Monday Reverb – 24April2023




The theme this week is receiving salvation’s new orientation.

The related passages are …  Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 • Acts 2:14a, 36-41 • 1 Peter 1:17-23 • Luke 24:13-35

  • The call to worship Psalm reflects on the psalmist’s experience of deliverance and his offering of himself to live a life of devotion in thankful response.
  • The reading from Acts records the final section of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost where he urges repentance and baptism as a response fitting to receiving forgiveness.
  • The text from 1 Peter is a reminder to those who have already been saved by the blood of Christ to live accordingly.
  • The Gospel reading from Luke recounts the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus who opens the hearts of two disciples, who at first did not recognize him, prompting them to return to Jerusalem to share the story of their encounter with the risen Lord.


Acts 2:36-38 (ESV)  Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”  41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  


There are 2 ways that “for” can be understood …

1.  as “so that”

  • What are they demonstrating for? …
  • “They are demonstrating so that they can get a raise of pay.”

2.  as “because of”

  • What are they protesting for? …
  • “They are protesting because the police killed a defenceless man.”


MOST VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE SAY “for the forgieness/remission of sins)

  • King James Bible
    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • English Standard Version
    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


SOME/MOST SEE “for” AS MEANING “in order to receive”  

  • GOD’S WORD® Translation  
    v.38 … Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven.  Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
  • Good News Translation  
    v.38 … Peter said to them, “Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.  
  • New Revised Standard Version  
    v.38 … Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


  • Weymouth New Testament  
    v.38 … “Repent,” replied Peter, “and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, with a view to the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Amplified Bible  
    v.38 … And Peter said to them, “Repent [change your old way of thinking, turn from your sinful ways, accept and follow Jesus as the Messiah] and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


  • The difference in interpretation is because of a difference in understanding.
  • The difference in understanding is because of a difference in THEOLOGY.
  • A theological perspective will give rise to a theological bias.
  • A different theological perspective will give rise to a different theological BIAS.
  • One’s theological perspective will determine (in very large part) how he/she interprets a passage or a word in a passage.
  • IF you see the forgiveness of your sins as something in the future … as something that depends on you and what you do … THEN you will interpret “for” as “so that”
  • IF, however, you see forgiveness of your sins as something in the past … as something God has already done (without your permission) … THEN you will interpret “for” as “because of”


  • The latter, less popular view … that the “for” means “because of” … that a person should be baptized because he believes his sins have been forgiven.
  • Note their comment (on their equipper website)  re: Acts 2:36-41 …
        • The reading from Acts records the final section of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost where he urges repentance and baptism as a response fitting to receiving forgiveness.
  • NOTE:  “repentance and baptism” do not cause forgiveness … Rather, “response and baptism” should be seen as a response to receiving forgiveness (or having received forgiveness).
  • One does not respond before something happens … One responds after something has happened.
  • God did not wait for us to repent before He forgave us … God forgave us BEFORE we repented (see Romans 5:6-11).

Romans 5:6-11  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  


  • Title:  Born Again
  • Presenter:  Greg Williams, GCI President
  • Keynote Passage:  1 Peter 1:3-5

From the transcript . . .

As a Christian, you are probably familiar with the metaphor of being “born again.”  Jesus used it when talking to Nicodemus to try to explain the radical difference that one must undergo to enter the kingdom of God.  Peter later used the same image to encourage a church that was being treated as exiles because of their faith in Christ.

The image of being born again works on both fronts. Certainly, entering the kingdom of God is like being born again as one becomes a new creation filled with life.  But have you ever considered that this metaphor also speaks to the experience of believers being exiled from their old way of life?

Peter did.  When he began his letter to a church that was being ostracized because of their faith, he chose to use the “born again” image to encourage them not to conform to their former ways of living

Let’s read how he uses this image in these verses.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”   1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)  

Did you catch the picture?  Being “born again” involves being born into something – “a living hope.”   It also includes being born out of something – “from the dead.”  Like a newborn baby, the new life it has after birth will be completely different than the life it had in the womb.  Can you imagine a baby trying to live as if it is still in the womb?  That would be nonsensical. 

But, as Christians, we live with the constant temptation to return to a life that conforms to our old ways of moving and breathing.  Especially since we are surrounded by a culture that resists and even persecutes those that live in such a way that challenges and calls into question the status quo.  Being a Christian in this world is to live in exile.  We are no longer at home in the womb of this world.  

But that does not mean we do not belong.  We belong to our heavenly Father, and we belong to a new family of brothers and sisters who live together in his love.  Our new life of freedom lived in the light is beyond compare to the dark and restrictive life we once had.  

So, if you sometimes feel like an exile in this world … take courage and live in hopeIt comes with the territory of being born again.  




Living In Exile

1 Peter 1:17-23 (ESV)

Today marks the third Sunday of our Easter season celebration.  Easter day is now in the rearview mirror, yet we still celebrate.  In fact, even after the season of Easter is complete, the church will continue to celebrate the risen Lord every Sunday hereafter.  And that is as it should be on account that Jesus’ resurrection has changed everything.  There is now a new creation, the old has passed away.  We cannot go on living as if Easter did not occur.  And that is what Peter will aim to remind us of today.  Even as believers in the risen Lord, we need constant reminders that Jesus is alive as Lord and Savior.

