Earnest Love

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…” (1 Pet. 4:8).  The command is clear, straightforward, and specific.  Above and beyond everything else that may go on in the life of a local church – worship services, bible studies, ministry projects, financial, administrative, and facility needs, various events and activities, etc. – one thing is absolutely essential and indispensable:  growing in this earnest love for each other.  The earnestness of love that Peter speaks of has to do with intentional, strenuous, sustained effort.  It’s a love that is eager to forgive and restore, because, as Peter goes on to say, “…love covers a multitude of sins”.  This is tenacious love, which humbly moves toward people in a local church, not away from them.


Anyone who has walked with other believers in a local church understands the significance of this command!  Let’s be honest:  it’s downright scary, hard, and often painful to pursue this earnest love with specific people in a specific local church like RCG.  We can be easily tempted to become cold and indifferent to the necessity of pursuing this earnest love.  But if we give in to such temptations, we fail to be what God would have us to be as His people – regardless of however involved we might be with various church activities and events.


Beloved, as God Himself loves us in Christ with this earnest, holy, persevering love, how can we who belong to Him do anything less?  His grace is sufficient for all He commands of us.  May He continue to grow and strengthen us in the pursuit of this earnest love with each other, that His glory would be all the more displayed through us to the watching world  (Jn. 13:34-35).


I’m so grateful for each of you, and the privilege of growing in Him together at RCG!


Trustworthy Stewards of God’s Grace

The Apostle Peter distinctively taught and exemplified the truth that believers must understand their identity, among other things, as stewards of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.  This is the central reality that forms the basis of his exhortations in 1 Pet. 4:7-11.  And of course, to live faithfully as those who are stewards, means living as those who are accountable to our Master.  What sobering, focusing, and comforting truths these are!


Peter was certainly not alone in understanding this divine stewardship.  Paul likewise expresses as much in 1 Cor. 4:1-2, when he says:


This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.


Beloved, as stewards of the mysteries of God – His grace in Jesus Christ – our singular “job description” is to be found trustworthy/faithful.  And all of Scripture defines and describes what this faithfulness is to look like day-by-day in our lives.  May God give us grace to prioritize our life around this stewardship, eagerly anticipating the return of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ!


Because He lives,


Leaving Judgment to God

The certainty of God’s coming judgment is a warning to the rebellious, and a great comfort to genuine believers (1 Pet. 4:5-6).  Only Christians can live with the peaceful confidence that no injustice suffered at the hands of sinful men will go unpunished; everyone ultimately answers to God.  Moreover, only Christians can also die in this confidence, knowing that they will eternally “live in the spirit” (1 Pet. 4:6), through God’s mercies in Christ.


In view of this, believers must always leave judgment to God, and not try and take matters in their own hands when wronged by others.  They must follow the example of Jesus Christ, and keep “…entrusting themselves to Him who judges justly.”  (1 Pet. 2:21-23)   In no uncertain terms, Paul expresses this very same truth in Rom. 12:17-21 –
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


May God give us all grace and power through His Spirit to live this way, that Christ would be all the more exalted through our lives!


Because He lives,