In the Beginning

Jan/Feb 2014

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 Practical Lessons From the General Epistles 

In “The Doers Shall Be Blessed,” James exhorts us that being doers of the word means transforming our characters. Christians are called out of the world to change self here and now.

“Live Worthy of a Pilgrim” (1 Peter) calls to our minds that we are pilgrims in a foreign land. Thus, we are to abstain from fleshly lusts, to submit to every ordinance of man, and to suffer and accept trials in the same spirit as did Jesus.

“Faith and the End of the Age” (2 Peter) says, Faith is a foundation. We must build our character upon it. Lust is toxic. Only the character we build can we take into the resurrection.

“A Few Practical Lessons from 1 John” tells us that if we have seen the light, we must talk about the light, and live it. Whatever crowds out the Lord from our hearts is a detestable idol.

“A Letter of Encouragement Plus Warnings (2 John)” admonishes us to learn to dwell in unity with our brethren during our consecrated walk today if we would dwell in unity with our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, tomorrow and forever.

“Diotrephes — Dealing with a Difficult Brother” is 3 John’s warning to not be intimidated by a domineering leader who puts himself above the Apostles (or, in our case, above the Bible).

Jude gives us “DOs and DON’Ts for the Faithful.” Lust and pride cause many to fall. While we look for mercy for ourselves, we must learn to practice mercy toward others.

“Some Altered Scriptures” lists texts which were known to the earliest church, but which were altered progressively in later copying until, by the time of the Reformation, the original reading had become nearly unknown. Evidence for the various alterations is given, and a plausible reason for each is suggested.

Now, will we apply these lessons to ourselves? Will I change self from what I am to what I should be? Will others learn how to change self by remembering how I did it?

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