We encounter a constant barrage of messages from our experience in this world that tell us the lie that Jesus is still in the tomb, and his Father has abandoned us as well.  We are tempted to believe the lies of the guards who circulated the message that Jesus was still dead.  We must remember that they were paid off by those who were threatened by Jesus and his Gospel.  They were paid handsomely to accuse the Lord’s disciples of stealing Jesus’ body in order to create a false narrative.

The guards of power and control were also at work when Peter wrote the letter we will read from, and these guards have been repeating this pattern up to the present day.  So, we would be naïve to think that a single celebration of Jesus’ resurrection would immune our ears from such lies.  These lies often speak to confirm our experience of being exiles, left to find our own way in the world as if Jesus was no longer with us, and his Father had moved on to live without his dear Son.  But it is indeed a lie.  The truth we will be reminded of again today is that Jesus has risen, and we belong to his FatherWe are not alone, we are not abandoned, and we are not without hope.


A bit of context

Peter is writing a letter to scattered Christians who live in Asia Minor under the control of Rome.  The letter begins by identifying these people as those who were formerly Pontians, Galatians, Cappadocians, Asians, and Bithynians.  These groups all once had their identities embedded in the very strong social, political, and religious ties to those regions, and now were trying to live under Roman rule.

The recipients of Paul’s letter are now Christians, and had severed these regional ties, choosing to no longer participate in the cultural expectations of paying homage to multiple deities, and more costly, choosing to renounce emperor worship which was encouraged by Rome in these societies.  We could rightly label them as a minority of minorities.  When Peter addresses them as “exiles of the Dispersion” he was speaking directly to their very real status and experience of living under foreign rule as well as living as Christians.  By doing this he not only speaks directly to their real situation, but he also speaks to all of us who feel out of place, living as strangers in whatever context we find ourselves in.  Feeling like an exile is common to all people even when you belong to the dominant culture or in-group.  There is still a longing within us that urges us to seek deeper belonging.

We seem to know at some level that we are made for more, that we belong to something, or someone, that we have not yet fully encountered.  So, we search, desperately seeking approval, acceptance, and belonging in the next circle we think will give us a meaningful identity.

As Christians, we face a paradoxWe have found the source of our belonging in Jesus Christ, who has brought us into his fellowship with the Father by the Spirit.  We know the mystery of our being, that we were created to belong forever in the life and love of Father, Son, Spirit, and by grace this is given to us in Jesus alone.  However, this truth is not received well in a world still bent against God, a world resistant to grace, settling for its own self-defined identity and self-determined destiny.

In this world, the evil one is still shooting his poisoned darts of lies that tell us we are not loved, that we are not good enough, that our past forever taints our future.  Once the poison from these lies sets in, we begin to live as if the lie is true, treating others in ways that conform more to the ways of this present evil age than to the Kingdom of God in which we now belong.  Peter knows this so he writes to remind these exiled believers of who they really belong to, encouraging them to live out the truth of their belonging in ChristIt’s a reminder we also will all need to resist the lies and the temptation after Easter to return to living as if we do not belong to Christ and his Father by the Spirit.

Peter will give these believers some ethical instructions later in his letter, but in this section, he is going to remind them of the reality of their community in Christ – a good place for most letters or sermons to begin.

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. (1 Peter 1:17 ESV)

Peter knows that these believers live in an environment that no longer feels like home, even in their own households.  He knows they will be tempted to search for a sense of identity and belonging which will pressure them to return and conform to old patterns, attitudes, customs, and behaviors that belonged to their life before conversion.

It is easy to return to what we know when feeling alone and isolated.  Isolation will tempt us to conform to the dominant group in order to gain a sense of belonging, even when that means going against our own values and convictions.  We want something of normalcy, something that seems familiar.

What Peter wants them (and us) to see, is that we belong to a new family.  He reminds them that they belong to the “Father who judges impartially.”  Obeying one’s father was a high expectation in Greco-Roman society.  Peter wants them to see their true Father, their heavenly Father who gave them life, and therefore their allegiance and obedience belong to him.  Peter has already established that the Father is holy, and on that foundation, they are to be holy.

He is not giving them a raw command to do what God tells them.  He is grounding their call to holiness in the character of the one they now belong to, their holy Father.  This is who they belong to, and therefore they can conform to him rather than to the pagan culture around them.

What’s more, Peter reminds them that their Father judges impartiallyHe does not show favoritism to anyone.  This was unlike the Romans, who would give special treatment to those who were citizens, while ostracizing and disadvantaging those who were not, or were not “born” citizens.  In contrast, the judgment the Father has for his children is also the same judgment he has for the Romans and everyone else.  He is the true Father worthy of worship and these believers belonged to him.  Peter can go on to say from this reality that they should conduct their lives with “fear” while they live as exiles.

