“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
Although salvation is free, it is not cheap since it required the Creator Himself to become man and submit to an agonizing death on the cross. This was the mind of Christ!
And, by the same token, although our salvation is not conditioned on any meritorious acts of our own, the standard by which we must measure our lives is nothing less than the perfect life of Jesus Christ. In the first place, our words and deeds are to be compared to His: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Our standard of holiness is to be His life of holiness. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [meaning ‘behavior’]” (1 Peter 1:15).
If we truly follow His steps, they may well lead to suffering and persecution, but “he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6), and this involves a willingness to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). The Christian life is preeminently to be characterized by unselfish love, but again the standard of that love is nothing less than the love of Christ Himself. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
To love as He loved, to walk where He walked, to be holy as He is holy, to follow His example in word and deed requires that we think as He thought, that the very attitude of our soul be like His. In position we do “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), but in practice, we still come far short. May God help us to cast down “imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,” and bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). HMM
Suffering is not optional. We might wish it were. We spend millions of dollars to avoid it, ignore it and get immunized for it, but we can never be immune from it.
We mostly think of suffering as negative. And much suffering is synonymous with the consequences of sin or ignorance. But sometimes good comes from pain and suffering. A child is born into the world through pain. When we get a speck of dirt in our eye, pain signals us to do something about it before it does damage. When we have a virus, the pain signals a need for rest or medication before the disease turns into something deadly.
Pain and suffering are inevitable. However, Peter tells us in 3:17 that since we are going to suffer, we are to suffer for doing right. We can choose what we suffer for. We can suffer because we are doing evil, or we can suffer to give life.
We can suffer as a result of stupidity. We can suffer as a result of sin. Or we can choose to suffer. We can suffer for speaking the gospel or defending it. We can suffer for doing the right thing even though we are mocked or misunderstood. We can suffer by biting back angry words when something unfair occurs to us. We can choose to suffer with others when they are hurting, and it forces us to pray, learn, act and minister.
Father: I pray that when I suffer — and it is inevitable that I will — I will suffer in doing the right and the good. If I suffer, let me do so with a contrite heart — a heart that desires to follow you.
The entire Bible is a product of the Holy Spirit, who is not only “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13), but “the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). The verb “to prophesy” (derived from Greek preposition pro and verb phemi) means “to speak forth before.” The preposition “before” in this use may mean 1) “in advance” and/or 2) “in front of.” Thus, “to prophesy” is a proper term to describe the proclamation of God’s Word as it forecasts events. It may also describe the declaration of God’s Word forthrightly, boldly, or confrontingly before a group or individual—telling forth God’s truth and will. So, in both respects, the Bible is prophetic: a Book that reveals God’s will through His Word and His works, as well as a Book that reveals God’s plans and predictions.
This text defines the witness or testimony of Jesus Himself as being synonymous with, or at the heart of, the spirit of prophecy. These words not only define Scripture; they also confine all utterances that claim to be true prophecy: Jesus Christ will be at the center of it all, as He is in the whole Bible. 1) The Old Testament exists to reveal Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10–12); and 2) the New Testament is inspired by the Holy Spirit for the same purpose (John 14:26; 16:13–15).