"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Kind of long today... but very cool. It confronts my problem with authority right up front and tells me to be subject to "powers" and "magistrates." :) Guess now I have to... :)
Anyway, this is great stuff.... speak evil of no-one... be gentle and meek towards people. that is cool... and requires some humility and vulnerability too. if we are attacked in whatever way, physically, verbally, emotionally... our principles, values, beliefs... many times our initial reaction is to throw up walls... or attack in return. it takes a lot of guts to be gentle and meek, and to really talk about things.
The third verse is kind of an extension of the second... we shouldn't speak evil of people who have made mistakes... which of us hasn't? just because you haven't made that particular one, doesn't mean that you can judge and label that person. I like also how it condemns hate here... I think we get so wrapped up hating things or people or whatever it is... that we spend a lot of the energy we should be using to love... to live... to embrace rather than reject.
Christ came and saved us from all of that, if we accept his gift... he taught us kindness and love, and even vulnerability... he who had all power and didn't *ever* have to be vulnerable.
And it wasn't anything that we have done that saved us, but his goodness. We'll be resurrected, no matter what... live forever. The part that we do have to work at is that other part about where we live, and who we live with. And that requires effort... but effort to accept Christ, and to do his will... so that when we come up short, as we always will... that he will make up the difference for us. And you know... that doesn't just happen once, at the judgement day.... but always, every day that we welcome him in and seek his assistance in helping us to resolve problems in our lives.
Our hope helps us... when we really believe that we can do it... and Christ's help and intervention matters immensely there... then we will put forth the effort and work our way to him. His yoke is easy, and his burden light... much lighter than the guilt and self-condemnation we heap upon ourselves freely.