God Over Selfishness, Culture, Family, and Tribe

When it comes to making practical decisions in daily lives, we tend to fall into one of three ruts that God pulls out of through Peter.

Rut #1 – Selfishness

1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,  but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

The most frequently mentioned attribute of God in the Bible is holiness. This means that God is different, or other, than everyone else in our sinful world. Selfishness is how God sees us when we do what inflames our destructive selfish passions and acts ignorantly of God’s commands which are for our good. If you’ve ever seen a kid that is never told “no” then you have seen a kid who is not well-loved and cared for. God is our Father who loves us enough to give us commands and life will go much better for us if we are “obedient children”.

Rut #2 – Culture

1 Peter 1:18 –  And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile…

Right now, everyone on earth is doing as they please. One day, the fool’s parade will come to a halt, the music will stop playing, and the judgment of God will begin. For the Christian, this is not our home and we are quite literally an “exile” passing through this life and preparing ourselves for eternal life. In some ways, our entire life on earth is a bit like an internship. Looking around, it can be very tempting to do what everyone else does, say what everyone else says, and believe what everyone else believes. But we must keep looking not out to the culture but rather up to our Father to learn how to live.

Rut #3 – Family

1 Peter 1:18-20 – …you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 

We are born into a family, and generally assume that our family is “normal” until we meet other families and compare theirs to ours. This is particularly true in marriage where two people trying to become one quickly learn all the assumptions, traditions, and expectations they picked up from their family without even knowing it. No matter how good our family, because of sin we’ve all “inherited” some “futile ways”. Thankfully, our big brother Jesus has saved us into a new family with God as our Father so that our family can become more happy, holy, and healthy.

Rut #4 – Tribe

1 Peter 1:22-23 – Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…

When we think of tribes, we often think of groups of people from long ago and far away who kept to themselves and cared little for outsiders. Today, we may be more tribal than ever – divided by nation, race, political party, income, hobby, neighborhood, education level etc. In the early church, the pressing tribal battle was between Jewish and Gentile believers who did not like one another but were family in Christ. In our day, tribalism in the world threatens to divide and destroy unity in the church which is why, in the family of God, Democrats and Republicans, men and women, old and young, rich and poor, urban and rural, black and white, should strive for a “brotherly love” and “love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. The world has enough division, and the church is to be the place of love which produces unity and family.

Which of these do you struggle most with? Why? 

To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU! 

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