“Everyone Who Believes” ( Acts 10: 43, NIV ) by Carley Evans

Peter testifies,”But God shows me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Cornelius testifies, “Suddenly a man in shining clothes stands before me and says, ‘Cornelius, God hears your prayer and remembers your gifts to the poor.” (Acts 10:31) God tells Cornelius to send for Peter; and Peter comes to a man — he once considered impure and unclean — in obedience to God’s call.

Peter testifies, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34) Peter tells us, “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His Name.” (Acts 10:43)

“The gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out even on the Gentiles.” (Acts 10:45) Therefore Peter says, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 10:47)

“Therefore,” commands Jesus, “go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

“The Gospel In Which You Stand” (1 Corinthians 15: 1, NIV) by Carley Evans

Take your stand on and in the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. Take your stand on realizing you are unfit to untie and re-tie His sandals. Take your stand on Jesus washing your feet. You do not wash His.

Jesus tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part in Me.” When Peter hears this, he demands that Jesus wash “my hands and my head as well!” But Jesus says, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.” (John 13:8,9,10)

“Do you understand,” asks Jesus, “what I have done for you?” (John 13:12)

I don’t think we do, at least not fully. I don’t think we understand the abundant life of which Jesus speaks; or the command He gives that “[we] also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) I’m not sure we even understand that “no servant is greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than the One who sent him.” (John 13:16) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus says, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:13pm

“Make Every Effort” ( 2 Peter 1: 5 – 8, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

For the reason that we have escaped “the corruption that is in the world” and have been allowed to “share in the divine nature”, we are to “make every effort to supplement [our] faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

At the top of this pinnacle of qualities inherent in the Lord Jesus Christ is love. If you look at these qualities as rungs on a ladder we are climbing, then love is the top rung and faith is the bottom rung. The bottom rung is the foundation; the top rung is the goal. Without faith in Christ, none of the other qualities are possible for “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” And, “if these qualities are [ours] and are increasing, they will keep [us] from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8)

Usefulness and fruitfulness are natural results of our escape from the world and of our sharing in the divine nature. Each of these qualities reflect our Lord who dwells within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. Our effort is akin to looking in a mirror, seeing His reflection, and remembering what He looks like. The more successful we are in this task, the more we love.

Without a doubt, the perfect mirror of the Lord and of His qualities is His Word. As we remain in His Word, know His Word, and put His Word into the practice of our lives, we remember what He looks like. We love because He first loved us.

“Partakers Of The Divine Nature” ( 2 Peter 1: 4, NIV ) by Carley Evans

How is it that we, who are called by God into His Kingdom, are able to “participate in the divine nature?” Is it due to something inherent in us? Or, is it due to God’s generosity? The answer is obvious — nothing we are, nothing we do explains our “escape [from] the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Only the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God adequately explains our sharing in the divine being. All other explanations pale by comparison. Avoidance of sin, fervent worship, self-sacrifice, martyrdom — none of these fully meet God’s requirements for being divine.

We are provided with “His divine power [which] gives us everything we need for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) “[We] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9) We are partakers in the divine nature simply because although “once [we] had not received mercy, […] now [we] have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)

God’s mercy is the reason we share in His nature. “In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for [us], who through faith are shielded by God’s power.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Our faith guarantees our inheritance — not because we generate that faith — but because of the shield of God’s power. God shields us “from the corruption in the world” and seals us for “the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5)

“Ready With The Hope That Is In Us” ( 1 Peter 3: 15, NEB ) by Carley Evans

“Do not be perturbed, but hold the Lord Christ in reverence in your hearts. Be always ready with your defense whenever you are called to account for the hope that is in you, but make that defense with modesty and respect.”

Peter’s words should sting those of us who malign others, who hold others in contempt, call them names, speak ill of them before the Lord, throw stones at them. This is not the defense Peter commands us to have “always ready.” Our defense is to be an “account” of “the hope that is in [us]” and is to be made “with modesty and respect.”

Think of Stephen’s attitude as he explains to the High Priest and members of the Council the reason for his faith. He begins by calling them “My brothers, fathers of this nation, listen to me.” (Acts 7:1) He definitely speaks the truth to them, but with patience. At the end of his detailed explanation, he speaks of their stubborn hearts and of their betrayal and murder of “the Righteous One.” (Acts 7:52) This truth does indeed “touch them on the raw” so that “they grind their teeth with fury.” (Acts 7:54) However, overall, Stephen remains polite and reasonable until the very end of his life, at which point he is stoned to death. As he is dying, Stephen prays, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60)

Think of Philip’s gentle attitude as he speaks of the “good news of Jesus” to the eunuch. (Acts 8:36). Notice that Philip “starts from [the] passage” that “he is reading.” (Acts 8:36) When asked, Philip gives an account of the hope he has and he does this “with modesty and respect.” The eunuch is appreciative. He sees “some water. ‘Look, here is water: what is there to prevent my being baptized?'” (Acts 8:37)

These great men of God remain reasonable toward outsiders. They each speak the truth in love; as should we.

