1 Peter 2:9-12
Voddie Baucham in his book “Fault-Lines” – The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe writes:
“Those belonging to the social-justice crowd present themselves as the only ones pursuing justice, to the exclusion of all who disagree with their assessments – who, by that definition, are pursuing injustice. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the current struggle is that it mischaracterizes Christians that way too. On one side are ‘compassionate’ Christians who are ‘concerned about justice.’ On the other are ‘insensitive’ Christians who are ‘not concerned about justice.’ This is wrong. I have pursued justice my entire Christian life. Yet I am about as ‘anti-social-justice’ as they come – not because I have abandoned my obligation to ‘strife for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14), but because I believe the current concept of social justice is incompatible with biblical Christianity. This is the main fault line at the root of the current debate – the epicenter of the Big One that, when it finally shifts with all its force, threatens to split evangelicalism right down the middle. Our problem is a lack of clarity and charity in our debate over the place, priority, practice, and definition of justice. The current cultural moment is precarious. The United States is on the verge of a race war, if not a complete cultural meltdown. And the rest of the Western world seems to be following suit. Tensions are rising in every place the African slave trade has left is indelible mark.
However, as much as I love and want the best for America, I am far more concerned about the precarious moment facing evangelicals. I am not a pessimist. I believe the Lord’s Church will survive until He comes, and this moment is no exception. God’s people have faced other – and I would argue more significant – obstacles in the past. I don’t think anyone would say that what we are dealing with here rises to the level of the Spanish Inquisition or the Protestant Reformation in terms of threatening our unity. There is not like the drowning of the Anabaptist martyr Felix Manz on our current radar screen. Nevertheless, there is trouble afoot. The current moments is akin to two people standing on either side of a major fault line just before it shifts. When the shift comes, the ground will open up, a divide that was once invisible will become visible, and the two will find themselves on opposite sides of it. That is what is happening in our day. In some cases, the divide is happening already. Churches are splitting over this issue. Major ministries are losing donors, staff, and leadership. Denominations are in turmoil. Seminary faculties are divided with some professors being fired or ‘asked to leave.’ Families are at odds. Marriages are on the rocks. And I don’t believe the fracture in this fault line is yet even a fraction of what it will be.”
Warren Wiersbe illustrates in his book on 1 Peter how important our lifestyle is.
“In the summer of 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York, to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said, ‘Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.”
“When Peter refers to Israel as those “builders” who rejected the corner stone, Jesus Christ, we must understand this in light of Paul’s teaching: ‘I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!’ (Romans 11:11) And when Peter applies passages from the Old Testament to the New Testament church, we must not assume the chosen people of the Old have been utterly divorced and replaced by the people of the New. Rather, the Old Testament serves as an example with application to us, though the primary meaning of the passage still remains unmoved.”
Os Guiness, author of “IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE” writes:
“The overall debate about freedom is an ‘argument for the sake of heaven’ that no Christian should duck – because it bears on our view of the character of God, of human dignity, or moral responsibility, and therefore on our mission and public witness. Gracious, patient, tenacious, persistently biblical, and avoiding argument by labels is a model of how to handle issues that are divisive but important. It is up to each of us to read, study, think, pray, and decide for ourselves. The heart, face, and voice of our faith are all at stake in the answers we give.”
Chuck Swindoll in his commentary on 1 Peter is challenging us with a few questions:
– DO I LIVE AN EXAMPLARY LIFE?
Would anybody be able to identify me as a stone that belongs in God’s temple, or is the outward surface of my life so damaged, stained, or misshapen that I would be mistaken as a common rock unfit for building?
– DO I HAVE UNIMPEACHABLE INTEGRITY?
If I were accused of wrongdoing in the workplace, school, church, or social circles, would people be surprised, or have they sadly come to expect such behavior from me?
– DO I DO GOOD DEEDS AMONG UNBELIEVERS?
Have I become a “Sunday Christian”, only doing my best deeds for fellow believers, or do I let the light of the Holy Spirit shine before others in a way that draws their attention to Christ for me?
– DO I CONSIDER HOW OUTSIDERS VIEW MY ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS?
When I’m outside my circle of Christian family and friends, do I ‘let my hair down’ and take the opportunity to lower my standards, or do I maintain my Christian convictions even in the world?