Since the 2nd century, the cross has been the most common symbol of Christianity and the most proof that God cares for us and sent us salvation in his crucified Son. Today, one of the most popular names in Greece is Stavros: imagine naming your baby boy “Cross”, unless you have found out that the cross really means for the human race!
Who was Ebed-melech? We don’t know him apart from Jeremiah. His name in the text seems to be a title rather than a personal name. It means “servant of the king.” And so he was: one of the palace staff for Zedekiah, King of Judah. This raises a related question. Was he a free man? Probably not.
The righteous are brought unto the judgment to be there manifested and acknowledged as the Lord’s people. Justified already in God’s sight and in their own, they are now to be justified in the sight of men and angels, and that in such a way that the equity of the divine procedure will be apparent to all.
I’m convinced that we who are called to oversee Christ’s sheep in the church must employ the same tactics I did with my sheep long ago—by concentrating on their feeding. I’ve had the great privilege of knowing many pastors through the years, both in and out of the pulpit. The better I’ve gotten to know them, the more I’ve realized that pastors have the same problems, faults, and failings as anyone else.
Which baptism is spoken of in Romans 6:3-4? Is it water baptism or spiritual baptism? Whichever it is, it is effectual. What is more, it must be spiritual baptism (even if – if, I stress – water is involved) for it brings the sinner into Christ. The question then comes down to this: Is it water baptism which produces spiritual baptism, or is it spiritual baptism with no thought of water?
Even being with Jesus for a long time did not guarantee insight into truth. The miracles were signs. It is not that they convince everyone, but rather, thoughtful meditation upon them would reveal that the kingdom of heaven has come upon them in the Person of Christ. It has been said that seeing is believing, but Jesus seems to say that believing is seeing! Believing in Jesus is seeing God.
As believers, we ought to be much more Christ-like. We should confess our sin that we are not. But in the words of John Brown, “let them not despair—let them resolve to use more carefully, than heretofore, the abundant provision which has been made for their indefinite progress in holiness….”
My best friend and I were talking the other day and she said they would probably join a small group that is studying marriage and that the goal of marriage should be holiness, not happiness. I’ve been pondering that ever since. I’ve often heard that God wants our holiness, not necessarily our happiness. I wonder…How does the outside world know we are any different if we aren’t happy?
I found such comfort in seeing how the Lord understood the pain I was going through. But then, with such tenderness and kindness, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “You, too, are an unfaithful Bride. Consider all of the ways you have been unfaithful, all of the things that have drawn your heart away from me.” I was cut to the core.
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Our passage is calling us to renew our thinking about what is most precious in this life. Peter is really helping us thing carefully about what really matters here during the time of our sojourn. He is giving us the truth we need to understand this life that don’t often match the life we would have planned. If we ignore the truth of what Peter is saying here we are going to be more discouraged and more susceptible to stumbling.