As beautiful as our world may be and as blessed as we all are, there is no doubt we are living in a godless world. God’s Word affirms it, and the struggle for every born-again believer is real. How can we possibly be “salt and light” given the monumental darkness we face? How can we be all that Christ Jesus calls us to be when faced with such opposition and so many relentless attacks from Satan? How can we be “in” this world but not “of” this world?
Jesus repeatedly addressed the tension between light and dark with His disciples. In John 15:19 (CSB) He said, If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Surely, this presents an insurmountable dilemma to every believer. It has to make every educator and every parent shudder. It must cause every student who loves Jesus, to wonder seriously how to live out one’s Christian faith in the context in which they live
God’s Word offers the solution. As we lean on our faith and trust the Lord, we must look to Him for the answers. He has never failed us yet!
In the first letter of Peter, it’s obvious God wanted us to know that He knew what our struggle would be. Jesus knows all about us because He made us. He hung the stars in their place. He knows about the seriousness of sin and how sin affects a lost and dying world.
Jesus willingly gave His life on a cross so every sinner could be delivered from the condemnation of sin and receive forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus knew full well He was leaving His disciples to live out their faith in a very hostile, antichrist world. This world would literally “hate” everything and anything that proclaims the holiness and righteousness of God through Christ Jesus.
Peter’s letter was written to you and to me. It is God’s instructions to the Church on how to be “salt and light” in this godless world. It encourages us to live triumphant regardless of our current situation.
Essentially, we’re instructed to do four things. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but these four things provide a biblical framework for God’s call to action. These commands fuel the steps of our daily walk as we apply the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to our every circumstance and daily habitation.
First: Put God’s love on full display.
Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly (1 Peter 1:22, CSB).
Yes, our world is godless. Yes, the opposition is real. Yes, we have to live, work, and make a living in this lost world. Yet, we are born again of the Spirit of the living God. We are the recipients of a love we can never earn or repay. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us, therefore, we must love with a pure heart–no strings attached. This action begins with the love Christians show for one another. What does this have to do with our godless world? Jesus made it clear that loving one another is the very means by which “they” will know that our Christian faith is authentic. Our failure to do so could be why so many in the world do not embrace what we know to be true. The world is always watching us.
Second: Anchor yourselves in the “living and enduring word of God.”
…because you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:23).
Since we profess Christ, and since we believe God in every way and in all things, it behooves us to plant our spiritual roots down deep, holding on to everything God instructs us to do and say in and through His Word.
Third: Rid yourselves of sinful habits.
For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the Gentiles choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry (1 Peter 4:3).
In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus instructs us to deal with our own sins first before we judge another’s. The list we read in 1 Peter 4:3 is not exhaustive, but is a great place to begin. Any intention to do evil, any form of double-life, any evil conversation is not acceptable before the Lord.
Fourth: Do good.
For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good (1 Peter 2:15).
God wants us to not only desire to be all that He wants us to be, but to actually do it. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). In other words, we must prove God by the example of our own lives so He can reveal Himself to our lost and godless world.
Let your light shine. (Matthew 5:16)