What does Peter mean to “conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile?”  That’s a question we should answer for ourselves in a time where Christians in more and more countries are considered the “fringe” group, the outsiders, and even the troublemakers of the world.  This is certainly the environment the early church found themselves in.  Considering this environment, we may live in “fear” of the dominant culture and their authorities and be tempted to bow down in worship by conforming to their ways in order to avoid the shaming and persecution that could come to us if we don’t.

But Peter reminds us that we live in “fear” because we belong to the Father.  This is not the same kind of fear that we may have of those who aim to do us harmThis is a reverent fear that takes seriously who God is.  Our heavenly Father is the true ruler.  This means believers can embrace a lifestyle that makes one an exile in this present evil world because they know they belong to the only world that will last, God’s Kingdom.  The behaviors and ways of thinking that were once common to our old way of life must now be seen as foreign and outside the borders of the new Kingdom we are brought into.  There is now a deeper belonging that comes to the believer.  We belong to that which will never fade away and which has always been.  This is a lasting and life-giving belonging.

Living in this kind of reverent fear will enable us to be the witnesses we are called to be, even in a dark world.  Christians do not withdraw from the dominant cultures in which they live, but they can engage in them while living according to the holiness they have in Christ.  This may make us stick out like a sore thumb, but it enables us to point to Christ, who is not only our hope, but the hope of the whole world.

Peter will go further to remind us of some other things we should know.

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21 ESV)

Peter reminds us that Christ’s blood has the power to redeem and liberate us from our past, empowering us to live out the new life we have in Christ.  We are not being called to live on some form of willpower.  That belongs to our old futile ways, from which we have been “ransomed.”  And the ways of this world are indeed “futile.”  We are in a whole new situation now.  Peter uses a comparison to show the difference.  Our “futile ways” were inherited from our “forefathers,” not our heavenly Father.  Our heavenly Father predates our forefathers by an eternity.

In Greco-Roman culture, one’s tradition and way of life gained weight by being grounded in antiquity.  The further in the past your way of life could be traced, the more legitimate and substantiated it was considered.  So, Peter goes all the way back before creation by grounding our inheritance in Jesus who was “foreknown before the foundation of the world.”  Not only that, but he also compares the price of “ransom” between “silver or gold” and “the precious blood of Christ.”

In the society Peter was writing in, it was a common understanding that the world was invaded by all sorts of real and perceived evil powers and spirits.  So much so that people would often wear amulets, presumably made of silver or gold, to protect against these powers and to bring good fortune.  Peter, making the comparison of silver or gold as “perishable things” with that of the blood of Christ, has invited us to think differently about how we live our lives in exileLiving in the reverent fear of God with an awareness of the precious price paid for our redemption, we can live free from the fear that tempts us to resort to the various means of protecting ourselves, or insuring our future by placating to human or supernatural enemies.  We know who is in charge and how valuable we are to our Father.  As the Apostle Paul stated more succinctly, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Considering all this, Peter wants to affirm that their “faith and hope are in God.”  That will make all the difference living as exiles.  It is through Jesus and his resurrection, according to Peter, that has made us “believers in God.”  Notice Peter’s focus on being a “believer.”  It is “in God.”  Everyone is a believer one way or another, but it is what or who we put our belief in that really mattersThanks to the Father’s plan from the beginning to bring us into fellowship with him through his Son, we now can be “believers in God” as we come to know him as our loving Father who will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Peter will now leave us with these concluding words:

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.  (1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV)

In light of the disruption that will take place for believers who dismiss the ways of the world as “futile,” Peter concludes by using familial and affectionate terms to describe what it means to live as exiles.  Believing in God the Father means we know we are not orphaned or homeless.   We belong to the belonging that exists in the Triune God from all eternity.  This belonging is one of purity and love – a purity and love that will never fade as it finds its source in the “living and abiding word of God.” Since we are “born again” into this reality, we can turn and renounce our former ways and embrace a life that is characterized as “brotherly love.”

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we belong to the same Father, and we can love one another with the same love he lavishes on us. In this way we belong to the only belonging that lasts and has meaning. As we live this out in our relationships with one another, we glorify the Father and participate in his calling of others to join us in exile. This is why Jesus tells us to love others as he has loved us. Think about this as you go through the week. Am I loving others as Jesus loves me? And let’s pray, Lord, help me be the disciple you have called me to be, so I can join you in sharing your love with others.





(A video about the transformation of the Worldwide Church of God)


From the summary introduction …

“In the mid 1990s, the Worldwide Church of God, which began as a religious cult founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, underwent a massive upheaval.  At great personal cost, but with an eye to even greater spiritual gain, they renounced their heretical teachings and embraced biblical, evangelical Christianity, and moved from the bondage of legalism to freedom in the grace of Jesus Christ.  The leadership and the laypeople of the transformed Worldwide Church of God tell the incredible story in their own words.  Their moving narrative will bring deep encouragement to believers; and those in bondage to cults, legalism, and heretical movements will find hope and good news in this inspiring story.”   

Order the DVD at








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