Christian Privilege in the 21st Century

 

As I sit in front of my workspace in my dining area, I have next to me three study Bibles, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Preaching by Timothy Keller, Conscience by Naselli and Crowley, not to mention the plethora of digital resources I have on my kindle, logos and olive tree apps. Christians with these resources are a privileged people in the 21st century. I was reminded of this as I began teaching through 1 Peter in Sunday School, check out this word from 1 Peter,

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 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. (1 Peter 1:10-12)

Peter has been praising God for a salvation to a living hope, a salvation which is caused and initiated by God. Peter extols the blessings of God for taking sinners and making them heirs and providing an inheritance which is eternal and kept in heaven. Worshipping God for a Gospel which saves sinners but also preserves salvation, guarded through faith until he comes back. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Peter 1:3-5). Peter then transitions here in verse 10 and says “concerning this salvation” and notice what he tells his 1st century audience.

A Spirit Inspired Old Testament

There is a cloud of witnesses in the Bible from Genesis to Malachi who pointed to a grace, a Gospel, a Messiah. These witnesses foretold and forthtold, prophesied and proclaimed, this mystery. These Old Testament witnesses searched, inquired, longed for this grace, this Gospel, this Messiah. The Spirit of Christ inspired these witnesses to predict the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. Why? Peter tells his first century audience and all New Testament believers, these cloud of witnesses were not serving themselves, they were serving you.

What a privilege, we have the recorded and preserved faithfulness of God written from Genesis to Malachi, for us. We can see the grand plan of God unfold through the pages of the Old Testament from the creation to the fall, then God’s plan of redemption working through a people to bring forth grace, a Gospel, a Messiah not only for the Jews but to the world. All of this recorded and preserved for us, what a privilege.

A Spirit Inspired New Testament

Peter continues to tell his 1st century audience, you not only have the Old Testament witness pointing to grace, a Gospel and a Messiah, you also have Spirit filled Apostles explaining, announcing, and proclaiming the grace, Gospel and Messiah which was foretold in the Old Testament. These men went around making disciples of all nations and baptizing them, starting churches, developing leaders, writing letters. These apostles were accused of turning the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6) with their message of grace, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter was telling his 1st century audience what a privilege you have.

Christians with access to the Bible have it better than the 1st century audience Peter was talking to. Peter’s 1st century audience had New Testament preaching, a few letters from Peter and Paul, we have the whole testimony, the sixty six books of the Bible. We have Genesis through Revelation. We have a written record of the Old and New Testaments preserved for us , Spirit inspired books explaining, announcing, and proclaiming grace, the Gospel, and Jesus the Messiah. We see the whole story in various formats, and for most of us, at anytime we want.

Christian Heritage

If the Bible we have now is all we had, that would be enough, but that is not all we have. We have the history of those who suffered under Roman persecution, the disciples of the Apostles. We have the church fathers and records of their wrestling with defining important Christian teachings. We have the works of Augustine, John Calvin, John Owen, John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George whitfield. I could go on my Iphone and listen to John Piper, John MacArthur, HB Charles Jr. I can open my feedly app and read articles from David Prince on religious liberty or Russell Moore on how to engage culture. I can open my kindle app and read a commentary on 1 Peter. What a privilege I have to be informed by the Word and those who dedicate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What Must I Do?

Peter is talking about Old Testament and New Testament preachers of Grace who leveraged their lives for the message of the Gospel for the sake of others. Should we do anything less? Here are some practical application points for us:

  1. Become a student of the Bible. Recognize what a privilege we  have before us to study the Word of God.
  2. Share the Bible. We would not have the treasure of the Bible if others and especially the Lord didn’t think it was worth sharing. Share it with your family, friends, neighbors, church members, etc.
  3. Recognize that there are some in the 21st century who do not have the same privilege as you, to have a Bible, have a Bible in their language, Bible Study resources, Bible study programs and apps. There are organizations out there trying to provide resources like Crossway, The Gospel Coalition, Wycliffe to name a few. Consider donating to organizations like these.

Until Next Time

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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