About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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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. 


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