Time is Not Your Friend

1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”

For some people living on this earth, including some who profess faith in Jesus Christ, time is their idol, their treasure, their pride, their faithful servant to the end. They assume that time is on their side, that time is their friend, and that it will not let them down. So, they make their own plans without consulting God. They go on and on as though God is not speaking or as though he is paying no attention to what they are doing at all.

But they are testing God. They are testing fate. For none of us knows when will be our last hour. None of us knows if we will have the next minute let alone many more years to come. Yet they go on and on as though God’s word is not true, as though God will not judge all humankind according to our works. They willfully forget what the Scriptures teach regarding judgment and they just assume they will always have tomorrow.

But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. So, we are to make the best use of the time we do have on this earth. Not one of us should continue living the rest of the time we have on this earth for human and fleshly passions, but for the will of God. For, God did not give us life so that we would waste it away on earthly pleasures. He gave us life so we would give glory to God by how we live our lives for the pleasure of God.

So, because Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and so we would be delivered from our slavery (addiction) to sin and now serve him as slaves of righteousness, we are by faith to be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and to be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer under the control of sin but now under God’s control and command.

1 Peter 4:3 ESV

“For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.”

Oh, how I wish everyone agreed with this and lived as though it is true. So many people, including many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, are still living in sensuality, sexual immorality, adultery, fleshly passions, drunkenness (and/or intoxication to sin), orgies, drinking parties, and/or lawless idolatry. And then they are covering up their sins with lies, some of which they tell in advance and some which they tell after the fact, both to cover up their sins.

Even though many of them know what the Scriptures teach about those who live this way, they continue as though God’s word is not true and as though God is a liar. They say they believe in Jesus, and they say they believe the word of God but when “push comes to shove” that is not a reality in their lives. It is like they just ignore what the Scriptures teach and they make up their own reality which gives them permission to keep sinning.

And they may even go back and forth regarding what they believe as though they are on a teeter-totter undecided about what they truly believe. One moment they may be espousing the true gospel of grace, and the next they may be propagating the cheap grace gospel. They may change their beliefs regularly depending on how they are living at the time. And I have seen this done, so I know there are people who do this.

But this is not how genuine followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to live. Sin is to no longer be our practice to where we obey its lustful desires as a matter of life course, i.e. habitually. Living like this is to be in our past, not in our present. Now we are to be living godly and holy lives for the praise and glory of God and in obedience to his commands and that it might go well for us when Jesus returns to take his bride to be with him for eternity.

1 Peter 4:4-5 ESV

“With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

So, if you are someone who takes the Scriptures to heart and who obeys them, and if you have forsaken your life of sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways, you may get mocked, criticized, and maligned for being so serious-minded about God and the word of God. And you may get maligned because you do not participate with the worldly in what is worldly, morally corrupt, and spiritually devoid of anything pure and righteous.

But you should praise the Lord that you are able to suffer for the sake of his righteousness. You should thank the Lord that he brought you out of that life of sin and that he gave you a new life with purpose and that he is empowering you to live righteously. For none of us can endure this without him, and none of us can live pure lives without him. So, we give God all the glory for what he is doing in and through our lives and for the strength that he gives us to endure unjust treatment at the hands of our enemies.

Or, if you are someone who is taking life for granted and who is just assuming that time will always be on your side, please know that time is not your friend. For your life could be snuffed out at any moment. And one day you are going to have to give an account to God for the things done in the body, and Jesus is going to say to some of you that he never knew you and that you are to depart from him because you did not obey the Lord.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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