“No Doubt In Your Heart” ( Mark 11: 22 – 23, NIV ) by Carley Evans

” ‘Have faith in God,’ answers Jesus” when Peter points out the fig tree withered due to being cursed by the Lord. Jesus continues, ” ‘ I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.’ ”

Having complete faith in God, total trust in Him, total commitment to His authority leads to “impossible” prayers, requests, happenings. However, reading Jesus’ statement about commanding a mountain to throw itself into the sea results, in my mind, in incredulity — for one thing, why would I want a mountain to move into the sea? What would be the point of such a request? Sometimes, I think Jesus may be saying, “Yes, you can ask for such a worthless thing as moving a mountain into the sea and it will be done if you have no doubts;  but remember, if God is willing to do such a valueless act for you, at your request, imagine what better acts He is willing to do for you and through you.”

James says, “When [you] ask, [you] must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) You will not receive anything of God if doubt is harbored in your heart.

When you ask, ask with right motives. With faith in your heart, it will be done for you.

“An Obligation To Love” ( Romans 15: 1-2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”


“Therefore,” says Paul, “let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)


If we are strong, we may be able to genuinely say “that nothing is unclean in itself.” But if we are weak, we may find our conscience pricked by that very act another finds acceptable, perhaps even finds suitable. If we are weak, we may protest against the other. If we are strong, we are to bear up under this protest. In a sense we are to deny what we know to be true –“that nothing is unclean in itself” — and avoid participating in that activity in the face of the one who is weak. In this way, we (who are strong) will not harm the one who is weak.


James say, “Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!” (James 5:9)


Peter says, “Now finally, 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 that you can inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)


“Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)


“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

“An Ironclad Contract” ( 1 Peter 3: 18, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“For Christ suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.”


Sins are paid for only one time – not repeatedly. Sins are paid once for all as the Righteous One dies for the unrighteous. We who are sinners are brought to God once – by Christ’s sacrificial death and by His resurrection from the dead. Like any well-formulated, ironclad contract, our salvation is settled.


“Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11) The only person who is righteous, who fulfills the entire law is Jesus. “Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.” (Galatians 3:10)


Now anyone who claims to do everything written in the book of the law is self-deceived. Jesus says He comes to fulfill the law not destroy it. (Matthew 5:17) He says, “not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18) Jesus’ ability to satisfy God is enough for us — we add nothing to Christ’s finished work. Our contract with God is unbreakable – signed with the blood of our Savior and sealed with His Holy Spirit.

“Called Out Of Darkness” ( 1 Peter 2: 9, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who calls you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”


God “calls us out of darkness.” His call is irrevocable. When He calls, He makes us “a people of His possession.” We become “a chosen race.”


“God’s love is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.” (Romans 5: 5) Through the Holy Spirit we become “a holy nation.” And this transformation from darkness to “His marvelous light” occurs “while we are still helpless.” (Romans 5: 6) We are enemies of God when we “are reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Romans 5: 10)


If God does this for us “while we are enemies…then how much more, having been reconciled, are we saved by His life!” (Romans 5: 10)


And since we are indeed “saved by His life,” we raise our voices in praise of Christ — to whom we owe everything. Let us be grateful to our God, for He is merciful beyond our imaginings. He “calls [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

“How Much More Are We Saved” ( Isaiah 53: 12, NIV ) by Carley Evans

“For He bears the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Jesus bears our sins in His body on the tree; and He lives forever, seated at the right hand of God the Father, continually interceeding for us.

This ongoing intercession of Jesus Christ is our salvation. Without His interventions on our behalf, we would not be acceptable to God the Father.

“Since we are now justified by His blood, how much more are we saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we are God’s enemies, we are reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, are we saved through His life!” (Romans 5: 9 – 10)

This is why Peter is able to say, “Perfect love casts out fear.” No need for fear exists now that Jesus sits on His throne. He has conquered death; and we are made acceptable. Fear has to do with judgment. For us, judgment is complete, having occurred on the Cross.