Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Perhaps you've heard people say that there's freedom in Christ.
Maybe you've wondered what that looks like. Does that freedom only take effect after we've died? Or does Christ free us to think and live in a new way? How is living by faith in Christ liberating? Pastor Rich unpacks this question over a series of four messages, starting with today's, which is titled The Basis of Faith. Today's passage, 1 Peter 1, 22 through 25, shows us that freedom starts with God's Word, His self-disclosure.
Let's listen in now. This is the second part of the message, which was first preached on August 7th, 2022. Edmund Clowney, again, it is the seed of life sown in our hearts to create new life. God's Word is creative. He speaks and it is done.
He commands and it stands fast. That's a quote from scripture, Psalm 33. This is a beautiful passage of scripture. This is the power of God's Word. Read this with me, please.
Let's read together. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their oaths. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap.
He puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him, for He spoke and it came to be. He commanded and it stood firm.
Full stop. This is the God we worship. He is the one who made all that is, and He did it with a command of His mouth.
Think about that. And so this Word of God, this incredible creative force is the Word of God, this seed that has been implanted in us. Alistair Begg said, all truth is God's truth, but not all truth is God, because God's Word is life-giving. It's life-transforming. God's Word converts. It communicates.
It converts. It's living. Peter calls His Word as living. He also said it's abiding. It's living and abiding.
In other words, it cannot be overcome or degraded. The Word of God cannot be overcome or degraded. It transcends the brokenness and corruption of the created order. So when it says, in the Bible it talks about being born of flesh. That which is born of flesh will die, but that which is born of God will live. We see that in verse 24. All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever. It is abiding. It cannot be overcome. It cannot be degraded.
In other words, I like what John Oswald says in his commentary on Isaiah, where verse 25 is from Isaiah 40, verses 6-8. God is an unstoppable reality. He's an unstoppable reality, and He is the only one in existence that is that. An unstoppable reality.
Contra creature. Any authorities, influencers, objects of trust that we may have. Many those in authority and influencers today may think that they are an unstoppable reality, and they're not.
They will fade away. Humanity, John Oswald says, humanity can neither save itself nor hide nor hinder the one who determines to save. Humanity can neither save itself nor hinder the one who determines to save. We're abiding.
So societal influencers take note. The living and abiding Word of God. He says here also that you have been born again. You have been born again of imperishable seed, and that seed is the living and abiding Word of God. So the Word of God converts. Born again, He said this back in chapter 1, verse 3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His great mercy, He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Verse 11, the Spirit of Christ who was in them.
The good news is that was preached to you. It is the Word of Christ. God's self-disclosure in Jesus Christ. That is the seed, that is His Word. So again, the Word of God. God's Word is a creative force. God's Word has within it the regenerating work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Why? Because the Holy Spirit is the author of the Word of God. The Word of God is God-breathed. So an encounter with the Word of God is an encounter with the Spirit of God. That's why I say all truth is God's truth, but not all truth is God's Word.
It is the living Word of God. And that living Word, through that living Word of God, He says here back in verse 22, you have purified your souls. You have purified your souls. So that's the new life-giving power of God's self-disclosure. That is what's liberating.
The life-giving power of God's self-disclosure is the basis for us knowing that we are a free people. This, by the way, is in the perfect tense, which means it's the state that results from regeneration. It results from regeneration. And purifying your souls, he's using a term that the readers might have recognized, you know, purification. We're thinking about washing your hands and cleaning your body and making sure that you're all cleaned up on the outside.
That's not what he's talking about. He says you have purified what? Your souls. And that is the product of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
You haven't cleaned up yourself. It's not the purification of the outward, the ritual purification, but it's the whole person inside first. And it begins with attitudes and affections and that translates into action. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. And the renewing of our minds happens through the word of God.
So the word purified here, the root of that word signifies that which awakens religious awe. So in other words, in our souls, in our thinking, in our attitudes and our affections, there's a transference so that the basic disposition move from for me to for him. At the core of my being, attitudes and my affections.
Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 15. He died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. You see, the default disposition of life for the human being is for me. That's the default disposition of human life. All perspective, all ambition, all motivation, all of it is for me. You were born that way.
And if you're a parent, you don't need to be convinced of that, do you? But in Christ, in the purification of the souls through the living and abiding word of God, that disposition changes from for me to for him. I live for him.
I exist for him. Therefore, I perceive everything in light of his character and his purpose. So, all the goodness of my life moves from the filthy rags that Isaiah writes about to the righteousness of Christ. It's not about all the good that I have done, it's about the righteousness of Christ that I have received and therefore I can live in the outflow of that. That's the gospel of grace.
This is why I said I could spend three months on this, okay? Now, notice what he says here. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. It's the only imperative in this whole paragraph. And say, Rich, why aren't you majoring on that? Because that's going to come in week four of this series.
I apologize. But, you know, this is part of the conduct of faith, of people who are free. But one point I want to make here, because he's talking about this in the middle of purifying our souls by the living and abiding Word of God, because we've been born again through the imperishable seed of the Word of God. What does that mean?
What does it look like practically? I want you to hear this. Nothing, nothing more concisely defines the behavior of one that is free in Christ than this statement, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. Nothing more concisely defines the behavior of one that is free in Christ.
That's a stop and think about it moment. The unregenerate person is in bondage to self-preeminent, to self-preeminence and self-preoccupation. The unregenerate person is in bondage to that.
They cannot escape it, short of regeneration through the power of the Holy Spirit. Love, on the other hand, as God loves us, love this love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, is the manifestation of God's life-giving, liberating truth in me. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 14:07:18 / 2023-03-20 14:11:36 / 4