“All of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult, but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you are called for this, so you can inherit a blessing.” ( 1 Peter 3: 8 – 9 )
Peter calls us to hold to sound doctrine and so be “like-minded;” but he also calls us to be “sympathetic,” recognizing that on some less critical matters, we may disagree with one another yet with understanding. We decide to be “sympathetic.” Peter calls us to “be compassionate and humble.” Often pride is what separates us from one another. We claim to be closer to Christ than another, and so build a wall — our spiritual pride destroying Christian fellowship.
Sometimes, we even go so far as to insult one another. And, we often pretend that it is because we have a special knowledge to which another Christian is not privy. Sometimes, we go so far as to call another Christian “evil.” In doing so, we “pay back evil for evil.”
Peter calls us to “love believers” and to “give a blessing”: actions which are completely contrary to pride and revenge. As we give blessings, Peter reminds us that we then “can inherit a blessing.”
As Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast Church, said in a recent sermon, “Blessing follows obedience.”
Paul commands you to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 12 – 13)
God works in you because His Holy Spirit dwells within you as within a temple. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because your body is God’s dwelling place, how can you unite yourself with those who hate God? You can’t. For what you love, that person despises.
Paul says not to be yoked with unbelievers for it is an uneven bonding. “Don’t you know,” says Paul, “that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you are bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)
Seek someone within the body of Christ to join with you, knowing that God is your primary focus, that He strengthens your relationship and literally makes it holy.
Yoked with a believer, you know that both of you have God at work within “to desire and to work out His good purpose” for your lives. You both must continue to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” lest you fall away from one another, fall into lust for another, and dishonorably into unfaithfulness and adultery.
But thanks be to God, you are not one to fall away. You are the Lord’s and His power is at work within you. Rely upon Him; He takes you to the prize — a holy relationship with another Christian.