Encouragements for our troubled times No. 49

COVID-19 Series | Date: 25 February 2021

The Elders and Deacons want to encourage the members and those who regularly meet with us through this weekly letter. If you have news which you would be happy to share with the fellowship or request for prayer, then please let us know.

A message from our Pastor

1 Peter 1:17-19

“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”

As we saw last week, we are called to be holy just as our Father is Holy. Now, this is not something that we can treat casually or lightly. Our Father is Holiness itself and cannot abide sin and He expects His children to be like Him. Holiness is not an option but a must and the fact that we will never truly be holy until He comes for us does not change the fact that God expects us to do all we can to be holy. It is a command, not a request. Now, in verse 17 Peter goes on to tell us how we should conduct our lives if we want to be holy.

Firstly, Peter reminds us of our privileged position as those who ‘call on the Father.’ We are those who have been made the children of the living God and can now call Him our Father. We are those who can come boldly before our Father’s mercy seat and call upon Him with our prayers. Now, if we want our Father to hear us and bless us, then we must be seeking to please Him and to be all that we should be.

We must also remember that the One whom we call upon, without partiality judges according to each one’s work. He is not impressed by mere words; He judges us by what we produce in our lives. Do we exhibit the fruits of a holy life, the fruits of righteousness? Are we doing good works (those works that God calls good) the works of righteousness? God judges us, assesses us, on the basis of what our lives produce.

We also need to remember that our Father judges us ‘without partiality.’ He shows no favouritism, neither does He show any discrimination, in His judgements. They are unbiased. He doesn’t have favourites with whom He is willing to overlook their lack of effort to be holy. He has the same expectations of us all. He expects us all to be holy. And He has the same expectations of us in lockdown when we are hidden away in our homes, as when we are together in church worshipping Him.

Secondly, if we are striving to be holy then we need to conduct ourselves ‘throughout the time of our stay here in fear.’ The phrase ‘our stay here’ means the time of our sojourning here, emphasising that we are temporarily resident here who are the citizens of Heaven. And while we are here, we represent Heaven and our Father. We have a name to live up to and a Father to glorify while we are here. We are not to conduct ourselves like the citizens of this world but the citizens of Heaven. We are to show the world that we are of that holy place and we are the children of our Holy Father.

Therefore, Peter tells us that we need to conduct ourselves throughout our time here in fear. We must live as if we fear God. Not in a servile way, cowering from Him because we fear punishment, but in a godly way, fearing to offend our Father whom we love. It is a fear born out of respect for whom He is and reverence for His great Name. It is the fear that a child has for His Father who wants to do everything to please him and hates doing anything that grieves him. Do we have that fear of our Father, then we must seek to be holy as He calls us to be, and not just in some times but all the time, even in lockdown?

O for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free; A heart that always feels Thy blood So freely shed for me. A heart resigned, submissive, meek, My great Redeemer’s throne, Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone; A humble, lowly, contrite heart, Believing, true, and clean, Which neither life nor death can part From Him that dwells within; A heart in every thought renewed And full of love divine, Perfect and right and pure and good: A copy, Lord, of Thine.