Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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A Divine Identity

In his first epistle, the apostle Peter wrote the following words, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (2:9-10). The text affirms that Christians belong to God, and are special. Verse four states that Jesus Christ was rejected by men. Since that is so, it stands to reason that those who belong to Him will be rejected as well (cf. John 15:18-25).

Such animosity is typical. People tend to dislike those who are different. This is the reason for racism, androgyny, misogyny, ageism and religious bigotry. This hatred trumps love among the ungodly, who only love those who are like them! As Jesus told his disciples, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same” (Luke 6:32-33). In contrast, the Christian is called to love all men. “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36).

The animosity of the world is something that God’s people can depend upon. While there may be individual exceptions to the rule, Christians are not accepted by the worldly. The world is antagonistic toward, and unaccepting of a Christian’s life, teaching and morals. This is why Peter wrote, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

It is disturbing to see Christians seeking an identity that conforms to the society around them. Some make the same choices with regard to fashion, language and music. They adopt the same views with regard to morals, religions and a toleration of the sins and excesses of our society. These things should not be so! A pilgrim does not fit in — a pilgrim is different from the world around him.

To lose one’s peculiar identity as a child of God is spiritually destructive. In the end, those who are not identified with Jesus Christ will lose their souls. Consider our Lord’s words in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” If Jesus Christ does not know us, our abode will be with the wicked!

It should not surprise Christians that the world thinks we are crazy, ignorant, or even evil. They thought it of our Lord, claimed the same of those in the first century (cf. 1 Peter 2:12), and it will be our lot if we carry the mark of the Lord Jesus in our lives (cf. Galatians 6:17).