Section C: God’s Truth and You
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. A true Christian is unable to hide the fact that he is a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus – nor will he want to hide it! It shows itself in every facet of his life. God designs that His people be special in every way – not snobbish, not Pharisees, thinking themselves better than others, yet being as different from their worldly sojourners on planet Earth as their Master is different from Satan.
What does it mean to be a “peculiar people”? The present-day connotation make as us think of someone odd, strange, or different. God’s people will be different but not necessarily odd or strange. The word “peculiar” in the above verse is taken from the Greek word peripoiesis, which means literally “an acquisition,” or “a people God has acquired for Himself.”
This is a reiteration of the principle laid down in 1 Corinthians 6:19,20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
A born-again Christian has likes and dislikes which are very different from those of one who does not profess Christianity. His hopes, joys, and ambitions have been changed. Instead of looking for the praise of men, he seeks the approbation of God. His entire behavioral pattern has been made new by Christ. The places he goes will be only those places where he can take Jesus along. In this lesson we will explore some of these differences. The key is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Amusements and recreation
A Christian who has Christ dwelling in his heart will avoid all places of amusement, which feature the works of sin or the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. See also 1 Peter 4:1-4. Thus he will avoid the theater, dances, and the like.
The Christian finds pleasure in good, pure pleasures. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.
A Christian’s attention will not be on the competition of the sports realm, because he himself is in competition for the highest prize available to mankind – eternal life. See 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.
A Christian will also guard against any encroachments on his faith by heathen influences. Many popular holidays are of heathen origin. We noted this already in previous lessons regarding God’s day of rest being changed from the seventh day to the first day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority, but which was adopted from heathen sun worship. Note also the following: “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with an axe. They deck it with silver and with gold: they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” Jeremiah 10:2-4. Much proof can be brought to show that the celebration of Christmas, as well as many other holidays, originated in heathenism. Instead of great feasts and drunkenness, the Christian will seek for the simple, pure joys of heaven.
The Christian will further reflect the image of God in his dress and behaviour. Simplicity, modesty, and good taste will characterize his outward appearance. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God great price.” 1 Peter 3:3,4. This text urges the Christian to avoid jewelry and loud, showy apparel. The use of make-up is also unnatural and tends to draw attention to the wearer rather than to God.
Nothing is more beautiful than a natural beauty, which shows itself in kindness, friendliness, and true Christian love. Highly made-up externals often indicate an emptiness within. The Bible gives us further instruction as to how God wishes His children to dress: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9, 10.
It is one of the signs of the last days that modesty is hardly understood. This is the result of sin. Adam and Eve felt the need to cover their nakedness after they had sinned and lost their covering of light; they covered themselves with fig leaves. But God was not satisfied with such attire. He made them coats of skins to clothe themselves. See Genesis 3:7, 21.
God is also displeased with today’s “fig leaf” attire. Modesty demands that whether standing or sitting, one be properly covered. Such modesty is possible only when the dress is of adequate length and style. Low necklines, low backs, sleeveless blouses and dresses, transparent materials, and tight apparel are not only immodest but often unhealthful as well! Furthermore, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment” for all that do so are abomination unto thy Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5.
Even one’s hairstyle gives an indication of his relationship with God. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” 1 Corinthians 11:14,15.
Another of the Christian’s identifying marks is that, remembering his body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, he will live his life in a healthful way. Why should a Christian be concerned about living healthfully?
1. We owe it to God. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
2. We owe it to all around us, especially our family and friends. Romans 14:7.
3. We owe it to ourselves. 3 John 2.
4. It will help us avoid the final destruction. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.
5. It is God’s will that man be healthy. Romans 12:1.
There are eight essentials for good health: (1) Fresh air, (2) sunlight, (3) proper food, (4) pure water, (5) exercise, (6) physical rest, (7) peace of mind and joy of spirit, (8) obedience to physical laws.
When God created man, He intended his mind to control his body, not the reverse. To keep this proper relationship, a person must learn temperance in all the affairs of life. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27.
Since our state of health directly affects our minds, the food we eat should render glory to God. 1 Corinthians 10:31. What food did God create for man to eat in the beginning? “And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” And after the entrance of sin, “… Thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” Genesis 1:29; 3:18. This was man’s original diet, a strictly vegetarian one – to put it in simple terms: Fruit, grains, nuts, and vegetables. This diet produced men who lived over 900 years of age!
It was not until vegetation had been destroyed at the time of the flood in Noah’s time that man was given permission to partake of flesh food, with a resultant drastic drop in his life expectancy. Even when flesh was permitted, it was only with certain restrictions. (1) Clean animals only were to be eaten. The clean animals were taken aboard the ark by sevens so they could be sacrificed and eaten after Noah and his family departed from the ark and man was given permission to eat flesh food. Genesis 7:2; Leviticus 11:2,3. (2) It was to be without the blood. Genesis 9:4. (3) It was to be eaten without the fat. Leviticus 3:17; 7:23.
With the great increase of disease in animals and its related increase in man, it is far better to return to God’s original plan of the vegetarian diet. In addition, it is economical and encourages a wise us of farmland and scarce food products. Modern science has found that it is possible to obtain all the necessary nutrients from a purely vegetarian diet – and, furthermore, that it has significant benefits. It is not necessary to take the lives of God’s creatures or to feast on their dead bodies.
In addition, the Christian will desire to refrain from any and all other harmful indulgences and food which are injurious to the body, such as fish, poultry, animal fats, sharp spices, chocolate, and refined foods and cheeses which are difficult to digest and hence unhealthful. Some examples of injurious drinks are alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, and many soft drinks. As a general rule of health, it is best to keep the diet as close as possible to the way nature makes it. More and more nutrition-conscious people are avoiding refined, overly processed foods; natural, whole grain foods are to be preferred. Tobacco and harmful drugs are causing much of modern society’s health woes.
A genuine Christian will be just what he professes to be – Christlike – a loving and lovable Christian, fit representative of the King of heaven. Everything he says and does will reflect the likeness of his Saviour. No one will be able to doubt that he has been with Jesus!