprehension. To all of us, salvation is still a great mystery.

This week, let us ponder this great mystery of salvation. God the Father sending His Son Jesus, to suffer and die and to be raised in glory for the forgiveness of sins. Then sending His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to a salvation to be revealed in the final time.

Amen.

A Study Of The First Letter Of Peter


Our next study will be on the letter of first Peter.

Two things to notice when studying/reading this letter:

  1. Notice how many times the word suffer/suffering appears.
  2. Notice how many times the word obey/obedience appears.

Count the times each are used, and ask yourself, “Why”?

Four Final Thoughts – James 5:13-20


Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Elijah was a human being like us, yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.  

As James wraps up his letter of instruction, he points out some personal and corporate practices that we need to adhere to.  

Are you suffering? Pray! Are you happy? Sing about it! Are you sick? Call the presbyters!

“This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1695; cf. Mk 6:13; Jas 5:14-15.”

We notice that this anointing of the sick is accompanied by the command; confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. Why would James tell us that you may be healed only after mentioning confession and prayer?

Confessing our sins to one another is an act of humility. Although I know God is always with me and sees everything I do. I don’t see Him, see me though. When I confess my sins to the priest [who is Christ’s representative] I see him see me and I am humbled in my spirit. Knowing that I am actually seen and heard, compels me to not want to commit these sins anymore. It is also a great relief to [actually] hear the words of comfort, “Your sins are forgiven” knowing that they indeed are (I John 1:9).

This forgiveness from God leads us to righteousness. If we are to pray for one another, to be “effective” (though this actual translation didn’t use this word) we must be righteous, The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. This is how these three things tie together.

Lastly, we are instructed to bring back a sinner from the error of his way. The error is to stray from the truth. If we are to be able to do this, we must remain in the truth ourselves. Remaining in His truth gives us the grace to lead the sinner back to a life of truth, in the forgiveness and grace of His Church.

So this week, let’s go to confession! To be cleansed from our sin to serve God and our neighbor in true righteousness.

Amen.

New Again: The Passion Of The Christ


                        This is so awesome! I had to share it! Enjoy and praise God!

Taking A Stand in Colorado


Thank you Bishops of Colorado! Now it’s our turn.

 http://www.cocatholicconference.org/content/view/114/1/

EWTN Program Note


John Martignoni will be on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” program tonight at 7:00 PM (Central time). Please tune in if you have the opportunity. It’s also available on Sirius Satellite Radio Ch.160.