There has been a lot of talk in recent months in the news about a certain website that was hacked and many people had deep dark secrets exposed. First of all, I remember when this website was advertising they would keep your secrets (for a fee) and they would never be exposed. I thought how stupid it was for people to do something they knew was wrong and then post it on a website where they were supposed to have total privacy. In the world today there is no such thing as total privacy and the illusion of having such privacy to me was pretty slim. I also thought how sad that people were gullible to fall for such a service. I imagine some of those whose lives are being exposed on the internet right now are also wishing they hadn’t fallen for the lie this service proclaimed.
Why do people want to do wrong (sin) and then write about it on some random database where they paid for storage of their misdeeds? What kind of mind wants to do that? For that matter what kind of mind wants to hack a computer system to expose such dark secrets? Both mindsets are rather sickening to me. I did not have an account on this site in case you were wondering.
I have tried to live my life in such a manner that if someone were trying to find some smut on me they would be hard pressed to find any. I love what Peter, the disciple of Jesus who was always getting into trouble because of his big mouth, said, take a look.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I Peter 2:12, (New International Version or NIV).
I notice two things here. First of all Peter said to live among the “pagans,” which is another way of saying live in this world surrounded by non-Christian people, in such a way that you can’t be accused of doing wrong. The second thing I notice is that the timing of your good deed and you being noticed as doing good are not at the same time. Rather your good deed is revealed on the day Christ comes again. At that moment the “pagan” will glorify God because finally the truth is revealed about why you lived the Christian life (which is full of good deeds). Remember, though, that to fully understand a verse of scripture it is best to look at a passage to get the proper context, so here is the full passage.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. I Peter 2:11-17, (NIV).
Wow, I think Peter knew just how far removed from the world I feel sometimes when he urges you and me to live in our culture as though we are foreigners and exiles. He points out that there is a cultural war, a spiritual war and war between good and evil and that the only way we can stay on the winning side, God’s side, is to practice abstinence…abstinence from the things of the world, the fleshly desires, the greed, sex, lies, etc. Why? Because this warfare is battling for our soul. Then comes our verse about living so that we aren’t accused of doing wrong followed by a word that most Americans don’t like to hear…submit. I don’t care what circle you run in you will find people who hate to submit. In this case we are to submit to every human authority for the Lord’s sake and not our own. Yes we have rights but so did Jesus Christ when He chose to submit to the cross and He didn’t exercise His rights so that we could live free from sin. Why would God expect me to give up my rights? What does the verse say next? The answer is there. It is God’s will…why? So that by doing good in our life we shut up the hypocrites, we shut up the ignorant, we shut up the religious, so that the foolish people will shut their mouths and be quiet. If nothing else it certainly frustrates them to see us doing good!
Peter goes on to say that we are to live as a free people but that we are to not use our freedom to cover up evil. Think about that, do I cover up my sin by hiding behind my “rights” as a Christian? Sad to say there are some people who do. Some people try to say that it is alright to have an affair because David did and he still remained married to Bathsheba and God honored their son Solomon with wisdom and riches. Well that is only half the truth, David suffered and he lost a baby because of his sin and his household was never free from turmoil ever again. Others say that they can sin all week-long and then go to church and be okay with God because a loving God won’t sent them to hell. Look, the truth is that if you submit to God through the blood of Christ, then you must also live a life worthy of Jesus. He gave up His rights and expects you to do the same.
Okay, then how are we to live? Peter tells us in the last verse we are looking at in this passage. We are to be disrespectful and demand our rights so that everybody around us knows how powerful our God is, right? Hmmm, not really. We are to be respectful to every person including politicians we don’t agree with, including police who stop us for speeding, including the next door neighbor whose dog keeps crapping on our lawn. We are to be respectful to everyone! We are to love other believers because we are a family and they are our brothers and sisters. We are to fear God and honor our governmental leader. For Americans that is our President. We don’t have to agree with someone to show them honor and civility. But we do have to show respect where it is due and respect the position and the title. This is tough stuff! Who says being a follower of Christ is easy? It isn’t, it is tough and it is humbling and it is difficult at times.
So why do we live such a life? Well I don’t know why you do but I can tell you why I do. I want my name to be in the largest data-base in history, the Lamb’s book of Life told about in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Revelation 21:1-8 (NIV).
The passage goes on to describe this new place and the last six verses are important to me.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:22-27, (NIV).
Do you see it? The last five words of this passage, the largest data-base ever, “the Lamb’s book of life!” I want my name to be in that book, in that data-base but I can’t pay for my name to be there. Jesus was the one who paid for my sins with His blood, His life. He paid for you too but you have to accept His free gift of salvation and live your life in submission to Him. My secrets are safe with my Master because His blood covers all of them forever and ever. No hacker can touch them or expose them. Wow!