About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
In the midst of
grief and suffering imposed upon them by an anti-Christ regime the Apostle
Peter encouraged his Christian readers to be alert and of a both sober and
sound mind (1 Peter 4:7, 5:8). The
Greek word "nepho" that is translated into English as
"sober mind" suggests being free from external intoxication.
The Greek word "sophraneo" that is translated as
"sound mind" can be understood as a mind that has been
uncluttered from external influences through the process of salvation.
The believers to whom Peter was writing could not afford to have
the lure of their surrounding pagan culture intoxicate them.
They needed to be alert and sound minded as they maintained their
focus on God's will. Caving
into cultural correctness was not an option for them, as it is not an
option for us.
One aspect of
cultural correctness we need to be clear minded about is seen in Isaiah
5:20. Isaiah predicted God's
judgment on those who call evil good and good evil, and on those who call
light dark and dark light. Our
western world is doing just this since it has departed from any concept of
universal or absolute truth. What
I call tolerant relativism no longer maintains the Biblical distinction
between good and evil, and between light and dark.
My definition of good and evil may not be your definition, and
that's just fine today. Of
course, what is not fine is when those who adhere to fixed absolute truths
express these truths in what they say and how they live.
That's where tolerant relativism has its limits, and that's why
Peter's readers were suffering.
The disturbing fact
is that much of what we call church in the West is being influenced, even
intoxicated, by this unbiblical mindset.
Our individual and collective minds are becoming so cluttered with
cultural influences that we may not recognize God's response to our
culture's failure to uphold His universal truth.
God forbid that we become like Israelis in Isaiah's day who were so
intoxicated by their surrounding pagan culture that they failed to
recognize God's judgment when it crushed their nation into the ground. Like
the Christians in Peter's day, we cannot afford to cave into cultural
influences. We must be alert,
clear minded, and free from any external cultural intoxication lest we
fail to recognize God's judgment, that if it is not already upon us, can't
be far off.