“You who are kept by the power of God “
(I Peter 1:5)
Consistency has never come naturally to me, so if my life stays on course, you’d better believe something larger is making it happen.
Like a lot of guys, Great Start; Poor Finish might have been what they put on my tombstone, if not for those amazing two words “But God.” If I have been consistent in anything, much less something as critical as living a life separated to Him, that’s one of those Red Sea parting, manna falling, sun standing still-type miracles. The type that are, in short, God’s department.
So said Peter. “Kept by the power of God”, he notes, describing us. In Chapter 1 verse 5 of his First Epistle, he chose an interesting word for kept: phroureo, which means, according to Strong’s concordance:
“To protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight.”
You gotta love that. You and I are kept two ways – hostile invaders are kept out and, if our own rebellion makes it necessary, we ourselves are kept in.
God has posted military guards to keep watch for the countless invaders trying to trip me up. Wanna tempt me, discourage me, attack me? Talk to the guards; you have to go through them first. I’m kept.
They can get pretty aggressive with me as well. Wanna run, Joe? Escape your responsibilities? Step outside the prescribed boundaries? Sorry, Mr. Dallas, you can’t leave. We have orders. Stubborn, those boys. They’ll keep me whether I’m screaming for help, or kicking and screaming. Either way, I’m kept.
I won’t wade into the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate over “once saved, always saved” since that’s an issue I haven’t fully settled myself. But I do know that I have free will, and much of my life has been determined by how I used it.
Still, if free will alone determined whether or not I’d serve God, faithfully and with longevity, then I also know hands down that my stats would look awfully different than they do today. I was baptized 47 years ago; recommitted 34 years ago; married 31 years ago.
Those number wouldn’t come naturally to a guy who, in his earlier 6 years of backslidden wandering, lived at 9 different addresses, held 10 different jobs, and had no less than 7 live in relationships along with multiple affairs.
Like I said, left to my own devices, my stats would look awfully different.
So while I’m not sure whether you’re in or out of God’s grace apart from any choice of your own, I do know this: You’re foreknown (Romans 8:29) you’re chosen (John 15:16) you’re tenaciously held by Christ (John 10:28) and you’re kept. That much we can all joyfully agree on.
I don’t get it, but I’ll revel in it, and I know I’m not reveling alone.
Have a great day. Nice being kept with you. Say hi to the guards for me.