A rather odd instruction resulting from a bible study group I am in. As we studied the introduction to this book, we came to a point that required a simple answer. We were well into the introduction when the question was posed… “at this point in our study what would be a simple description of the state of things for these people and this time?” The one I liked best was an old cliche of back in the day… “the worlds going to hell in a handbasket.” Thus the blog this week is to encourage you to “stay out of the basket.” For a long period of time as the early church came into its own Christians and those who professed their faith in Christ were not on the radar of the Roman Empire…they were classified as being religiones licitae, one of the permitted religions. As was the custom at that time Roman toleration was very wide, and that any religion which did not affect public morality and civil order was certain to be permitted. In the early days of Christianity Judaism was considered a religio licita, at that time the Romans did not know the difference between Judaism and Christianity. Christianity was under no threat because of the lack of knowledge that was available to Rome. The Romans just assumed it was a cult within Judaism. Nero changed all that with some help from some Jews. At first Nero blamed the fires in Rome on the Christians…then discovering that Judaism and Christianity were different, via some influential Jews, he then pursued a different way. This Christian cult was then declared a new and separate religion. The result was that Christianity became at once a prohibited religion, and immediately every Christian by definition automatically became an outlaw. Bible scholars agree that 1 Peter was written to people who were living in troubled times and facing the prospect of worse times to come. They are encouraged to stay steady in their endurance and to remain pure in their character. One thing we can note that the second coming of Christ is in the very front of their concerns and it was believed to be soon. In the first few verses there are a few things right off that will keep the Christian out of the basket. The scriptures listed are from 1 Peter unless noted otherwise:
Those who keep the faith will be saved from the coming judgment (1:7).
Christians are to hope for the grace which will come at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:13).
The day of visitation is expected (2:12).
The end of all things is at hand (4:7). Those who suffer with Christ will also rejoice with Christ when his glory is revealed (4:13).
I find that sometimes you can be overwhelmed by scripture and on this particular blog subject that would be an understatement. The first point to be made here is…“the worlds going to hell in a handbasket” needs no great number of words to justify this as being true…a bit crude…but true from the Christian point of view.
The second being the Day of Judgement…
The thing we sometimes miss in my opinion is that this Day of Judgement will be all-inclusive, the earth its people and all within it will be accountable.
Again, you could fill a lot of pages with the sins of man but it is just simpler to ask…have you lived a Godly life, Christ led, filled with the Holy Spirit and faithful submission to His will?
Third point, That Basket that is headed to hell. How do you stay out of it? 2 Timothy 4: 1-5
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
To close this blog I refer you back to last week…
11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
It matters not at what point this world is…Prepare yourself…Stay Out of The Basket
Life is Good