Going into this week’s Greek translation assignment on 1 Peter 1:1-12 (which is quite difficult), I have been thinking a lot about this one question (which I think has been previously discussed on this website in the past):
How good is good enough?
It is a very simple question that begs an honest answer, and yet it is a question in which we often answer dishonestly and incorrectly. It is a question that applies to just about every situation and circumstance in our lives. Whether it be about going into vocational ministry, obedience to parents, grades in school, dating / courting / marriage relationships, as well as our salvation and standing before God — we all ask ourselves at one point or another, “Am I good enough for _____?”I have often found myself answering this question with, “No — I am not good enough for that yet. I am not mature enough yet, not holy enough yet, not learned enough yet, not obedient enough yet, and not ‘ready’ for this right now!” And thus, I delay whatever it is that I was intent on doing, and delay it I might, until finally I think I am “better” or “ready”. We now have put a huge burden on our own shoulders, trying to please ourselves, to satisfy the ‘good enough’ bank of others around us, or appease our Heavenly Father. Soon enough (if we do this for a long duration of time), we will find ourselves unable to move or do anything of significance, because we realize that we’re chasing after a goal of perfection that can we can never reached. In this situation, we have gotten ourselves into the endless cycle of the pursuit of perfection by works righteousness — a cycle that has no exit.However, I do not think the Scriptures could support that answer to this question. It seems that the canon of the Bible says that we are never ever “good enough” for anything before our Holy LORD Almighty. Left alone by ourselves, if God only took into consideration who we are and what we have done, are doing and will ever do — we can never be “good enough”. There is no good within us, at least not in terms of being pleasing to God. As sinners, we are both unable to do anything that pleases God, and unwilling to obey His commands. Certainly, we know this is true of our salvation — we are imperfect human beings who can contribute absolute nothing for our salvation! Even the faith and trust we put in Christ is a gift from him, an ability to trust which the Spirit gave us when He made us alive in, with and through Jesus Christ. Everything we have, and anything we could ever accomplish — especially in terms of obedience — is a gift of God. It is God himself who has caused us to be born again to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading!
So then, how shall we walk the road of our lives with this in mind?
Well, we certainly can no longer live by works as Christians — we ought to live and think and make decisions in life by faith. Every time this question comes into our minds, we must focus on and trust in the finished work of Christ — the redemption that He has accomplished and applied to our lives! In every situation in which we think we are not yet good enough to (say, go to seminary), we must preach the Gospel to ourselves and remember that it is only by the glorious grace of Christ that we can do any and all things. Hopefully, with this in mind day by day, morning by morning, and night by night, we would stop trying and starting dying to ourselves, and moreover, press on by living everyday to the glory of God in Christ!So onto 1 Peter 1:1-12. Here is what the ESV Literary Study Bible begins by saying:
Epistolary opening [ 1:1???12 ]. Following the conventional salutation of sender, recipients, and ???grace and peace??? prayer, the writer launches into a lyric equivalent of what is usually a section of thanksgiving in NT epistles. Writing in a flowing syntax and elevated vocabulary, Peter uses the rhetorical form of a blessing to rehearse with ecstatic feeling the riches that believers possess in Christ on the basis of his sufferings and death (vv. 3???9). Having thus rehearsed the riches of grace, Peter branches out into the related thought that the OT prophets who prophesied of this grace in Christ were serving not themselves but NT believers, who have the fuller revelation of what Christ has accomplished (vv. 10???12).
1 Peter 1:1-12
1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:May grace and peace be multiplied to you.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith???more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire???may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Now I just need to develop a Thought-Flow Diagram of this passage from the original Greek for Thursday’s class!